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Havens Letter: April 19 1864

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Creator: Edwin R. Havens
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Date: April 19, 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 19 1864 , Page: 1

Havens Letter: April 19 1864
Havens Letter: April 19 1864

Stevensburg Va
April 19th 1864

Dear Brother Nell.
Yours of April 12th was
received last night. and being alone. and not knowing
when another opportunity will be afforded me to write
you I have decided to answer it today. although
I wrote Father & Mother only Sunday and this is
Tuesday.. The move of which I spoke in that letter
has taken place. or rather commenced this morning.
but I am left behind with three men to take care
of somethings left here for which they will return
tomorrow. We are going somewheres near
Mitchell’s Station below Culpepper and within a
mile of the railroad and four miles from here.
The whole brigade is going and when I write
you again I may have something new to
write about.
The weather since Sunday has been
very good athough today is quite raw and cold
and tonight will be acold one to those who are
compelled to vacate their comfortable winter
quarters to lay out on the ground with nothing but
shelters tents and no fires. Yet it is no worse than
it was a year ago. although I dread it much worse
Havens Letter: April 19 1864 , Page: 2

Havens Letter: April 19 1864
Havens Letter: April 19 1864

I dont know hardly what to think
of this matter of shifting this division around
so much. It will be a new division entirely.
Kilpatrick gone. then Custer with his “Wolverines”
and finally Davies of the first brigade who goes to
some new place. It may be a “big thing” but I “cant
see it” from where I stand.. Yet we may bless our
“Stars” and Gen Custer’s too. that we are permitted to
follow him yet. Both he and Gen. Davies were ordered
to report to some new commanders without their brigades
Gen Davies. did so but Custar declined doing it unless
he could take his brigade too and so after some bickering
it was decided that he might do so.
The brigade which takes our place here
has just come in. and are now pitching camp.
The train is much smaller than our
own. and the men will. I think. occupy our old
quarters.. Our train. or the greater part of it will
come back tonight. The 2nd Corps is being
reviewed and inspected to day The troops are
busy drilling every day.. and new ones are
coming in almost daily. The 5th N.Y. Cav. (Vet) are
expected back today. They went home from Alexan
dria while on their way back from Fortress Monroe
and Richmond.. A good many returned veterans
would willingly pay the government all the
bounty they got for re enlisting if it would
permit them to be discharged when their first
Havens Letter: April 19 1864 , Page: 3

Havens Letter: April 19 1864
Havens Letter: April 19 1864

three years term expired.. This dont speak
very highly for their patriotism but seems
to me quite natural. You may talk all you
will of dull times at home but yet a few months
life as a soldier in the field would convince you
that dull as it may be at home yet it is much
more comfortable and preferable. if it is less
romantic. O! It’s delightful to ride all day under
a scorching sun and, if in the rear of a column
composed of a brigade amid a cloud of dust which
fills eyes. mouth and nostrils till your are blinded
and suffocated. and then when you stop at mid
night. have your horse to feed water and curry
and your own supper to get in a locality that is entirely
new to you and where you dare not stray outside the
camp for fear of bushwhackers. you will often go
to bed without your supper and very often wake
next morning to find the camp busy packing
and mounting your own horse gone. and yourself
harshly reprimanded for your laziness and careless
ness. and perhaps have nothing but a few crumbs
of “hard tacks” to stay your hunger. which is liable
any moment to be further satisfied by a “minnie”
ball and a shell. Its delightful. more than delightful
a man will grow fat on it. if he dont die. like the
Dutchman’s colt. “just when he gets used to it.”
I think if I was at home I’d enlist before
night_ if there was a United States law passed
Havens Letter: April 19 1864 , Page: 4

Havens Letter: April 19 1864
Havens Letter: April 19 1864

requiring it. But then its all in a lifetime and
our [crossed out] great children, grand children and great grand
children will speak our names with reverence and
proudly say “he fought for his country. at Gettisburg
Hagerstown.” and a thousand other places. and
when we return to civil life we shall miss the sweet
sounds which come from a million muskets. and
the melodious bass of the deep toned artilllery
as it thunders forth its shouts of welcome to the
deluded rebels on “[illegible in original]” “[illegible in original]” Who would’nt
be a soldier? Who wouldnt sell his farm of a thousand
acres to become one. and then as he marches to the sound
of his Captains command each time that particular
foot should come down. “Left left. left. sadly reflect
and say. “Yes I left a wife and seventeen small children
to become a soldier. “Big thing” aint it? I “see it”
and so would you in a short time.
But Nell, honestly speaking. I am not and
never have been sorry that I enlisted and hope
I never shall be. I wish Geo. Lee well. but still say
I cant pity him should he ever be sorry that
he enlisted. Any one that will get transferred from
cavalry to infantry for the sake of a furlough de
serves to be sick of it. But I will stop as you are
no doubt getting tired of this hypochondriac letter.
There is a rumor that mail to and from the army
will be stopped after the 20th “tomorrow.” Should such be
the case you may not hear from me again for sometime
and then get a “big one” I received a letter from Lucy [J?]
last night but cannot answer it at present. Give her
my compliments and tell her that I will answer at
my earliest convenience. Anything will be news for you are
my “main stay” at the present time. Good luck. to [H.C.?] if such
be his aim. He and I were partners when at home and he has a perfect
title now. My love to all.
Write often to Ed
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