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Havens Letter: February 28 1864

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Creator: Edwin R. Havens
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Date: February 28, 1864
Format: Image/jpg
Original Format: Document
Collection Number: LC00016 – Havens Family Papers, Box 1, Folder 19
Language: English
Rights Management: Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by Michigan State University and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.
Contributing Institution: Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections
Relation: LC00016 – Havens Family Papers, Box 1, Folder 19
Contributor: MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Havens Letter: February 28 1864 , Page: 1

Havens Letter: February 28 1864
Havens Letter: February 28 1864

Stevensburgh Va.
February 28th 1864

My. Dear. Mother.
Your most welcome
letter came to hand Friday evening
and I now seat myself to spend
a short time this evening in an
swering it. although I wrote you
but a few evenings ago. I am well
as usual with the exception of a slight
headache. which has troubled me
since last night and was quite
severe last night.. The weather has
taken another change. and now
seems to Promise a storm. Just
what we could reasonably expect. as
the troops are now ready to make
another reconnoisance. It has been
expected among the cavalry for
several days. but until today.
Havens Letter: February 28 1864 , Page: 2

Havens Letter: February 28 1864
Havens Letter: February 28 1864

very few have had any suspicion
of a move by the infantry.
Now it seems it is to be another
“reconnoisance in force” with what
object. of course. I can not tell.
and will not conjecture. The
cavalry take five days rations and
one days forage. and were ordered
to be ready to move at [9?] P M. to
day. Three of my boys have just
returned from the regiment. which
was in line waiting for orders
to move where they left.. I think
the object of starting at this time
of day is that they may get as
close to the enemy’s lines... in the
as possible. so as
dark ^ to Prevent discovery which
after midnight would be almost
certain as the nights are very
clear and the moon very bright.
yesterday
I visited our picket lines ^ with
Capt Walker who. as he was acting
Major. was Field Officer of the day for

Havens Letter: February 28 1864 , Page: 3

Havens Letter: February 28 1864
Havens Letter: February 28 1864

the brigade. We visited each
post from Raccoon Ford to Ger
mania Ford a distance of about twelve
miles and including within these
points. Mitchell’s Jacob’s. .and Morton’s
fords.. I was much pleased with
the ride. which reminded me of
those I used to take last spring
along the banks of the Occoquan
and Bull Run yet furnishing much
more to interest me as besides being
new. it gave me an opportunity
to view the rebel works on the other
bank. which seem to be very strong
and extend from below Morton’s
up the river to and above Somerville
ford and Clark’s Mountain where
our brigade was engaged last Septem
ber. Between 10. & 12 A M. the
day was very clear and the works
could be seen very distinctly. They
run along the [brow?] of the highths
parallell with the bank of the
Havens Letter: February 28 1864 , Page: 4

Havens Letter: February 28 1864
Havens Letter: February 28 1864

river. The more important
and principal highths are crowned
by forts for artilllery which are
connected with each other by. breast
works for infantry.. I hope our
forces will not attempt to cross in
the face. of these. to me formidable
looking works.. as it seems to me
that it can not be unattended
by severe loss for the attacking
force. Their picket line was very
strong and every thing seemed to
indicate that they were determined
to
not ^ be surprised again. At night
the two lines in some places are
scarcely 20 rods apart. with only
the river to separate them. The
river is fordable at almost any
spot at present. and in many
places is scarcely 60 feet in width..
Morton’s ford is considered
the best crossing place on the
river and possesses fewer natural
Havens Letter: February 28 1864 , Page: 5

Havens Letter: February 28 1864
Havens Letter: February 28 1864

5

facilities for defence tho on either
side than any of the other fords
I have named. This is taken
into consideration by the rebs
and here their works are strong
er and though more concealed
than in any other place. Here
in November. Capt Walker led
a battalion in a charge through
the ford and over. breastworks
which the day before. were swarm
ing with armed men. On Thanks
giving day our regt skirmished all
the afternoon with the enemy.
and enjoyed a regular. Blackguarding
conversation all of the time they were
skirmishing with them.. Mitchells
ford is approached from the south
bank. Through a deep gully. The
banks of which are covered by a
heavy growth of timber..
Havens Letter: February 28 1864 , Page: 6

Havens Letter: February 28 1864
Havens Letter: February 28 1864

Here on Wednesday night last
one of our pickets had his horse
shot by some of the enemy who
had crossed the river. The horse
ran with him about 20 rods before
it fell. He then at turned upon them
and firing his pistol and calling
out to his imaginary friends to
follow him ran towards them
and actually drove a large
squad back across the river un
assisted by anyone.. On Thursday
night two pickets on the two ad
jacent posts to this one were cap
tured by the enemy. They were
new recruits and did not understand
their duty. They cant take old sol
diers so easily.. At Germania Ford
the plank road from Fredericks
burg to Stevensburg crossed the river.
The piers to the old bridge are
still standing.. Here we stood
for half an hour within 25
Havens Letter: February 28 1864 , Page: 7

Havens Letter: February 28 1864
Havens Letter: February 28 1864

rods of three rebel cavalry
men.. The country along the
banks has been a very rich and
pleasant one. The river flats are
better land than is found any
where else in this vicinity. and
being cleared the whole length
of the line the farm houses
with their clusters of outbuilding
gave it the appearance of a long
valley thickly dotted with small
villages. and the roads being
bordered by evergreen trees, with
the bright sun and mild atmos
phere made me feel like going
to farming again. It took us un
til nearly night to reach the end
of our lines at Germania ford
and being then some ten miles
from camp we put up for the
night at a house where Capt Walker
had formed the acquaintance of
the family.
Havens Letter: February 28 1864 , Page: 8

Havens Letter: February 28 1864
Havens Letter: February 28 1864

8

a
They were ^ fine appearing
but
family ^ were “True Gray” to the
core.. Two young ladies live there.
one a widow of about 21 years old
the other a young lady of 18. The
widow’s husband was killed at
the battle of Williamsburg. and their
brother is now a discharged sol
dier in Confederate employ at Gordons
ville. They were, however quite so
ciable with the “Yanks” and ad
mitted that they were agreeably
disappointed by th our treatment
of the citizens.. I did once think
nothing could now prevent me
from getting a good nights rest
when not disturbed. but although
everything was as nice and quiet
as any could wish I did not enjoy
an hours good rest last night.
but when I reached my tent this
morning I dropped into my
bunk and was oblivious to all
around me for three or four hours
Havens Letter: February 28 1864 , Page: 9

Havens Letter: February 28 1864
Havens Letter: February 28 1864

[Written upside down on top of page]

I hope Father wont find it quite
so hard to read this as he did the other
yet the wind blows right [illegible in original]

[End]

9

I begin to think “Uncle
Sams” feathers make a better
bed than those of any other bird
that flies. and I would not
exchange my bunk made of
small round poles and covered
with hay for any cottage bedstead
I ever saw. if I sought for comfort.
I do not anticipate that we
shall be obliged to move at this
time. although I am inclined to
think that our division will
be gone for several days. An order
was received this evening to have
ten teams and wagons report at
Culpepper tomorrow morning at
8 O’clock. the drivers to take 3 days
rations for themselves and teams.
Two Regtl Q. Masters. from each
brigade accompany the expedition
and ours has gone for the first
Havens Letter: February 28 1864 , Page: 10

Havens Letter: February 28 1864
Havens Letter: February 28 1864

time since he has been in
the regt.. I guess he would nt have
gone this time if our Commissary
had’nt told him this was to be the
last raid of the war and of course
the last chance he would have to
see the “Johnnies..” Kilpatrick is
reported to have said he was going
to Richmond or to hell this time
certain. I don’t like the such
boasts as this. though I doubt
not that he could reach Rich
mond if any one can.
Gen. Custer and wife reached here
on Friday. and now all ladies
are ordered back out of the camps.
The rumor is being widely circu
lated and generally believed that
this Army will be remodeled be
fore commencing active operations
in the spring. Instead of being
divided into Corps it will be con
solidated into three Grand
Havens Letter: February 28 1864 , Page: 11

Havens Letter: February 28 1864
Havens Letter: February 28 1864

Divisions” with a division of
cavalry attached to each. A review
of the 3d Corps. was held yesterday.
the last time that they will ever
be reviewed as a Corps.
The 1st Mich Cavalry is reported
to be in Washington and will prob
ably reach here in a few days.
The report of a raid made by them
on the saloons in Elmira N.Y.
with the accompanying results
reached us in the papers yesterday.
That was a terrible joke Miss
Price played on Ms Elliott. Com
ments are unnecessary. Much
happiness for the married swains..
I received one of Aunt Jeannettes
long interesting letters this evening.
Her health has been very poor this
winter. and Uncle Craig. Charles
and Willie have all been sick.
Aunt wanted me to ask you
to write her once more. Why. don’t you..?
Havens Letter: February 28 1864 , Page: 12

Havens Letter: February 28 1864
Havens Letter: February 28 1864

I received a letter from Eliza
Havens some time ago. She has been
sick this winter. Uncle Nelson is
very feeble and they scarcely expect
him to live till spring.. He has
the consumption.. I have nt heard
from Aunt Mary since early last
fall. and hardly know what to think
of the delay. And so Frank is
married is he? What little boy wont
get married next? Dont you think
you would feel proud of your “little
boy Ed” if he’d come home and
get married? I’ll bet you would..
I received a Chicago Tribune tonight
directed by Nell. and was disappointed
in not finding a letter from him.
Hoping that this will find you
all in the enjoyment of good health
and that you will write again soon
I remain as ever your a
Affectionate Son
Edwin R Havens.
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