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Havens Letter: July 29 1864

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Creator: Edwin R. Havens
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Date: July 29, 1864
Format: Image/jpg
Original Format: Document
Collection Number: LC00016 – Havens Family Papers, Box 1, Folder 24
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 24
Contributor: MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Havens Letter: July 29 1864 , Page: 1

Havens Letter: July 29 1864
Havens Letter: July 29 1864

Light House Point Va
July 29th 1864

Dear Nell.
When I answered
Mothers letter last Monday I
thought it quite likely that I should
receive another from you before
now but I have been disappointed
and have concluded to write you
this morning as I have nothing else
to do. but read or sleep and I
cant do both all the time.
There has been a little stir here
this week. just enough to give us one
little item of news. which, however
will be behind times when this
reaches you as the papers have al
ready spread it over the nation
Our brigade which was on picket
was ordered in Tuesday morning
Havens Letter: July 29 1864 , Page: 2

Havens Letter: July 29 1864
Havens Letter: July 29 1864

and reached camp about ten A.M.
They then drew five days rations
and put off again at 3 P.M. together
with the rest of our division and a
part or all of the second division.
We, of course knew nothing concern
ing their destination or errand.
but Wednesday moring at daylight
we heard heavy cannonading. among
which we could distinguish the
voice of one or two gunboats, and
which apparently seemed to be at
or near Malvern Hill. This racket
was kept up with little intermission
until nearly noon when it ceased
entirely. Soon there came a rumor
that it was our cavalry. fighting.
They had crossed the Appomattox
in company with the 2nd Army
Corps at Point of Rock by pontoon
the afternoon before and during
the night by means which I
Havens Letter: July 29 1864 , Page: 3

Havens Letter: July 29 1864
Havens Letter: July 29 1864

have not yet learned crossed
the James. and about daylight
pitched into the Johnnies and
drove them from fortifications
they had succeeded in erecting
on Malvern Hill and which consis
ted of one fort. mounting four
heavy siege guns, and long lines
of earthworks. At first we hardly
knew whether to credit this or not
but it soon became confirmed
again and again. and is now very
generally beleived.. I do not know
whether our forces took any great
number of prisoners. nor do I know
their loss..
Papers received last night
give rather discouraging news of
affairs in the Shenandoah valley
as they say Early has turned upon
our pursuing forces and is now driving
them back to the Potomac
Havens Letter: July 29 1864 , Page: 4

Havens Letter: July 29 1864
Havens Letter: July 29 1864

Another report says that Lee
at the head of a large force is moving
towards Washington. I dont believe
this. although I think it would
not be a bad plan to have him do
so and especially just now. Men
from the front say that Petersburg
must fall within a week and this
being the case unless the whole of
Lee’s army is in the fortifications
of Richmond it will stand a
poor show with our army moving
against it on both sides of the James..
It seems that active operations have
been resumed by our army and
that one or both of these places
must fall before we become quiet again
The weather is hot and dry
although we occasionally have a
good shower. to keep everything
in good humor

Havens Letter: July 29 1864 , Page: 5

Havens Letter: July 29 1864
Havens Letter: July 29 1864

I have nothing to do. and
hardly know how to spend my
time.. In fact I am getting too lazy
to enjoy good health..
Once in a while I muster up
life enough to go over to City Point
but even that is playing out. It is
too much like going to town to
spend half a day, when you have
nothing particular to go for..
I have been there twice this week
on a boat which. being something
new was quite passable. It is about
three quarter’s of an hour’s ride to make
the trip. being nearly three miles
There is a small propeller which
makes two trips daily between
Light House and City Point for
the purpose of carrying the mail
and commissary stores for our
corps. and anyone who has a

Havens Letter: July 29 1864 , Page: 6

Havens Letter: July 29 1864
Havens Letter: July 29 1864

a written permission to go to City
Point can ride over free of course. for
Uncle Sam always furnishes trans
portation you know. The river is
for the greater part of they way filled
with all kinds of craft from an Erie
canal boat up through the classes of
schooners. slopes. brigs. propellers. tugs.
and gun boats to the largest of steamers..
are
These vessels ^ of all shapes and sizes
and loaded with everything necessary
to supply the army and all in
government service.. The busiest of all
these crafts are the little steam tugs.
About twenty five feet long and just
sitting on the water furnished with
a small upright boiler. and engine
driving a screw propeller under their
stern they go whizzing around in
every place. will hitch on to any sized
vessel and pull. shove or butt them
into the right spot where they want
them

Havens Letter: July 29 1864 , Page: 7

Havens Letter: July 29 1864
Havens Letter: July 29 1864

One large gunboat. mounting ten
guns lies anchored near the channel
a little ways below City Point: On
the main gun deck she has four large
rifled guns of ten or twelve inch bore
and most beautiful pattern and work
mansip. besides as many brass pieces.
howitzers. of smaller bore. and on the hurri
cane deck she has two short light rifled
brass pieces. five inch bore mounted
on flight field carriages, which enable
them to be used at any point on the
deck.. While passing it. I noticed some
marines drilling.. They were armed
with enfield rifles and sabre bayonets
and arms dress and accoutrements
looked as spruce as any dandy’s.
Their dress is much the same as
infantry and heavy artillery..
The sailors are dressed very different
blue
Their uniform consists of dark ^ pants
and shirt and a skull cap of the
same color

Havens Letter: July 29 1864 , Page: 8

Havens Letter: July 29 1864
Havens Letter: July 29 1864

Their shirts are made with a
wide collar which folds down
low on the shoulders and is open
low in front with a black neck
tie. This is their every day suit.
Their Sunday suit consists of black
pants a white shirt of the same pat
tern as the other with neck tie and
a black hat. It is a pretty sight
I tell you to see a number of them
in a boat of a Sunday afternoon
rowing around the river. Everything
about the vessel. the deck. guns. arms
and dress of both marines and
soldiers is always as clean and
neat as any one can wish..
I suppose their discipline is much
more strict than ours. and they have
less freedom and less space to exercise
in than we do; but they have advantages
over us that many would prefer to lax
discipline or wide fields.. They always
have a place to stay in and stow away
their traps. always know that they will
have a good place to sleep and shelter
from the storms and can have a thousand
and one little conveniences that we can
not have. If I ever re-enlist the U.S. service
I think it will be in some of the marine
trenches
Havens Letter: July 29 1864 , Page: 9

Havens Letter: July 29 1864
Havens Letter: July 29 1864

Among the many craft seen in the river
is one different in build from any others. A
long, black, side wheel steamer low in the
bow. covered forward. with [raking?] mast
and smoke stacks and marked “Admiral
Dupont” She has a high, square stern and
everything without the name of the English
builders would proclaim her of British
birth. She is an old blockade runner
captured not long since. and is a most
beautiful boat. She now lies anchored
under the guns of the gunboat spoken of
I will enclose with these sheets
two songs. One of them. “Michigan My
Michigan” I presume you have seen
long ere this; but the other being some
thing novel in the history of poetical
effusions. I think I am safe in
thinking you have never seen..
It is said to have been written
by a blacksmith in our regt..
It is the first history of our regt I
Havens Letter: July 29 1864 , Page: 10

Havens Letter: July 29 1864
Havens Letter: July 29 1864

I have ever seen and it amused
me “some” I have copied it word for
word and you can judge of its merits
as well as I..
Will Grahams thumb is beginning
to mend now and he has a very
easy time. The camp was not broken
up and all those [illegible in original] unfit for
duty were left behind among them
John Alexander. I guess there’s nothing
very serious the matter with him. John
is about the “Oddest” recruit. I know
of.
I will also send you in this a
gold pen which I accidentally injured
a few days ago so much that I can
no longer write with it. The point is [illegible in original]
spread and as the diamonds are both good
perhaps you can get it fixed so it will
write. and if you can. do so. Keep it for
your trouble. . It was a splendid pen.
Nell I’ve got more relations right
here than you could shake a stick at,
Uncles and Ants come to see me in
swarms a dozen times a day. and no
manner of coldness or abuse can induce
them to discontinue their vistis. while flies.
the dear, affectionate, little things make their nests
every where even in a bar of soap. So our old
contraband says
As Ever Yours [illegible in original] Ed

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