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Havens Letter: August 5 1864

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Creator: Edwin R. Havens
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Date: August 5, 1864
Format: Image/jpg
Original Format: Document
Collection Number: LC00016 – Havens Family Papers, Box 1, Folder 25
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 25
Contributor: MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Havens Letter: August 5 1864 , Page: 1

Havens Letter: August 5 1864
Havens Letter: August 5 1864

Near City Point Va
August 5th 1864
Well Nell
We arent off yet
but we’re going; that’s sure fire.
The cavalry has all gone. our
brigade shipping yesterday and
last night.. and today they have
commenced to load the train.
Our train may possibly load
tomorrow and may not in
the next three days. Everything
moves slowly but surely..
Havens Letter: August 5 1864 , Page: 2

Havens Letter: August 5 1864
Havens Letter: August 5 1864

The weather still continues hotter
than is necessary for comfort. and
also very dry. while there is no end
to flies. We are now out in the center
of a wide field where the sun has
an excellent [illegible in original] on us from rise
to set and you may beleive we get the
full force of it.. I have nothing to do
now but when we come to load all hands
will be busy enough. Yesterday morn
ing three of us took it into our heads
to go out and see the front. as we did
not like to have it said that we had
Havens Letter: August 5 1864 , Page: 3

Havens Letter: August 5 1864
Havens Letter: August 5 1864

been here so long without seeing
the front and the works around Peters
burg. We had an errand to do that
took us to the Hd Qrts of the 5th A.C. Gen Warren
which we found to be also very near to Gen
Burnsides Hd Qrts and a short distance from
there we found the Michigan brigade of
the 3d division composed of the 2nd 8th
20th & 27th Inf. and the 1st Sharp shooters.
They were fortunately lying in camp.
and we found the boys we were looking
for all right. Frank Farnsworth is still
in the hospital. and my other friend I found
to be at brigade Hd Qrts as an orderly.
We went out into the works to see the sights..
Everything was comparatively quiet except
a constant picket firing in front of the 9th Corps
The left of the 9th Corps rests on the Weldon R R
and extends nearly to the Appomattox on the right..
The right of the 8th Corps joins the left of the 9th at the
R.R. The front lines are very close. I should judge
not over 20 rods and in some places even closer
There is no difficulty in being heard from one
line to the other. At this distance you can
imagine it is not very inviting to show your
head above the works. especially where the sharp
shooters take advantage of every such opportunity
to send you their card. In the works farther
to the rear there is but little danger as they
only fire at those in the rifle pits in front.
[illegible in original] and even there a white man can
often stand and talk with a Johnny in
plain sight but no “nigger” must show his
pate or it is perforated with a minnie
ball double quick
Havens Letter: August 5 1864 , Page: 4

Havens Letter: August 5 1864
Havens Letter: August 5 1864

I saw the remains of the fort that was
blown up last Saturday morning and the
ground that was so hotly contested on that
day. Those engaged say that it was the hottest
fight of the campaign. The ground fairly trem
bled under the roar of cannon which was
the most terrific of the war.. This is the same
ground won from the Johnnies on the 17th
of June. The works which our men took
from them have all been leveled down and
the dead rebels were buried in their own
rifle pits.. It was here that our 1st S.S. fought
so bravely pulling the rebs over the works by
their hair. In the [late?] fight the brigade lost
heavier than ever before on one charge Co. E. of
the 2nd Inf. lost 18 men.. The heavy siege guns
and mortars have all been withdrawn from
light
this part of the line.. nothing but little field
pieces are left in the forts.. In front of the
[3d?] Corps all is quiet. No picket firing is done
and the men meet between the lines play
cards. change [illegible in original] and are friendly
as brothers. We could see the spires of Peters
burg. but the City itself was hidden by
a large hill on which the rebels have
their works which look fully as strong
as our own Every little tent within range
of minnie balls is fortified by a bank
of dirt. A few nights ago a man was killed
at the Hd Qrts of the Michigan brigades and
such occurrences are frequent.. Everybody is
as cool and apparently as contented as at
home. They live fully as well as we do
here. and have never been better supplied
my discription is [lame?] one to appreciate the
sights must see them. and its worth a weeks
travel to see them. I would not have
missed it for anything as we shall never
have another chance. Our division has been
transferred to the Middle Department
under Gen. Couch and we will never
return to the Army of the Potomac. We
shall hear see hard times the remainder
of this summer than if we remained
here and no one is greatly pleased
with the change.
Edwin R. Havens
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