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Havens Letter: March 1864

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Creator: Edwin R. Havens
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Date: March 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 1864 , Page: 1

Havens Letter: March 1864
Havens Letter: March 1864

Our Captain has been sick
for a long time and is now at
Stevensburg undergoing medical treatment
His disease is chill fever. He was sick
a long time a year ago. at Grand Rapids
with the same disease.. A Sergt from
our Co. our. regt Adjutant. a corp. Capt
and 19 men from the regt went
home more than a month ago
after conscripts. They went to our
old camp at Grand Rapids. Many
thought this would be a fine time to
go home. and many were sadly disap
pointed at not being detailed. Our
Sergt was offered by one $50, by another
$75. for his chance to go, but declined
When last heard from him he had
not been home and was somewhat
doubtful whether he should get home
at all. and now they are all ordered
back to their regts. and I presume
Havens Letter: March 1864 , Page: 2

Havens Letter: March 1864
Havens Letter: March 1864

that many will return much
disappointed at not getting home.
I had no desire to go on such an
errand. I’d rather go on 15 days
furlough I beleive.
I received a letter from
Cousin Helen this morning in which
she wrote her usual happy strain.
By hers. and Eliza’s letters I am
becoming quite well acquainted with
scores of cousins. whom I never heard
of or imagined before. Helen com
plains of being lonesome now as
none of her fathers family live nearer
to her than Spring Valley 36 miles
from her. Charles moved there only
a few days before her last was written
Uncle Craigs brother who lives near
him is a strong, bitter copperhead and
Aunt Jeannette says she can scarcely
restrain “her indignation sometimes
when listening to his tirades of abuse
against President, war, and soldiers
Havens Letter: March 1864 , Page: 3

Havens Letter: March 1864
Havens Letter: March 1864

His youngest brothers too. in York
State is another. In Aunt Jeannettes
last letter she gave me an account of
the great Sanitary Fair. at Chicago
which she copied from Mrs Livermore’s
paper the New Covenant, and which
was truly interesting
I received a letter from Eliza
a week or more ago. She represents
Uncle Nelson’s health as very poor
this winter. I cant begin to enu
merate all the cousins she tells
me of. Uncle must have got a
mighty good start in the world for
I cant think of less than a dozen
children and I guess it will crowd
twenty “right-smart,”
I don’t hear anything from
Frank except by you and Aunt
Mary. I am glad to hear that
he is apparently doing better
than usual for him Hope he
will persevere in well doing
Havens Letter: March 1864 , Page: 4

Havens Letter: March 1864
Havens Letter: March 1864

But I must close
I have already written two candles
up and this piece wont last long
One thing more. I was told a
few days ago that Miss Emma Rop
was married. Is it so. No letters
have told me so and I don’t beleive
it.
Hoping this may find you
enjoying good health a Merry Christ
mas and Happy New Years and
that you will write again soon
I remain
Your Affectionate Son
E. R Havens..
Havens Letter: March 1864 , Page: 5

Havens Letter: March 1864
Havens Letter: March 1864

[Penciled in on top of Scan 5 [5] ]

Almost Sundown..
Since writing the preceding pages
I have attended inspection and
a horse race. Rather queer amuse
ments for Sunday. especially the
latter in civil life. Our inspec
place
tion took ^ this forenoon and our
company was dismissed about
Eleven O’clock.. It consisted of an
inspection of the personal appearance
of the men. arms and horses. such
horses as being considered unfit
for duty being condemned and
will be turned over to the govern
ment and new ones drawn in
their places.. Such horses as we
now draw at Washington are of
3d to 5th rate. and one good horse
brought from Michigan is worth
a dozen of them..
Havens Letter: March 1864 , Page: 6

Havens Letter: March 1864
Havens Letter: March 1864

But about the horse race..
I presume you will not feel much
interest in its recital. and doubtless
will not approve of such sports for
Sunday.. But as it was honored
by the attendance of Genl. Kilpatrick
or old “Kill” as his he is nicknamed
and some of his staff.. perhaps you
may feel some interest ut in it.
in our company
One of the boys ^ has a private horse
which runs pretty well and has
won several races and acquired some
notoriety. So today a member of the
1st Ohio cavalry got up a match
between this one and one of his
own regt for 22 dollars a side.
distance 600 yards single dash..
The race was easily won by
the Ohio horse. Genl. Kilpat
rick and his staff took considerable
interest in the race and staked
Havens Letter: March 1864 , Page: 7

Havens Letter: March 1864
Havens Letter: March 1864


considerable money on its issue..
Have I ever described Kilpat
rick to you. I think I have..
Enough to say that he is one of
the roughest looking specimens of
rowdies you ever saw.. Round
shouldered. and one of the homeliest
countenances and most ungraceful
riders imaginable.. He dresses in a
plain fatigue, blouse coat. pants
stuck in his boot tops.. and one
of the awfullest shaped hats you
ever saw. I can not describe it..
It turns up in one place and
down in another and the crown
is mashed in all manner of shapes
The stars. his insignia of rank
are stuck on his hat. and he chews
tobacco and swears as loud and as
hard as any one. He is not a bit
too good to talk to a private. or
Havens Letter: March 1864 , Page: 8

Havens Letter: March 1864
Havens Letter: March 1864

even bet him five or ten dollars
on a horse race. There is never
any race of any note any where in
the division ago which he does not
attend. and very often bets consid
erable money on the result.
He and Genl Custer had a race
the other day.. Strict orders are
issued against riding U.S. horses
faster than a slow trot and if any
one is fool hardy enough to ride
past Genl. Custer’s H’d Quarters faster
than a walk he is arrested and
made to police the grounds about
his quarters or else be tied up by the
thumbs above his head. But if any
one has a fast horse and wants
to win or lose money on him
“Old Kill” will say. “Run him
to death if you want to. I’ll pay
for him when he’s dead”
Havens Letter: March 1864 , Page: 9

Havens Letter: March 1864
Havens Letter: March 1864

[Penciled on top of Scan 9 [9] ]

I have heard nothing
concerning my commission.
since I sent the letter of recom
mendation. or rather Fathers letter
acknowledging the receipt of them.
I begin to look for some answer
from it. before long but still shall
not let it worry me any. as I do
not really much expect to receive one
and of course shall not be disap
pointed if the Gov. declines giving
me one. If he does, I can not say
whether he will send it directly to
me or first to Buchanan.
As to furloughs. I might I preseume
get one during the winter. But. I do not
know whether I shall try or not.
I will tell you. what it will cost me
or as nearly as I can and you can
judge whether it would be prudent in
Havens Letter: March 1864 , Page: 10

Havens Letter: March 1864
Havens Letter: March 1864

me to do so. In the first place
furloughs will be given in the brigade
of 15 days. in length. It will take me
at least. four days to reach home from
here. four to return leaving seven to visit
at home. Traveling fees will be $12.44
from Washington to Detroit $3.00 to $5.00
from Detroit to Niles. making $30,00 to
$35,00 or $2.00 to 2.50 a day for Travelling
expenses.. Other expenses will swell the sum
to $75.00 at. I fear, the lowest. making five
dollars per day for the privilege of visiting home
and friends. I would dearly love to visit
home this winter. But taking this view
and too, the prospect that the war may
close before the close of another summer
into consideration. will it pay for me
to come home. this winter. I do not
know whether either of the other boys
will come home or not: If they
Havens Letter: March 1864 , Page: 11

Havens Letter: March 1864
Havens Letter: March 1864

do. I presume I shall want to very
bad. and after next payday may
do so. A great many are getting fur
loughs and going. Others whole
regiments complying with the
offer made them to re enlist are going
home by regiments for 30, to 60. days.
Whole regiments: brigades and divi
sions are reenlisting. and I think
no better argument than this can
be used against those who are con
stantly harping upon what the sol
diers themselves think of the war
and the administration.. When
a man has belonged to the much
abused, often reviled and defeated
“Army of the Potomac” since the begin
ning of this war. has passed
through all of its campaign under
its various competent and incompe
Havens Letter: March 1864 , Page: 12

Havens Letter: March 1864
Havens Letter: March 1864

tent leaders. has seen his brothers
in other department meet only suc
cess. where he has seen defeat. and then
give up all ties of home and comfort and
stick by country and flag. stake his all upon
their success or defeat: I think no better proof
can be given than this to show where the
hearts of the soldiers are. Even the con
scripts partake of this feeling and soon
become as eager as the volunteers to do their
duty in the field. All are anxious to see
the war close. honorably it must be
or continue till the south is con
quered and secession and rebellion
forever wiped out and There are
many who are discontented and
always grumbling. but I need
not tell who these men are,
You see them constantly around
you at home. Soldiering does not allow them
Havens Letter: March 1864 , Page: 13

Havens Letter: March 1864
Havens Letter: March 1864

[Penciled on top of Scan 13 [13] ]

P.S. “Old Kill” has been
heard from. This mornings
“Chronicle” just received says
that official despatches from
Gen. Butler to the President state
that Kilpatrick arrived with
in his lines on the 3d having
destroyed a large portion of the
Virginia Central R.R. and several
mills along the James river and
other valuable property. He penetra
ted the outer fortifications of
Richmond, but failed to accom
plish the object of his expedition.
He had frequent skirmishes
and lost less than one hun
dred and fifty men. Three
Cols. are missing among them
Col. Litchfield of our regt
The other two are supposed to
Havens Letter: March 1864 , Page: 14

Havens Letter: March 1864
Havens Letter: March 1864

be prisoners but the fate
of Col Litchfield is not known
. Of course this report
lacks a great deal. but com
ing from such a source is
the most reliable we have
yet heard. I would have
liked to have gone with
them, and have strong
thoughts of going back to
the company when we
break up winter quarters
Ed

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