Title

Havens Letter: June 25 1864

Back

Creator: Edwin R. Havens
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Date: June 25, 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 25 1864, Page: 1

Havens Letter: June 25 1864
Havens Letter: June 25 1864

Bank of James River, Va
June 25th 1864

Dear Nell
Yours of the 19th came
to hand last evening and having nothing
better to do I will try to scratch off a
few lines in reply.. I sent you a hastily
written note Tuesday morning giving you
an account of Monday’s affair. from
which we were lucky enough to escape
safely. Wednesday afternoon we recrossed
the river and at midnight commenced our
march for the James river which we
reached yesterday afternoon at a place
some five or six miles above here called
Wilson’s wharf.. from whence we started
at midnight last night and arrived
here at daylight this morning We
found boats ready for us to cross on
Havens Letter: June 25 1864, Page: 2

Havens Letter: June 25 1864
Havens Letter: June 25 1864

and they are now shoving the wagons
over as fast as possible: our turn will
come about dark I presume.
We have had a pretty close time get
ting here I think. although we know but
little about it. Every one beleives that
we started to go to Harrison’s Landing
but we can not get there. as it is some
fifteen miles above here and the Johnny’s
are thicker than flies in dog days
between here and there..
When we crossed the Chickahominy
night before last at a point a little
below Jones’ bridge our advance
was skirmishing with the rebels
less than a mile a head of us. and
yesterday morning we passed six
new made graves. On reaching
Charles City Court House about ten
O.clock our advance encountered

Havens Letter: June 25 1864, Page: 3

Havens Letter: June 25 1864
Havens Letter: June 25 1864

a force of Johnnies and we were
compelled to halt for some time
The 2nd Division of cavalry. (Gen Greggs)
had a severe fight with them yesterday
afternoon and got whipped severely.
and since I commenced writing
I have heard a good many reports
from artillery.. I can not conceive
what object our commanders could
have had in leaving our train at
White House so long after everything
else had left there The army has
all been south of the James for
several days past. and each day was
taking away more and more of our
little force at that place. The rebels
were not in any wise sharp or we would
never have got off one tenth part of our
train as it was. Had they brought
up their artillery the first thing
Havens Letter: June 25 1864, Page: 4

Havens Letter: June 25 1864
Havens Letter: June 25 1864

a force of Johnnies and we were
compelled to halt for some time
The 2nd Division of cavalry. (Gen Greggs)
had a severe fight with them yesterday
afternoon and got whipped severely.
and since I commenced writing
I have heard a good many reports
from artillery.. I can not conceive
what object our commanders could
have had in leaving our train at
White House so long after everything
else had left there The army has
all been south of the James for
several days past. and each day was
taking away more and more of our
little force at that place. The rebels
were not in any wise sharp or we would
never have got off one tenth part of our
train as it was. Had they brought
up their artillery the first thing
Havens Letter: June 25 1864, Page: 5

Havens Letter: June 25 1864
Havens Letter: June 25 1864

We could not hlep but admire
the working of our gunboats that
day. Such excellent practice none
could have been better. Every shot
seemed to strike the right spot.
They upset one gun for the Johnnies
and blew up one ammunition wagon
while one of our land batteries blew
up one caisson. The gun boats fired
shells weighing from 32 lbs to 100 lbs
which made a noise like forty steam
engines while going through their air
Our boys call them. threshing machines..
camp kettles. pots of beans. nail keger
and a dozen other names. The largest
ones were fired from ten inch Colum
biads. and Rodman guns and were
about two feet long and look very
much like our camp kettles.
Havens Letter: June 25 1864, Page: 6

Havens Letter: June 25 1864
Havens Letter: June 25 1864

I saw one half of a 8 inch shell
(32 pounder) that had been thrown
from one of our gun boats and
bursted. it was about 14 inches
long and had been filled with
common ounce musket balls.
and powder. The rebs had small
guns. about 12 pounders. but of
pretty long range..
We are beginning to learn
what summer is in the “Sunny
South.” I never saw much hotter
weather than we are having at
present.. I have heard tell of roasting
eggs in the sand and meat in
the sun and if such a thing is
possible I beleive it could be done
now. We have had no rain to
amount to anything for a
month and the roads are like

Havens Letter: June 25 1864, Page: 7

Havens Letter: June 25 1864
Havens Letter: June 25 1864

beds of ashes. and the dust is almost
suffocating. The roads have been filled
with dead animals so much that
every bit of dust we inhale is scented
with the stench. Taking all this
with ditch water and hard march
ing day and night and you can
judge of the effect it has on man
and beast Many are sick with
fevers, colds. diarhea and the many
other diseases common to in hot weather
For a week and more I have been
rather under the weather.. Last week
I had the toothache in an old
snag which ulcerated and swelld
my face till it presented much
the same appearance [illegible in original] is
supposed to have done after half
an hours mauling from King..
I got the old snag dug out. and
Havens Letter: June 25 1864, Page: 8

Havens Letter: June 25 1864
Havens Letter: June 25 1864

that got better. then I caught a hard
cold which settled in the upper
part of my head. and marching in.
the dust and hot sun I felt like going
under as much as I ever did in my
life. but thinking I would be just as
well off to stick to it I have done so
and have managed to wear the darned
thing about out and begin to feel better
again. We had a splendid swim last
night at Wilson’s Wharf during high tide
which helped me about as much
as anything. The James river is
as large a river as I ever saw. and
just at present is quite a busy stream
We can see boats in motion at all
times Some Hospital boats went
down the river last night. The gun
boat Pequod from Boston lay
at the wharf last night and
one or two are near here. The Pequod
is quite a large boat mounting
ten guns of the largest calibre.

Contact us with Questions or Comments