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Havens Letter: March 16 1864

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Creator: Edwin R. Havens
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Date: March 16, 1864
Format: Image/jpg
Original Format: Document
Collection Number: Havens Letter: March 16 1864
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: Havens Letter: March 16 1864
Contributor: MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Havens Letter: March 16 1864 , Page: 1

Havens Letter: March 16 1864
Havens Letter: March 16 1864

Stevensburg Va
March 16th /64

Dear. Brother Nell.
Yours of the
10th is before. and although rather
short contains much news. and
all of a pleasing character. and
while answering it I am hoping
mine will be as welcome.
although I know it can not
be so interesting..
In the first place I am
glad to learn that you are a
gain at home where I hope
you will remain without
regard to what your inclinations
or any recruiting officer may
say to you. concerning your
joining the army.
Havens Letter: March 16 1864 , Page: 2

Havens Letter: March 16 1864
Havens Letter: March 16 1864

As to your own inclina
tions they dont amount to
much and can very easily be
stifled if you can only make up
your mind to do so. and I
tell you to do it. and as to the
arguments of y what the recrui
ting officers may advance re
member that they are either
paid in money or are working
for promotion and care less
for the interest of their country
than those who stay at home
and accomplish less than
one who stays at home..
I dont know why it is. but
I dont want you to enter the
service.. The struggle from this
time out will I think be short
but bloody. One hotly and stub
bornly contested battle with our
army victories will I think
end the struggle.

Havens Letter: March 16 1864 , Page: 3

Havens Letter: March 16 1864
Havens Letter: March 16 1864

Both sides are preparing
for a desperate game and the
field of the first general engage
ment of the coming campaign
will present a more stubbornly
contested game and abound
in more instances of personal
daring than either. Chancellors
ville Fredericksburgh, or Gettys
burg. if such a thing is possible.
Another thing with which
I am much pleased to is to
know that Newt Sparks is
again at home. Lucky Dog.
I almost envy him the
pleasure of visiting home and
friends. but not for that
privilege. would I exchange
my place here for his in that
mudhole and sink of perdi
tion of Washington.. I think
I shall go back to the com
pany at the opening of spring

Havens Letter: March 16 1864 , Page: 4

Havens Letter: March 16 1864
Havens Letter: March 16 1864

Another thing with which
I am highly pleased is th to
hear that Father is has taken
a notion to visit his brother
in Penn. I received a letter
from Cousin Helen a day or
two since which has not yet
been answered..
I am also glad to hear
that you received the diary
which I left in Newt’s care
last June. Not that it is of
any value to any one but that
I want it for my own use
“when this cruel war is over..”
I have another hurriedly
written and miserably scattered
record of our Maryland cam
paign which I will send
a
home soon. I have been dre^ding
it. as Father says for a long.
time.
Havens Letter: March 16 1864 , Page: 5

Havens Letter: March 16 1864
Havens Letter: March 16 1864

The dismounted men of
the last expedition have returned
to camp. arriving last night.
and you may beleive we were
right glad to see them and
listen to the stories they have
to tell all of which you may
beleive are interesting to us..
One of them is here now and
is busy telling stories while I
am listening to him and wri
ting to you.. Destruction and
desolation followed everywhere
in their course and some hard
stories do they tell too. Our com
pany lost four men. none of them
are thought to be wounded. how
ever. Lieut Col. Litchfield Capt. Clark
and Lieut Carl. were taken pris
oners. When the 2nd Cav. come
home. give Newt Stephens my.

Havens Letter: March 16 1864 , Page: 6

Havens Letter: March 16 1864
Havens Letter: March 16 1864

compliments and tell him
that their old blacksmith
(Carl) is occupying apartments
in the Libby He was always
spoken of as our “good dog Carlo,”
Wm Graham arrived safe and
sound. minus horse, arms, blanket
and overcoat. It was their camp
which was shelled so unmercifully
the same night that they retired
from [before?] Richmond, and it
was here that the greatest loss
was sustained. Graham said.
in speaking of the terrific grape
and cannister fire to which they
were treated that he “trembled”
Not much for me to say. but
quite enough for him to say when
he wished to express the violence
of the fire.. They speak highly
of the appearance and conduct
of the colored troops under
Butler at Fortress Monroe and
Havens Letter: March 16 1864 , Page: 7

Havens Letter: March 16 1864
Havens Letter: March 16 1864

on the peninsula
“Old Kill” took command
of an expedition composed of
cavalry detailed from the different
regiments under his command
and two brigades of negroes. from
Gloucester Point to King & Queens
C.H. where Col Dahlgren was
Killed in which he burned every
building at the above house. place
except the jail. which he said
had so much iron about that
it would’nt burn.. One dwelling
house which they burned contained
among its other furniture two young
ladies and a piano. The ladies
wanted to save the piano so a staff
officer ordered it carried out and
set in the road. then seating him
self before it with the flames
from the house roaring and
crackling before him and the
screams and sobs of the afore
Havens Letter: March 16 1864 , Page: 8

Havens Letter: March 16 1864
Havens Letter: March 16 1864

said young ladies played
“Yankee Doodle” in stirring
strains.. Such is war and
such are the feelings it pro
duces in the hearts of those
engaged in it.. John Alexander
and Niel Sparks are both
well and begin to find that
“Hard Tack” and Salt Horse”
and the many other little ingre
dients of a soldiers fare are not
what they used to have at home
They are both trying to like it
as well they can and I guess
they are not very much dis
pleased with it thus far
I see that [illegible in original] Harpers Weekly
for March 19th contains cuts
of Gens Kilpatrick and Custer.
Kilpatrick is something like
him. and as a woodcut is very
good. But Custers contains nothing
by which we can recognize him
unless it be the style as he looks in
a cavalry charge. for which he is famous
Havens Letter: March 16 1864 , Page: 9

Havens Letter: March 16 1864
Havens Letter: March 16 1864

I had a good sight of
Mrs Gen Custer yesterday. as
the gallant Gen. drove his fast
team over the race course near
his headquarters I attempted to
describe her in one of my late
letters. but most signally failed
and I must say that I can do
no better now. One word is all
I can find. and that is “charming”
There was quite an excitement
yesterday on occasion of a race between
two splendid horses. the distance half
a mile the stakes $600 a side..
Both were old and famous
horses on northern and eastern
courses. and much interest was
taken in the result of the contest
The horses were on the track
at the appointed time and both got
off in excellent style for a short
distance. when one was seen to break
down completely. although he
Havens Letter: March 16 1864 , Page: 10

Havens Letter: March 16 1864
Havens Letter: March 16 1864

managed to crawl through the
distance. But he was ruined. By mak
ing a mis-step he injured his loins
so that he was worthless and care al
most impossible. He was the worst
wreck of a horse that I ever saw.
Tomorrow. (Saint Patricks Day) is
to be celebrated by a great hurdle
race near here and I shall attend.
These are about the only amusements
afforded us and I dont know what
we should do without them..
I received the shirts and socks to
night also, and return many thanks
for the same and think I shall not
trouble you for anything more very
soon and hope that before I shall
need any more I shall be free from
the honorable service of “Uncle Sam”
No [illegible in original] could have pleased me
better than those you sent me
Now that you have returned home
I shall look for a letter every week,
and hope I sha’n’t be disappointed
I shall answer every one I can assure
you. Some of my correspondents
in the pleasure of the company of our
noble veteran brothers. or some other cause
have “failed to connect” with me for
some time past, but I live in hopes ________________
With best wishes for one and all
I sign myself Yours Fraternally
E R Havens
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