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Havens Letter: June 5 1864

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Creator: Edwin R. Havens
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Date: June 5, 1864
Format: Image/jpg
Original Format: Document
Collection Number: LC00016 – Havens Family Papers, Box 1, Folder 23
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 23
Contributor: MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Havens Letter: June 5 1864 , Page: 1

Havens Letter: June 5 1864
Havens Letter: June 5 1864

Near Coal Harbor Va
June 5th 1864

Dear Nell.
Although I sent you
yesterday morning a short reply
to yours and Mothers of May 22nd
I have again taken my pen to scratch
off a few lines more. although I presume
I have but little to write that may
interest you. I do not know whether
I have writtene you since we left Fred
ericksburg or not. Be that as it may
I will say that we left there on the morn
ing of the 21st and moved some 18 miles
in the direction of Bowling Green.
We halted and remained in camp
until Monday morning when we moved
to Milford Station on the Richmond and
Fredericksburg R.R. where we remained
until the morning of the 25th when we
moved some five miles in the direction
Havens Letter: June 5 1864 , Page: 2

Havens Letter: June 5 1864
Havens Letter: June 5 1864

Near Coal Harbor Va
June 5th 1864

Dear Nell.
Although I sent you
yesterday morning a short reply
to yours and Mothers of May 22nd
I have again taken my pen to scratch
off a few lines more. although I presume
I have but little to write that may
interest you. I do not know whether
I have writtene you since we left Fred
ericksburg or not. Be that as it may
I will say that we left there on the morn
ing of the 21st and moved some 18 miles
in the direction of Bowling Green.
We halted and remained in camp
until Monday morning when we moved
to Milford Station on the Richmond and
Fredericksburg R.R. where we remained
until the morning of the 25th when we
moved some five miles in the direction
Havens Letter: June 5 1864 , Page: 3

Havens Letter: June 5 1864
Havens Letter: June 5 1864

had severe fighting. On the
2nd day. near Salem church. our
company had one man killed. and
two wounded.. A rifle ball broke one
mans leg. and it was amputated
on the field. I saw him on Mon
day last doing well. and I think
he will survive. although it is but
a slight chance.
The next day after they left us
we got orders to move and returning
to Milford Station took another
road, leading still to the front but
in another direction. Since then
we have had pretty steady work
of it. and are now expecting orders
to move at almost any moment.
We moved from Bottom Bridge
yesterday morning arriving here about
four oclock in the afternoon.
Our division of cavalry preceded
us and is now somewhere near
us. although I dont know exactly
where.

Havens Letter: June 5 1864 , Page: 4

Havens Letter: June 5 1864
Havens Letter: June 5 1864

We have found the country
this side of Fredericksburg much
better than any we have yet seen.
Our route on the first days march
lay near the banks of the Rappa
hannock and I never saw a country
that I thought more beautiful
There were a great many nice
plantations and mansions
along the route. nearly all of them
almost uninjured and at many
of them we got corn. and other
articles for our own use.
Bowling Green the county
seat of Carolina county was
a beautiful village of some
five hundred inhabitants in
time of peace. and was. I beleive
the most beautiful little village
I ever saw. Besides the court house
and jail. was a good church. two large
hotels. several stores. blacksmith
shops.. Carriage shops. and every thing
common for a small inland village.
In the Court house were found
deeds warrants and all kinds of
papers. many of them more than
a hundred years old. written on
very thin paper. but as distinct in
color of ink as these lines I am
now writing

Havens Letter: June 5 1864 , Page: 5

Havens Letter: June 5 1864
Havens Letter: June 5 1864

At Milford we found a nice
Station house. telegraph office store
house, a small store a large distillery
and four or five nice dwelling
houses. While lying there we went
foraging. and got four wagons loads
of corn. any quantity of chickens. turkeys
hogs. sheep. potatoes. flour. bacon and
other things too numerous to mention.
Getting out about five miles from
camp we came to a house some distance
from any road. where “Yankees” had
never been. Here we found a horse
ready saddled. which we appropriated
any amount of corn fodder. chickens
and other articles. not forgetting
the negroes. which by the number of
picaninny’s running around made
us think, they must have a factory
for such articles near by.
Havens Letter: June 5 1864 , Page: 6

Havens Letter: June 5 1864
Havens Letter: June 5 1864

At Milford we found a nice
Station house. telegraph office store
house, a small store a large distillery
and four or five nice dwelling
houses. While lying there we went
foraging. and got four wagons loads
of corn. any quantity of chickens. turkeys
hogs. sheep. potatoes. flour. bacon and
other things too numerous to mention.
Getting out about five miles from
camp we came to a house some distance
from any road. where “Yankees” had
never been. Here we found a horse
ready saddled. which we appropriated
any amount of corn fodder. chickens
and other articles. not forgetting
the negroes. which by the number of
picaninny’s running around made
us think, they must have a factory
for such articles near by.
Havens Letter: June 5 1864 , Page: 7

Havens Letter: June 5 1864
Havens Letter: June 5 1864

them from starving and if we
were the first ones there we would
do so. if not I could only pity them,
if any one came after us. But for
the life of me I could’nt see where
the starve came in. The darkies would
tell us that they had flour and
bacon hidden away somewhere
and every plantation had large
fields of corn and oats. and some wheat
growing. while the orchards were loaded
with fruit. a good deal of which
will soon be large enough to use.
Some other people would look sul
lenly [illegible in original] or mutter “You ‘uns’
will catch it by m by”
At Newtown in King and Queen’s
county we found a large store house
with nearly two hundred bushels
of wheat in it but could not take
any of it away. We crossed the
Mattaponey
PamunKey at Dunkirk and the
PamunKey at Denny’s Ferry.

Havens Letter: June 5 1864 , Page: 8

Havens Letter: June 5 1864
Havens Letter: June 5 1864

There has been heavy fighting
for four or five days past but I
have heard no results. We hear
the sound of the actual strife and
sometimes it is but a few miles
away. but strange to say do not
hear a rumor of the results. No
papers come to us and I am in
total ignorance of what is going
on. We are receiving supplies from
White House and are now waiting
for a part of our train which left
us to go there yesterday morning
We expect to receive a mail also
when it comes in and I shall be
disappointed if I do not receive
some letters. There is one thing
that I have forgotten to speak of
and that is the contrabands.
You should seen them! We have
had over three hundred with our
train since leaving Fredericksburg
and I presume that there are
thousands at White House waiting
for a chance to go to Washington.
Contrabands of both sexes and
all ages from babies a month old
to old gray headed fellows just
able to waddle around. They are also
of all shades and colors from
those blacker than a stack of
black cats in a dark cellar at
midnight: to yellow. and [ashy?]
white yet all actuated by the same
motive. “Going ‘Norf’ to be free”
Havens Letter: June 5 1864 , Page: 9

Havens Letter: June 5 1864
Havens Letter: June 5 1864

A few get employment in
the train and camps. but by far
the greater part go “norf” We have
got one old codger working for us.
He cooks. washes and makes him
self generally useful working early
and late. He is worth his weight
in gold. but some of them are
not worth the salt they eat.
They are all ignorant as so many
hogs but are the most contented
and cheerful people I ever saw.
We have plenty of fun with them
when we can get a fiddle and some
one to play while they dance. which
is as natural for them as it is
for me to sleep. Some who had
never been ten miles from home
would make many of our crack
[Juta?] dancers hang their heads
and feel ashamed that they
ever attempted to dance.
There has been a great deal
said and written about their
Havens Letter: June 5 1864 , Page: 10

Havens Letter: June 5 1864
Havens Letter: June 5 1864

singing but I never yet have
heard a newly escaped slave sing.
I once heard a lot of negro soldiers
sing but they are the only ones..
I beleive today is Sunday. and
if so I presume that you are
flying around preparing to go
to Sunday school. Well! go ahead
I would’nt mind it much if
I could go with you but seeing
that I cant I will be contented
where I am. What is Sunday to
me any more. It is no more than
any other day. If I can keep track
of the day of the month I feel satis
fied. and sometimes I can not do
even that. [illegible in original] the [illegible in original] of my last.
I hope that Rene’s expectations
of being exchanged soon may be
realized. and that ere long I shall
meet him in. Michigan. Gen Grant
is going to take Richmond by the 4th
of July. and I am coming home
to help husk corn and vote for
Old Abe next fall.
But I have written all
I think advisable for this time
and will close hoping that todays
mail may contain a letter from
you. and numerous other friends
At any rate write soon and in
the meantime remain remember
me as your Brother
Ed
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