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Regiment: 1st Michigan Cavalry Battles Mentioned: Falling Waters, West Virginia; Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; Hanover, Pennsylvania Historical Figures: George A. Custer, Hugh J. Kilpatrick, Julius Stahel, Robert E. Lee
Camp near Hartwood Church Aug. 14th, 1863 Dear Uncle: Not having held any correspondence with you since I have been in the army, it is with some reluctance that I write now, for I know that, through different sources, you hear enough and more perhaps, of this war than you care about already: but thinking that a letter from me giving a short account for the part “we wolverines” have taken in the late campaign, might be of some interest to you. I concluded to write to you. Mother informed you I presume that our Regt. was on duty in the defences of Washington and that we were en- camped near Fairfax C.H. previous to Lee’s invasion of Md and Penn: in Gen. Stahl’s Div of Cav there was two Brigades: in our brigade which was the 2nd there was four Mich. Regiments: the 1st, 5th, 6th, and 7th the 7th Regt and ours, were armed with Sharp’s and Burnside’s carbines: The 5th and 6th had the Spencer rifle or “seven shooter’s” as they are often called; they shoot seven rounds in them in succession without reloading or cap- ing: they have proved to be very effective during the late campaign: well we left Fairfax the 22nd of June, crossed the Potomac near Edward’s ferry and marched to Fred- erick City, Md; here Gen. Stahl was re- lieved of his command, and Gen Kil- patrick took command of the Division: Gen Custer, a Mich Man himself, took command of our brigade: the Div was about 3200 strong: and our brigade about 1600 strong: there was two batteries in the Div: one to each brigade: we moved from Frederick via Emitsburg to Hanover, Penn: the greatest enthusiasm prevailed among the people wherever we went they gave freely of whatever they had in the way of provisions; the Cumber- land Valley you know is one of the richest Valleys in the world: and the farmers, who are partly dutch- are well off and independent: their barns are the finest ones I ever saw; in Architect- ure many of them exceeded their houses: many of them had taken their stock across the Susquehanna: but I am digress- ing: we passed through Hanover and had marched as far as Abbotstown when our rear guard was attacked by Stuart’s Ca: we returned to Han- over and after a short engagement we drove them back; our Regt supported a battery, and the 5th went into action as skirmishers; but the 1st Brigade par- ticipated more in the fight than our brigade did: the rebs got the worst of it: Stuart then marched by a long cir- tuous route to Gettysburg: we moved as far as Berlin on the road to York; finding that they ad left the vicinity of York, we moved the next day after the battle of Hanover, to Gettysburg; arrived at or near Gettysburg, about sundown on the 2nd of July; they were fighting then: the cannonading was very heavy; we moved up to the enemies left flank; commenced skirmishing with them; our battery opened on one of theirs on their extreme left and we compelled them to with draw theirs from that part of the fields: our brigade then moved back and encamped for the night; in the morn- ing “boots and saddles,” was called, and we had to leave for the battle field without any rations; we had had no breakfast either; I suppose they thought we could fight all the better not to have anything to eat! and I dont know but we did! well we moved to our extreme right, for the purpose of protecting our right flank; it was only our brigade and battery “M” of the 2nd U.S. Artillery that took this position; the rebs tried severel times to turn our right with their Cav and Artillery, but they did not succeed in doing it; we had to change our position several times and in whatever direction our cannons were pointed or aimed, we had to tare down the fences for some dis- tance in front so that we could make a charge in case they advanced to near the battery -we- that is- our Regt,- was supporting; our battery did good execution that day: a rebel Cav Col that we took prisoner afterwards, said that our battery killed and wounded half of the men that manned their battery, and another battery had to relieve this one along in the afternoon; about 4 oclock P.M., the General had the 7th Mich charge up towards their battery to draw them out of the woods if possible; they moved up through to near the woods, and when in good range of their rifles, they opened upon the 7th from the woods and emptied about fifty saddles! of course the 7th could’nt stand before this fire, and they fell back, followed by Hampton’s Brigade of Reb Cavalry! Well to prevent them from charging upon our battery our Regt was ordered forward. we then charged upon one of their Regts; our Regt was formed in three squadrons, and we charged by squadron so impetuous was the charge of the 1st squadron that their line was broken, and the other squadrons keeping up close, the enemy was driven back some distance: but the 1st squadron moving up rather to far were flanked by another Regiment of their Cav and a large number of them were taken prisoners: a part of the other squadrons had followed the first squadron and some of them were also taken: The batteries than as both sides were rallying commenced shelling on either side, and then both our Cav and the reb Cav withdrew from the field: it was now about sundown: our General had heard that our army had won a complete victory over Lee’s army, and that all had gone well! This was cheering news to us –hungry, wearied and nearly worn out with the work of the day: as we were well the rebel Cavalry and Artillery soon left the field to us, and about 10 ‘oclock in the evening we went back, unsaddled our horses and laid down to rest: so ended the memorable 3rd day of July: a day never to e forgot- ten by the Army of the Potomac! for here we proved to the world that we could fight, and that we were not so much demoralized as to be the unable to cope again with the Army of Gen Lee, as many supposed or asserted, that we were; our Brigade lost 150 killed, wounded and missing or held as prisoners by the enemy: our Company lost one killed two wounded and four taken prisoners: the next day Kilpatrick was ordered to move with his Div into Pleasant Valley, to harass and anoy the rebels in their retreat: after drawing rations we moved back via Emitsburg, and crossed the mountains to Smithburg through Fairfield gap; we found the Rebs in the gap, and a squadron of our Regt by order of Gen Kilpatrick charged up and took a hill command- ing the gap, and held it until our Division passed, we lost several in this charge: we had one killed in our Company. we moved on then and destroyed a rebel wagon train of 100 wagons, and by the time we reached Smithburg, had taken or paroled 1900 pris oners: most of them the sick and part of the wounded of Lee’s Army: we moved from Smithburg to Boonsboro, we were here attacked by Stuart’s Cav with Artillery, after fighting or skirmishing with the enemy from noon until night, of one day, Stuart was driven back with considerable loss, to Hagerstown; our next move, was to Hagerstown; along with the 11th Corps; here our squadron which our Co was, charged into the town, and drove out three times our No of reb Cav; along with the rest of our Regt we took 90 prisoners; the rebs lost six killed by shell from our battery, we had only two wounded that day! Our next battle was at Falling Waters: you probably have seen Kilpatrick’s official account of this battle: our brigade and a squadron of the 8th NY Cav were the only troops we had engaged in the battle: the engagement was with the rear guard of Lee’s Army: it consisted of four Regts of infantry and a battery: we completely routed them killing, over 100 of them and wounding a large number: we took over 1000 prisoners: also 3 battle flags; two of these colors fell into the hands of our company: one of them the 40th Va Infan- try I found, deserted with a large number of arms, by the enemy: the 6th Mich fought with great bravery in this battle: we lost 28 killed and 30 wounded: our Co lost 2 killed: we moved from here via Berlin across the Potomac into Va again: but I fear Uncle that I have tired your patience with this long and hastily written acct. of our doings: we are now on picket at or near Hartwood Church 7 miles from Falmouth: I should be very glad to hear from you Uncle or any of that cousins either: the health of our regt is good: if you have time to write Uncle direct to E. H. Ives Company L First Mich Cav via Washington D.C. Hoping to hear from you soon. I remain your humble nephew E.H. Ives Our company was at the battle of Antietam and we know that the cannonading at Gettysburg was much heavier than it was at the Antietam It was just two years ago today that I enlisted time flies fast in the army. Will you please to send me a copy of a Boston paper? while we are on picket we do not have a chance to get papers Please give my love to all: Should like to hear from Uncle Eli’s folks. We were at Warrenton Junction in camp there on the 11th we got four month’s pay just before leaving: I have sent home thus far 10 dollars per month since I have been the the service: get 13: the 6th NY Cav has been attached to our brigade since we have been here: Mother wrote that she had sent an allotment that I had sent home to Detroit to get a draft for it for the purpose of sending you the interest money due up to the present time I hope you have Received it: you cannot imagine Uncle how much we have been benefited by that loan of money: We shall ever be under great obligations to you for it: my Brother Homer is in the 8th Cavalry Kentucky I have not heard from him for a long time I am very anxious to hear from him How are Uncle Eli’s folks where are they now? Got a letter from Cos Mort last night.