Havens Letter: April 17 1864


Creator: Edwin R. Havens
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Date: April 17, 1864
Format: Image/jpg
Original Format: Document
Collection Number: LC00016 – Havens Family Papers, Box 1, Folder 21
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 21
Contributor: MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Havens Letter: April 17 1864 , Page: 1

Havens Letter: April 17 1864
Havens Letter: April 17 1864

Stevensburg. Va. Sunday
April 17th 1864

Dear. Father and Mother.
Not being busy and wishing
to do something to pass away time I have seated my
self to write you a letter. My resolution so strongly
expressed three weeks ago has broken down and I
resort to the old manner of releiving my feelings letter
The whole division is today feeling sad. at
the loss of our brave and true commander Gen. Kil
patrick. He made his farewell speech yesterday
and took his departure this morning mourned by
all. I have heard many say this morning that
they could have shed tears if it would have kept him
here. and so could I. and should have found it a great
releif.. He is to take a command in the southwest.
where I hope his success may be as great as it has
been here. His successor Gen. Wilson is I suppose
one of Gen. Grant’s favorites. all of who are placed
in important and conspicuous commands.
Gen. Tolbert has been placed in command of
the 1st Div. formerly commanded by Gen. Buford
who was ^ of Grants commanders in the southwest.
It may be good policy for him to have com
Havens Letter: April 17 1864 , Page: 2

Havens Letter: April 17 1864
Havens Letter: April 17 1864

manders on whom he can rely. and who have proved
their fitness under his own eye. and if this is his
motive for making so many changes none can
blame him. Our Brig. has been transferred into
the 1st Div. and it is expected that we shall move
from here in a very few days. perhaps. tomorrow.
I do not know why this transfer has been made but
have heard one reason which is I think the true one.
It is this. Gen Wilson is not of so high a rank (having
received his appointment to Brig. Gen later) as Kilpatrick
or even Custer. and to enable him to retain the com
mand it is necessary that Gen Custer should be removed
and not seeing fit to remove him from command
of this Brig. the brigade is transferred into the 1st Div
where by seniority of Custers rank we become the
1st Brig. thus making us the 1st brigade in the whole
cavalry corps. There is some little murmuring at
this yet all agree that so long as they allow our favor
ite commander. Gen Custer to lead us we shall be sat
isfied anywhere.
Our Brig Quartermaster Capt. Wells. expects to
be transferred from here to duty in Washington and
it is more than likely that my squad will be ordered
to the company for duty. so you need not be sur
prised if I write my next letter from a new local
I dread the breaking up of camp. We have been
so comfortable here during the past winter and
Havens Letter: April 17 1864 , Page: 3

Havens Letter: April 17 1864
Havens Letter: April 17 1864

have been in this spot for so long that it
seems like home. and the prospect of being obliged
to go out of our quarters at this. the most inclement
season we have seen. to lie on the ground with very
poor, if any. shelter. and to endure all the many
little privations and hardships always to be found
in the field. is not very inviting I can assure you.
But when the first step is taken the next one will
be much easier and we shall soon grow to almost
like it. at least think it quite endurable and bless
our stars it’s no worse.
The weather since Tuesday last has been fair
with the exception of a rain yesterday which was
slight. It is fair but quite cool today.
A review of the 2nd Army Corps was ordered for
yesterday but was postponed on account of the storm.
but will probably take place tomorrow or soon
I received the a letter from Cousin Eliza
last night containing the sad tidings of the death of
her brother Charles who so lately enlisted. He was taken
sick with measles while marching through Baltimore
on their way to Washington. He was taken to the hospi
tal. where Pneumonia set in. which soon caused his death
when from home less than a month. He lost his voice
sometime before his death. and died leaving no word
behind for the loved and loving ones at home.
Poor boy. His death was sudden and mournful but

Havens Letter: April 17 1864 , Page: 4

Havens Letter: April 17 1864
Havens Letter: April 17 1864

by it he has escaped much that would have severely
tried his constitution and powers of endurance
I had begun to look for a letter from him and
soon hoped to see him. I have been told that his regt
we are
is now in the division into which he is going. and
if so we might have met many times.
Eliza bade me tell Father that Mrs. Dunning
was very sick. She says that Father left his cane at
one of the neighbors while visiting and after he went
back home Uncle Nelson went and got it to keep
as he said he looked so much like Father.
I received a Chicago Tribune a few nights
ago and a copy of the New Covenenat which Cousin
Helen sent me. It is rumored that an order has been
issued to stop all mail matter from the army until
after the first movement is completed. so if you dont
get any more letters form me for some time, do
not think anything wrong on my part. I am usually
well and intend to remain so. The boys are all
well. John Alexander is about the best recruit I know
of and is well liked by all. The regiments are sadly
in need of horses. and will be of but little effectual
service until they are fully mounted. Although the
government pays an exceedingly large price for
horses they are sending a very poor quality of horses
out here to commence an active campaign with many
of them are mere skin and bones. and “play out”
before they get to camp. It is reported that the 4th
Mich Cavalry. is now in the 1st division. and lies near
Culpepper C.H.
But I will close. With my most fervent
wishes for the well being of all at home I remain
Your Devoted Son
Edwin R. Havens

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