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  • Civil War Era Wallet Identified to Erastus Havens, 7th Michigan Cavalry

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    Civil War Era Wallet Identified to Erastus Havens, 7th Michigan Cavalry - Commanded by George Armstrong Custer.  Wallet measures 8" x 3 1/4" (when closed) accompanied by handwritten ink note.  Note reads, "$500 deposited in Putnam Savings Bank / by Executor in accordance with will / for benefit of Erastus H. Havens & Family / Estate of Abel B. Havens, legacy for benefit of Erastus H. Haven & Family / George H. Marsh, Executor." 

    Erastus Havens:

    Residence Hastings MI; 24 years old.

    Enlisted on 4/3/1863 at Eureka, MI as a Private.

    On 6/12/1863 he mustered into "M" Co. MI 7th Cavalry

    He was transferred out on 4/10/1864

    On 4/10/1864 he transferred into "E" Co. Veteran Reserve Corps 2nd Reg

    He was discharged on 11/10/1865 at Detroit, MI

    MICHIGAN Seventh Cavalry. (Three Years)

    The Seventh Michigan Cavalry was organized at Grand Rapids, Michigan, in the summer and fall of 1862, it being one of the Cavalry regiments which the Secretary of War authorized the Honorable F. W. Kellogg to recruit at that time.


    Colonel, William D. Mann, Detroit.  Lieutenant Colonel, Allyn C. Litchfield, Blendon.  Majors, John S. Huston, Lyons; George K. Newcomb, Owosso, and Henry W. Granger, Grand Rapids.  Surgeon, William Upjohn, Hastings.  Assistant Surgeon, Adna Sherman, Lamont.  Adjutant, Duane Doty, Ann Arbor.  Quartermaster, Farnham Lyon, Grand Rapids.  Commissary, James W. Bentley, Hastings.

    A.  Captain, Alexander Walker, Niles.  First Lieutenant, George G. Briggs, Battle Creek.  Second Lieutenant, James G. Birney, Bay City.  Second Lieutenant, Charles Lyon, Grand Rapids.

    B.  Captain, Lynus F. Warner, Royalton.  First Lieutenant, Elliott Gray, Tecumseh.  Second Lieutenant, James C. Boughton, St. Joseph.  Second Lieutenant, George W. Stoneburner, Grand Rapids.

    C.  Captain, Daniel H. Darling, East Saginaw.  First Lieutenant, Bradley M. Thompson, East Saginaw.  Second Lieutenant, Robert Sproul, Birch Run. 

    D.  Captain, George A. Armstrong, Eaton Rapids.  First

    Lieutenant, John Q. A. Sessions, Charlotte. Second Lieutenant, Henry M. Nevins, Grand Rapids.

    E.  Captain, Wellington Willetts, Detroit.  First Lieutenant, John A. Clark, Stockbridge.  Second Lieutenant, Roswell H. Holmes, Detroit.

    F.  Captain, Stephen B. Mann, Palmyra.  First Lieutenant, James L. Carpenter, Scipio.  Second Lieutenant, Winchester T. Dodge, Orange.

    G.  Captain, Bradley M. Thompson, East Saginaw.  First Lieutenant, Joseph J. Newman, Owosso.  Second Lieutenant, George W. Hill, Detroit.

    H.  Captain, Richard Douglas, Ross.  First Lieutenant, David Sergeant, Kalamazoo.  Second Lieutenant, John J. Hicks, Charleston.

    I.  Captain, Hugh Richards, Tecumseh.  Second Lieutenant, Myron H. Ellis, Ypsilanti.

    K.  Captain, Herman N. Moore, Grand Rapids.  Second Lieutenant, Hiram J. Ingersoll, Scipio.

    L.  Captain, William H. Clipperton, East Saginaw.  First Lieutenant, Joseph L. Mead, East Saginaw.  Second Lieutenant, Samuel B. Carll, Port Huron.

    M.  Captain, Robert Sproul, Birch Run. 

    On the fourth of November, W. D. Mann, who had been commissioned as Colonel of the regiment, arrived and took command.  On Jan. 27th, 1863, the last contingent of the ten companies was mustered in and on Feb. 20, 1863, the horses of the first five companies, with a detail of twenty men, followed on the 21st by the horses of the other five companies, and on the 22d by the main body of the regiment, proceeded to Washington.  It reached Washington on Feb. 27 and was encamped on what was known as Meridian Hill.  The weather was extremely severe and the men of the regiment had the first taste of the hardships of field service at this point.

    The regiment remained there for about a month, and on the 26th of March proceeded across the river over Long Bridge and marched out to Fairfax Court House.  Here the regiment was united with the Fifth and Sixth Michigan Cavalry, into a brigade, under command of General Copeland, which was assigned to General Stahl's Cavalry Division, Department of Washington.

    The regiment remained on picket and scout duty at Fairfax Court House for several days and on the 14th of April marched to Opequan, where it remained on light duty until the 25th of April, when it moved to Bristow Station and remained there until the 5th of May, when it encamped at the place called Kettle Run.  Sunday, May 3, Mosby captured the outposts of the First Virginia Cavalry at Warrentown Junction, but was driven off by the Fifth New York Cavalry and the prisoners released.  The Seventh was hurried to the scene of the encounter but did not arrive in time to participate.  From that time until the 24th of June, 1863, the regiment was engaged in scout duty and in guarding the Orange and Alexandria railroad, which was the line of supplies for the Army of the Potomac.  While thus engaged it had several skirmishes with Mosby's men.  In one of these actions near Catlett's Station, where Mosby had destroyed a train of cars, two small brass pieces were captured by the commands engaged and several of the Seventh's men were injured and quite a number of prisoners were taken from the enemy.  On June 24, 1863, the brigade left Fairfax Court House, Va., and marched north with the Army of the Potomac to repel Lee's invasion of Maryland and Pennsylvania.  They proceeded by the way of Dranesville, the Potomac being crossed at Edward's Ferry.  On the 26th Frederick, Md., was reached, and on the 27th the march was resumed up the Cotoctin Valley in the direction of Gettysburg.  From this time to the 29th it was engaged in scouting in that vicinity.  On the 29th General Kilpatrick superseded Stahl as division commander and General Custer superseded Copeland as Brigade Commander, and the First Michigan Cavalry was assigned to the brigade.  On the 30th of June the regiment participated in an engagement at Hanover, Pa., where the brigade was united in order to oppose the attempt of General Stewart to effect a junction with General Lee's army.  In this engagement a portion of the regiment supported a battery and another portion was on the skirmish line.  The first battle flag of the enemy captured by the regiment was taken in this action.  On the night of the 2d of July the regiment was engaged until midnight at Hunterstown, Pa.  On the 3d of July, 1863, the regiment, with others of the brigade, was at Gettysburg, and on the extreme right of the Union army and engaged the entire day.  Most of the time until about 3 o'clock in the afternoon it was supporting Battery M, Second U. S. Artillery.  At 4 o'clock in the afternoon Stewart's men were seen to be advancing in force against the Union skirmish line and the Seventh was ordered to charge upon the approaching line of the enemy, which it did in splendid order in column of companies.  At this point one of the most notable cavalry engagements of the Civil war took place, and of the part taken by the Seventh and the First Michigan Cavalry, which came to its support, the celebrated Captain Charles King, U. S. A., has said:

    "Virginia's beautiful division of cavalry, plumed, stately, superb, rides forth from the screening forest to overwhelm the Union ranks.  Oh, well for Gregg and his gallant few in the worn old Second Division--well for the hard-used Army of the Potomac--well for the cause of freedom and union is it that Custer and the Wolverines are still there."  And after describing the charge he says: "What soldier lives who does not envy Michigan that day?  It was the cavalry combat of the war."

    In this engagement out of the 401 officers and men engaged the regiment lost 13 killed, four officers and 48 men wounded and 39 missing.  This shows a greater loss and a much larger per cent of loss than that of any other cavalry regiment in this battle.  On the morning of the fourth the regiment proceeded with the command to follow up Lee's retreating army, and on the night of the fourth, while marching through Monterey Pass, they were met by a volley of cannister shot from two pieces of artillery in the road.  These were promptly charged upon and taken by the Seventh, and the brigade captured many prisoners and some 400 wagons of the enemy.  It was again engaged at Smithburg July 5, at Hagerstown July 6, and the same day at Williamsport.  At Hagerstown Major Newcomb with his batallion advanced under heavy fire and drove the enemy before it.  On the 12th of July the regiment was again in action at Hagerstown, and at Falling Waters July 14, where it captured a ten-pound Parrot gun from the enemy.  In this action one part of the command of seventy sabers charged upon a line of infantry and took 400 prisoners with the battle flag of the Fifty-fifth Virginia.

    After a few days of much needed rest the regiment again crossed the Potomac into Virginia and participated in engagements at Snicker's Gap, July 19; Kelly's Ford, Sept. 13; Culpepper Court House, Sept. 14; Raccoon Ford, Sept. 16; White's Ford, Sept. 21, and Jack's Shop, Sept. 26.

    When the Army of the Potomac fell back from the Rapidan the enemy was met by the regiment near James City and on the 10th of October it participated in the battle of Brandy Station, where Buford's and Kilpatrick's divisions were surrounded by the rebel infantry and cavalry.  The Michigan brigade, of which the Seventh formed a part, charged through and cleared the river front of the enemy, so that the whole command was withdrawn in good order.  From the 11th to the 19th the regiment was guarding the flank and rear of the army.  On the 19th of October it participated in a severe engagement at Buckland Mills, Va., with the enemy's infantry and cavalry.  After that the enemy fell back toward the Rapidan and was not again encountered by the regiment until the 19th of November, at Stevensburg, and on the 26th of November, at Morton's Ford.  At Stevensburg the regiment went into winter quarters and during the winter was engaged in picket duty on the advance line along the Rapidan river in the vicinity of Morton's Ford.  While encamped here, the regiment participated in a grand review, by General Pleasanton, of the entire cavalry corps of the Army of the Potomac, which was held on a plain south of Stevensburg and near the camp of the Michigan brigade.  The cavalry made a magnificent appearance on the occasion and excited the admiration of all who beheld the review.  New Year, 1864, will be remembered as one of the most bitter cold days ever experienced in this country, and the boys in their winter quarters were exposed to all the rigors of this unusual day and night.

    Colonel W. D. Mann resigned on March 1, 1864, and Lieutenant Colonel Litchfield assumed command of the regiment.  On the 28th of February 100 picked men and horses of the regiment, under command of Lieutenant Colonel Litchfield, left camp at Stevensburg and united with General Kilpatrick on the now famous raid to Richmond, Va.  The portion of the regiment which accompanied General Kilpatrick had a very severe experience; Colonel Litchfield, among others, being captured near Richmond.  Those of the command who escaped injury or capture made their way back with the balance of the division to Yorktown, arriving there March 4, and thence proceeded by transports and easy marches via Alexandria to Stevensburg.  The first of April General Kilpatrick was ordered west, General Torbert taking command of the division.  Toward the latter part of April, while the regiment was assembled, dismounted, upon the parade ground for dress parade and inspection, the Provost Marshal stole into the camp and seized and took away a number of horses from each company.  When the men returned and found what had happened they were so exasperated that it seemed as though it were impossible to prevent a mutiny.  The men seized their arms and insisted that they would retake the horses at any price.  After much persuasion better counsel prevailed and the commanding officer and adjutant managed to get the animals returned to the commands.

    About the first of May there was a division review on the hills over-looking Culpepper.  Wednesday, May 4, 1864, tents were struck and the regiment was headed for the Rapidan.  At Stony Mountain the men received Spencer repeating carbines in place of their old Burnsides.  On the morning of the 6th of May, about daylight, the regiment participated in a lively engagement in the Wilderness, near the intersection of the Furnace Road and Brock's Pike.  At this point the regiment was engaged all day.  At daylight on the morning of the seventh the regiment was again on the battle ground of the preceding day, contending with the enemy until the middle of the afternoon, when the enemy were driven from the field.

    At Beaver Dam Station on May 9 an immense amount of supplies were captured and destroyed, together with two railroad trains.  About 400 of our men, under rebel escort to Richmond, were recaptured by the brigade.  On the tenth the regiment was engaged all day in destroying railroads.  At dawn of the eleventh it was skirmishing with the enemy.  On that day an engagement, at the intersection of the Telegraph Road with the Brock Pike, was opened by Stuart and continued all day, the regiment participating in several charges.  In one of these charges Major Granger was killed and a number of men and officers of the regiment were killed or captured.  It was in this charge, and by one of the Seventh, no doubt, that the famous Confederate cavalry leader General J. E. B. Stuart was killed by a pistol shot.

    On the 12th of May the regiment had several engagements at Meadow Bridge, on the Chickahominy, where it forced a crossing and routed the enemy with a heavy loss.  Thence it proceeded to Malvern Hill and then retraced its steps to form a junction with the Army of the Potomac.

    On the 25th day of May the regiment rejoined the Army of the Potomac.  On the 26th day of May the regiment was again engaged at Darney's Ferry, and on the same day the Seventh made a saber charge at Crump's Creek, driving the enemy before them for three miles.  On the 28th it was again engaged at Hawes' Shop, the Seventh being exposed to a severe fire.  On the 30th of May the Seventh and First Michigan were engaged in a hard fight with the enemy at Old Church, completely routing the rebels.

    On the 31st of May the regiment participated in an engagement at Cold Harbor.  On the morning of June 1st it was attacked by superior forces of the enemy's infantry, which was repulsed with great slaughter.  Here the cavalry retained the position, which was of great strategic importance, against Kershaw's and Hoke's rebel infantry, until relieved by the Sixth Corps.

    At dawn on the 11th of June the Seventh was attacked at Louisa Court House by Wickham's brigade of cavalry, but, being supported by the First Michigan Cavalry, the Seventh maintained its ground.  Thence the regiment marched to Trevillian Station.  Here for the greater part of two days it and the other cavalry regiments of Custer's, Merritt's and Devin's brigades were engaged in one of the most desperate cavalry combats of the war, against Hampton's and Fitzhugh Lee's commands.  In this engagement the Seventh made a number of saber charges, driving the enemy before them.  Throughout the melee there was charge and counter charge, field guns were captured and re-captured on both sides, and prisoners were taken and retaken again and again.  At last, by the timely arrival of Gregg's division, the enemy was routed and about 500 prisoners were captured in the flight of the enemy.

    To further illustrate the desperate nature of this encounter, it may be said that here one-half of Custer's staff and guard had been killed or wounded.

    On the 25th of June the regiment had reached the vicinity of the pontoon bridge over the James river at Deep Bottom, where it remained until the 28th, and thence crossed to the south side.  On the 30th it had advanced to Reams' Station.  This movement was for the relief of Wilson's division of cavalry that had been severing railroad communications west and south of Petersburg.  The regiment then returned to Light House Point and remained there from the 2d to the 26th of July, 1864.

    On the 26th of July it recrossed to the north bank of the James river and engaged the enemy on the 27th, on the New Market Road.  Here the regiment dismounted and, with other cavalry, taking advantageous positions, repulsed a large infantry force of the enemy, and then by a charge the regiment recaptured 250 prisoners and two battle flags.  On the morning of July 30 the regiment again recrossed to the south side of the James river and proceeded to Prince George's Court House.  On the first of August, General Sheridan being relieved of the command of the cavalry corps and ordered to the Shenandoah Valley, the First Cavalry Division, of which the Seventh formed a part, was detached with him and embarked on transports at City Point for Washington; thence it proceeded on the 5th of August to Harper's Ferry, reaching Halltown on Harper's Ferry Pike, on the 10th of August.  From the 10th to the 16th of August it was moving about the country in the vicinity of Winchester, several times coming into collision with the enemy.  On the 16th of August, under command of Lieutenant Colonel Brewer, the regiment was engaged in action at Front Royal, charging a whole brigade of rebel cavalry, completely routing it and capturing 100 prisoners with a large number of horses and arms.

    On the 21st, at Berryville, the regiment repulsed a determined attack of the enemy.  From that time to the 25th it was engaged in scouting, picketing and light skirmishing.  On the 25th the rebel cavalry was encountered near Kerneysville and driven back upon their infantry near Leetown.  While doing this Custer's brigade became separated from the rest of the division and was enveloped by two divisions of rebel infantry and after desperate fighting, in which the Seventh came in for a full share, the brigade extricated itself by crossing to the north side of the Potomac.

    The regiment was again engaged by the enemy on the 29th of August, Lieutenant Mead being killed in the engagement.  On the 19th of September was fought the battle of Opequan, or Winchester.  From about 2 o'clock in the morning the Seventh led the advance of the army and after an attempt of the Twenty-fifth New York Cavalry had been repulsed, it charged across the river and captured the rifle pits upon the hills on the opposite banks.  In the afternoon the enemy fled precipitately, the regiment being engaged until after dark, making many mounted charges during the day and capturing large numbers of prisoners, many cannon and small arms.  In the final charge fell Lieutenant Colonel Brewer, commander of the regiment.  He was a gallant officer, known and respected by every man under his command.

    On the 26th of September the regiment was engaged at Port Republic, and again on the 27th and 28th.  The regiment remained in the vicinity of Port Republic until October 2d, when it had a brush with the enemy at Mt. Crawford.

    On the 6th of October the cavalry moved back to Strasburg, the whole valley being laid waste, the cavalry stretching across the country from the Blue Ridge to the Alleghanies.

    On the 8th of October, at Tom's Brook, the enemy was completely routed in an engagement participated in by the Seventh, the enemy being pursued twenty-six miles.  All his artillery, ambulances and wagons were captured, together with 300 prisoners.  This was called "Woodstock races."

    On the night of the 18th of October the Seventh was picketing the front of the brigade on the right of the Army of the Shenandoah, joining on the left with the infantry pickets.  Early in the morning of the 19th, before dawn, the regiment was aroused by the firing of a volley of musketry and it was found that the enemy had succeeded in capturing the picket and getting through the lines of the infantry, and immediately the battle of Cedar Creek began.  The cavalry and the old Sixth Corps held its line and when Sheridan arrived on the scene it was in perfect order of battle, ready and waiting for orders to move.  General Sheridan immediately gave the order to advance. 

    In this advance the Michigan brigade came into collision with Kershaw's infantry, which was dispersed, one stand of colors and a large number of prisoners being captured.  On that day the Seventh captured more prisoners than it had troopers in its ranks.  Darkness alone prevented the destruction of Early's army.

    On the 11th of November the Seventh was again engaged with Early's army at Cedar Creek.  On the 14th and 15th of November it was engaged in a reconnoissance to Mt. Jackson.  On the 28th of November it marched with a division into and laid waste Loudon valley.

    On the 19th of December the regiment participated in an expedition to Charlottsville and Gordonsville to wreck the railroads.  From day to day there was more or less skirmishing and a lively engagement at Liberty Mills on the Rapidan.  On the 27th of February, 1865, General Devin was assigned to command of the division, Colonel Briggs in command of the regiment.

    March 1st, 1865, Rosser was encountered at Mt. Crawford and defeated.  On the 2d, at Waynesboro, Early's force was met and, except a few officers and men with Early himself, was captured, after a sharp engagement.  On March 3, en route to Charlottsville, some cavalry and artillery were captured.  At Charlottsville the regiment was assigned to quarters in and about the residences formerly occupied by officers and professors of the University of Virginia.  Here they remained until about the 5th of March, when they proceeded to Scottsville, on the James river, where the regiment captured a few canal boats loaded with supplies for Richmond.

    On the 11th of March the regiment moved to Louisa Court House and assisted in destroying the Virginia Central Railroad to Frederick's Hall, and on the 12th, 13th and 14th it engaged in light service about Hanover Junction and Ashland.  On the 18th of March it arrived at White House Landing.  On the 25th of March it proceeded to Harrison's Landing, and on the 26th to City Point.  On the 27th to Hancock Station.  March 30 the regiment found the enemy in force on the White Oak Road near Five Forks.  At this point the regiment numbered less than 300 men.  After being in the saddle all night it was ordered to support the Sixth Pennsylvania and Second U. S. Cavalry.  These regiments were in retreat, the enemy charging upon them.  The Seventh, in column of squadrons, sabres drawn, moved forward in a counter charge and soon routed the enemy.  Those who were not captured sought safety in flight behind fortifications three miles away.  For the part the regiment took in this action it received the compliments of the commanding general.

    March 31st it had a sharp engagement at the intersection of the Dinwiddie and Five Forks Roads.  On the first of April it was again engaged with Pickett's infantry near Five Forks, participating in the battle of that name and taking a prominent part in the final charge, capturing many prisoners and pursuing the enemy until after dark.  On the 2d and 3d of April the regiment was on the march picking up prisoners and wagons and five pieces of artillery.  On the 4th of April it skirmished with the enemy and made many captures on the way to Amelia Court House and Jettersville.  On the 6th of April it proceeded to Rice Station and the brigade, interposing between the head of Gordon's and the rear of Ewell's rebel infantry columns, completely isolated Ewell's.  This resulted in the battle of Sailor's Creek, in which the regiment participated and in which the whole of Ewell's corps was captured.

    On the 8th the regiment proceeded to Prospect Station and thence toward Appomattox Depot, where it had a spirited brush with the rebels, capturing much property and ammunition.  After standing "to horse" all night in open order of column by squadrons, about 4 o'clock on the morning of the 9th, in the gray of dawn, a line of the enemy's skirmishers was discovered advancing.  The Seventh was deployed and soon hotly engaged.  Its Spencer carbines soon checked the enemy.  About 9 o'clock in the morning the regiment was relieved by the Twenty-fourth Corps and ordered to the right.  As it moved off in column of fours through the open woods and marched into the clearing, Lee's whole army, deployed for action, came into view and the regiment bugles were sounding the charge.  At this juncture several horsemen emerged from the woods of the enemy's line, waving a signal of truce.  Colonel Briggs demanded their mission and was informed that they bore proposals for a suspension of hostilities and wished to communicate with the general commanding.  Accompanied by Captain Fisher of the Seventh, they were conducted to General Custer, who insisted that they should return and get some assurances that it was not a mere ruse for delay.  They retraced their steps, accompanied by Colonel Briggs of the Seventh, to Generals Longstreet and Gordon, who gave the necessary assurance.  The armistice followed which resulted in the surrender of Lee's army and the termination of the operations of the regiment in the Civil war.

    Gerry's South Carolina cavalry failed to keep the armistice, whereupon the Seventh charged upon them and put a quietus upon them in short order.

    With the brigade the regiment participated in the grand review at Washington on the 23d of May, 1865.  After a short stay in Washington the brigade was ordered to Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and thence the command marched across the plains to the Rocky Mountains to quell the Indian disturbances in that wide section.

    Those men of the regiment whose term of service expired before February, 1866, were mustered out Dec. 15, 1865.  The others were transferred into the First Michigan Veteran Cavalry and retained in the service in Utah until March 10, 1866.

    Inventory Number: PER 026