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Havens Letter: March 5 1864

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Creator: Edwin R. Havens
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Date: March 5, 1864
Format: Image/jpg
Original Format: Document
Collection Number: LC00016 – Havens Family Papers, Box 1, Folder 20
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 20
Contributor: MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Havens Letter: March 5 1864 , Page: 1

Havens Letter: March 5 1864
Havens Letter: March 5 1864

Stevensburg Va
March 5th 1864

Dear Nell.
Yours of Feb 23,-
28 was received last night and speedily
and eagerly read and having nothing
else to occupy my time, I am going
to attempt an answer this afternoon
for I always like to pay my debts
and keep even with the world. and
therefore will not owe you a letter
if I can possibly prevent it.
I dont know what I shall
write nor do I know that it
will be interesting but as it’s
all in the family I guess it
will make but little difference
any way. March makes but
little difference in the state of
or roads
the weather ^ of which remain good

Havens Letter: March 5 1864 , Page: 2

Havens Letter: March 5 1864
Havens Letter: March 5 1864

We have had two storms this
month, one on Tuesday last, of
frozen rain and snow.. the other this
morning of rain but now the sun
is shining brightly and pleasantly,
and we look for good weather.
The infantry are busy building
“McClellan” (Corduroy) roads near
their camps. or rather between
their camps and Brandy Station
which looks as though they in
tended to remain till the spring
became settled and the weather
steady. The cavalry I presume.
is rather busy but just exactly
what they are doing I cant say.
“Old Kill” with the greater part
of our division and a part of
Gregg’s started out on a big raid
last Sunday evening and nothing
reliable has been heard from him
since. There are plenty of camp
rumors however, all of which give
Havens Letter: March 5 1864 , Page: 3

Havens Letter: March 5 1864
Havens Letter: March 5 1864

him great success. and place
him in astonishingly. close
proximity to Richmond. When
the expedition returns, I shall be
ready to beleive what reliable per
sons tell me they have done no
matter how incredible it may at
first seem for if anything astonish
ing is to be done. I beleive “Old Kill”
can do it if anyone can. He has
his own men and will lead
where he wants them to follow;
and they will follow where he
leads if it is to the hottest part
of the “Infernal Regions” and even
heard “His Most Satanic Majesty”
in his own den. He knows all
this and can calculate how much
he can undertake with certainty
of success. The only draw back
to the whole expedition is that
Gen. Custar is not with him. Our
brigade will do now all that
Havens Letter: March 5 1864 , Page: 4

Havens Letter: March 5 1864
Havens Letter: March 5 1864

is asked of them but if Custer
led them they would feel better
than they do with their present
commander at their head,
Gen. [illegible in original] took command of
an expedition sent by way of
James City and Madison C. H.
toward Gordonsville and which
started a few hours before “Old Kill”
did and was intended to draw
the attention of the enemy away
from Kilpatrick.. On Monday
He surprised a camp of Stuarts
Cavalry, burned the tents, blew up
six Caissons and captured 300
horses and fifty prisoners before
being forced to retreat. He also
burned three grist mills one or
two bridges and made his escape
from a superioir force of cavalry
and infantry, bringing off all
horses and prisoners with the loss
of but four or five men and arrived
in camp Wednesday morning

Havens Letter: March 5 1864 , Page: 5

Havens Letter: March 5 1864
Havens Letter: March 5 1864

He had fifteen hundred
picked men from the regular
brigade of the 1st Division of Cavalry
(formerly Buford’s. now Merritts)
most of them were from the 5th
regt of regulars in which Custar
holds a Lieuts commission. He
said if he had had his brigade
he could have driven “Old Stuart”
out of Virginia. He took com
mand of another expedition yes
terday and went to Ely’s Ford.
where Kilpatrick crossed.
when he went out.. I saw Mrs
Custar yesterday afternoon..
She is a “charming little critter”
and rides like a Brigadier.. She
does not look as though she
were more than eighteen.
Day before yesterday. (Thursday)
Stuart attempted to cross the
Havens Letter: March 5 1864 , Page: 6

Havens Letter: March 5 1864
Havens Letter: March 5 1864

Rappahannock at Waterloo
Bridge with a strong force of
cavalry and five regiments of
infantry. But after a fight
of several he was repulsed. We
heard the cannonading distinct
ly and at times thought we
could distinguish volleys of
musketry.. Wednesday morn
ing we were routed out before
daylight by orders to be ready
to move at a minutes notice, as
the “Johnnies” were coming
having crossed at Morton’s Ford
in strong force.. Our Citizen
Clerk thought we were going
to Richmond, sure enough, but
thought it somewhat unlikely
that we should join Kilpatrick
there. while older heads and those
more experienced in “big things”
thought we’d wait awhile.
and so it proved.. The Sun
Havens Letter: March 5 1864 , Page: 7

Havens Letter: March 5 1864
Havens Letter: March 5 1864

arose as beautifully as ever
it did. and not even a bugle
or drum from the camps around
us was heard. nor a gun or
cannon. We got everything
packed. and ready to leave
except tents which we thought
best to leave until the last thing
and then if we had’nt time
to take them down we could
burn them. But about noon
orders came to unhitch and
feed and in an hour or two
we unharnessed and unpacked
and here we are still.. Some
“Johnnies.” did come over and
forty of them concluded to
stay over here and are now
occupying quarters at some
Provost Marshall’s or th some
of the many camps inhabited
by such persons. Kilpatrick cap
tured twenty prisoners at Ely’s
Havens Letter: March 5 1864 , Page: 8

Havens Letter: March 5 1864
Havens Letter: March 5 1864

Ford. Sunday night among
whom were a Capt and Lieut
I visited our picket lines with
Capt Walker. one week ago today
and was as well pleased with my
days ride as with any thing I
have done this winter. The Capt
was Acting Major and was Field
Officer of the Day, and was obliged
to visit the lines each day. and
so gave me the invitation to go
with him which I was glad to ac
cept. The lines extend from Raccoon
Ford down to Germania Ford
a distance of a dozen miles. and
include Morton’s Mitchell’s and
Jacob’s fords and one or two less
important ones. The Johnnies have
strong earthworks all along the
river from Morton’s Ford up to
Raccoon ford and Clarks
Mountain and above to Som
erville Ford where our division
fought last fall.
Havens Letter: March 5 1864 , Page: 9

Havens Letter: March 5 1864
Havens Letter: March 5 1864

As Germania Ford
is about ten miles from camp.
and it was nearly sundown
when we left there. the Capt. pro
posed that we “bivouack” that
night at a house. where he was
acquainted with the family. which
comprised among its members
two quite charming young ladies.
As I was agreeable to the pro
posal we pitched camp and
staid.. We had a good supper
and breakfast. enjoyed ourselves
a “heap”. and at nine next mor
ning. I left the Capt there
playing the agreeable to a young
lady of eighteen. who was the
handsomest, wittiest and most
sensible being in calico and
crinoline. I have seen in Va.
If it had’nt been for a thous
Havens Letter: March 5 1864 , Page: 10

Havens Letter: March 5 1864
Havens Letter: March 5 1864

and or less reasons I should
have felt somewhat jealous
of him..
I am glad to hear that you
have’nt enlisted and are going
home in the spring. Once
again, I say take a fools
advice and stay out of the
army. I know how you feel
about it and honor you for
so feeling. You can not help
wishing to be among so many
of our friends and will no
doubt feel lonesome at home.
The country calls for all who
can leave home, friends, family
and all such ties, to do so and
fly to the support of the Flag
and constitution. But it
does not demand that every
one shall sacrifice all these
and if any one can be exonera
ted from this call I think
Havens Letter: March 5 1864 , Page: 11

Havens Letter: March 5 1864
Havens Letter: March 5 1864

you can and that it is
your right and privilege to
claim this exemption. Go home
and try and content yourself
there and hope the time will
soon come when we shall all
meet there again. I expect to
be at home to vote for”Old
Abe” as our next president..
In fact feel almost confident
of it.. The offer of $1.0.00 per
month for a clerk in the Q.M.
Dept. with a deduction of one
third in case you did not stay
three years, may have seemed a
“big thing” to you, but not to
me, I know clerks who knew
nothing of the business when
they commenced. who got $75.00
per month and no proviso. and who
lost none of their wages. but quitting
when they chose to. and I don’t
ble beleive the Government requires

Havens Letter: March 5 1864 , Page: 12

Havens Letter: March 5 1864
Havens Letter: March 5 1864

any such obligations from
any man. I hope all Buch
anan has or will enlist. But
let them go in infantry if they
like; but no “Dough Boy” “on my
plate.” I had rather hold a
noncommissioned office in Cav
alry than a Lieut in infantry
or a First Sergeantcy than any
line office in infantry. New
recruits come in occasionally
and I shall begin to look for
John Alexander and Niel Spark
before long.
I received Isoms letter
last night and will answer
soon. The last wedding in “the
Bend” is decidedly rich. May they
be happy for both have done better
than they deserved. Sorry I wounded
L.B.s. feelings but trust they are
healed up ere this time. Write
soon. Fraternally Yours
Ed, R Havens
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