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Havens Letter: May 20 1864

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Creator: Edwin R. Havens
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Date: May 20, 1864
Format: Image/jpg
Original Format: Document
Collection Number: LC00016 – Havens Family Papers, Box 1, Folder 22
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 22
Contributor: MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Havens Letter: May 20 1864 , Page: 1

Havens Letter: May 20 1864
Havens Letter: May 20 1864

Fredericksburg Highths Va
May 20th 1864
Dear Nell.
Yours of 30th April came
to hand by the first mail we have
received since leaving Culpepper.
which was received yesterday. and
I hasten to answer the same to
day. while waiting in a blissful
uncertainty as to whether we
are going to move or not in ac
cordance with orders received at
daylight this morning. We have
been lying with wagons all
loaded and mules hitched on
since early daylight. and yet
the order “pull out” has not
come and I begin to beleive it
will not
We have had no rain of
consequence this week and today

Havens Letter: May 20 1864 , Page: 2

Havens Letter: May 20 1864
Havens Letter: May 20 1864

is fair and warm as any could
wish for.
As to news. it is no use for
me to attempt to give you any
Untill yesterday I had not seen
a paper since leaving Culpepper
and was surprised to find so
much more chronicled than I
had even dreamed of. and were
I to attempt to say what has
been done since I last wrote home
I should very likely tell a story
very far from the truth. The day
before yesterday a bloody battle
was fought as was attested by
the immense trains of ambulances
filled with wounded coming in
from the field all that night and
yesterday. I went out to the front
in company with two others yes
terday on purpose to find the
9th Army Corps and find some
Havens Letter: May 20 1864 , Page: 3

Havens Letter: May 20 1864
Havens Letter: May 20 1864

old acquaintances and friends.
We found them in line of battle
with skirmishers thrown out
and not knowing at what mom
ent the fun might begin.
Of course you know I could
look for no one else but Frank
Farnsworth of Co. E. 2nd Inf. whom
I have been told was with the
regt and well. I found the
company in the advance and
close to the line of skirmishers
but on inquiring for Frank was
told that he was left at Warrenton
Junction sick, I was just turning
to leave not thinking of any one
else being there whom I knew
when some inquired if I were
not from Niles. and on looking
around I discovered one of my
old scholars. who when I left
home was in Niles.
Havens Letter: May 20 1864 , Page: 4

Havens Letter: May 20 1864
Havens Letter: May 20 1864

I visited with him nearly one hour
and then returned to camp.
If I went over any portion of the
late battle field I noticed nothing
more remarkable than would be
seen on a camp which had been
occupied by a large body of soldiers
for two or three days. The country
out there is similar to all that
I have seen since crossing the
Rapidan all hills. hollows and thick
small timber I saw one small hill
guarding the crossing of a run
which had been fortified the lines of
breastworks commencing at the
foot and rising above each other
to the top on which a battery
had been placed. Our men were
of course in possession of this
hill and the line had been
advanced a mile or more beyond
To where we went yesterday it
is ten miles or more from here
and the road is infested with
guerrillas quite extensively. Scarcely
a day passes that some one is
not attacked. Not long after
we returned a wagon train
going to the front with supplies
was attacked by a band and several
wagons and men captured.
Havens Letter: May 20 1864 , Page: 5

Havens Letter: May 20 1864
Havens Letter: May 20 1864

Last night a gang of them attacked
a train in park last night and drove
off some of the wagons. a party of dis
mounted cavalry were sent in
pursuit and recaptured the wagon
and a number of the Johnnies.
Our dismounted cavalry is
very effective in dispersing these
marauders and scarcely a day
passes that they do not succeeded
in killing and capturing one or
more of them. Day before yesterday
they took a Capt. and a Lieut belong
ing to the 9th Va. Cav. The Lieut had
lately been shot through the right
lung and is in all probability
dead now. That evening two men
armed only with Carbines went
out of camp. when two “[illegible in original] Rebs”
stepped from the bushes and
asked them to go to Dixie
Havens Letter: May 20 1864 , Page: 6

Havens Letter: May 20 1864
Havens Letter: May 20 1864

with them. But the ‘Yanks”
“could’nt see it” so they gave them
a repy from their “Spencers” which
brought one of them to the ground
dead. and the other to terms. “double
quick” Yesterday three more were
captured. and so it goes. The boys
are beginning to like the sport
and can hardly be kept in camp.
We hear nothing from our cavalry
that may be deemed reliable some
think they will return in a day
or two. others equally as well informed
say not. Large reinforcements in
new recruits and men from
the Dismounted Camp near
Washington arrived a few days
ago and have been sent on to
the front. They number for the
whole Corps some four or five
thousand men and are all
that can be used to advantage

Havens Letter: May 20 1864 , Page: 7

Havens Letter: May 20 1864
Havens Letter: May 20 1864

in this country and if they
can be used to better advantage
where they are. I don’t want them
back here. I really wish I was
with them. I am getting more
and more tired of this lazy, inactive
place. and feel more and more guilty
every day. I know it is not al
together my fault that I am here
I did not solicit the place. and
have been repeatedly told my officers
that I was willing to come back
to the company whenever they chose
to have me ordered back. but I might
go back of my own accord. if I should
solicit the chance from my com
mander here. It is of no use for me
to say that this place has got to be
occupied by some one. and why
not me as well as others. I can
not persuade myself that I am
doing right in remaining here
Havens Letter: May 20 1864 , Page: 8

Havens Letter: May 20 1864
Havens Letter: May 20 1864

in this country and if they
can be used to better advantage
where they are. I don’t want them
back here. I really wish I was
with them. I am getting more
and more tired of this lazy, inactive
place. and feel more and more guilty
every day. I know it is not al
together my fault that I am here
I did not solicit the place. and
have been repeatedly told my officers
that I was willing to come back
to the company whenever they chose
to have me ordered back. but I might
go back of my own accord. if I should
solicit the chance from my com
mander here. It is of no use for me
to say that this place has got to be
occupied by some one. and why
not me as well as others. I can
not persuade myself that I am
doing right in remaining here
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