HENRY "HARRY" CLAY HAVENS
FIRST SERGEANT, "F" COMPANY
1ST. BRIGADE, 3RD DIVISION, 6TH CORPS.
14TH. NEW JERSEY VOLUNTEERS
by GENE E. DONATIELLO
The troops of the 14th New Jersey Volunteer Regiment were aroused from their position on the Petersburg, Virginia line early Wednesday morning July 6, 1864. The 14th marched that morning to City Point where they, along with the 87th Pennsylvania and the 151st New York, boarded the steamers Columbia and Sylvan Shore. Thursday evening July 7th the steamers docked at Locust Point near Baltimore, Maryland. From there the men boarded the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad for a trip to Frederick, Maryland arriving there mid-morning Friday, July 8th. The 14th. New Jersey Regiment had arrived at the Monocacy River in western Maryland, a place they had left fourteen months earlier. Their job now was to intercept Confederate forces lead by Lieutenant General Jubal Early as they advanced on Washington, D.C.
Confederate Commander Jubal Early, under orders from Robert E. Lee, drove the Union forces commanded by David Hunter out of Lynchburg, Virginia. Hunter led his troops in a withdrawal into West Virginia leaving an opening for Early to head east for a bold raid on Washington, D.C. Positioned between Early and Washington were the forces of Major General Lew Wallace ready to defend Washington at the stone bridge over the Monocacy River a few miles east of Frederick, Maryland and only 35 miles from Washington. Amongs Wallace's command were the 14th New Jersey Volunteer Regiment.
Upon arriving at Frederick, Early demanded $200.000 in cash from the townspeople or he would burn the town down to the ground. The townspeople asked for time to raise the money. This delaying tactic would eventually work to their advantage because, at 9AM on Saturday July 9, 1864 fighting would break out in a wheat field on the west side of Monocacy River distracting Early. The battle did not go well for the Union forces. The 14th New Jersey Regiment would join the battle about 3PM that afternoon. About that time the Union Forces, outnumbered 14,000 to 6,050, disengaged the enemy and were falling back in a fighting withdrawal. Their valiant effort that day delayed Early's advance long enough for reinforcements to arrive and turn back Early's advance on Washington. The Battle of Monocacy had saved Washington from certain capture and was the last major offensive by the Confederacy into the North.
Monocacy Battlefield, Maryland
Sgt, Henry "Harry"Clay Havens
Amongst the 14th New Jersey Volunteers was F Companys's 20 year old First Sergeant Henry "Harry" Clay Havens, who grew up, along with his three brothers John, G. W. Abraham, Horatio and two sisters, Sarah and Emily, in the Burrsville(Laurelton) section of Brick Township, New Jersey.
Henry's father Abraham O. S. Havens died in October of 1854 leaving his wife Anna to raise the children. Henry's bothers and brother-in-law were the proprietors of Havens' Brothers General Store in Burrsville. In 1862, when President Lincoln's call went out for volunteers to fight in the War Between the States, Henry volunteered on August 15th and was mustered in on August 26, 1862, at Camp Vredenburgh, west of Freehold, New Jersey, with the rest of the 14th Regiment. .
On April 21, 1864, Henry wrote to his brother H. C. Havens, from Brandy Station Virginia, that "everything is quiet in camp" and that on Monday the 18th the 6th Corps. was reviewed by Lietenant General U. S. Grant, "the hero of Vicksburg". By the time of the Battle of Monocacy on July 9, 1864, Henry had participated in guard duty at Frederick Junction, the Mine run campaign, Locust Grove and the Battle of Cold Harbor. He was an experienced soldier and had risen to the rank of First Sergeant. It was at the Battle of Monocacy that this verteran became one of 1,880 casualties. Listed as missing, presumed killed in action, Henry was most likely buried in a mass grave with other unknown soldiers. Back Home in Burrsville, mother Anna, distraught by the news of her son death, took the family wagon and went to the Monocacy Battlefield to search for her son, but it was to no avail. Today the battlefield is a National site and there is a granite monument to the 14th New Jersey Regiment.
Monument at Monocacy, Maryland to the 14th New Jersey Volunteer Regiment
The descendants of Henry "Harry" Clay Havens, have placed a memorial marker in the family plot in the cemetery of the First Babptist Church of Laurelton, Brick Township, New Jersey, as a reminder of a family member lost in a war to preserve a nation.
This book by Gene Donatiello is available in the Lizzie Herbert Store located at the Havens Homestead Museum
Bilby, Joseph. Military Images, 9 July 1864. May-June 1980. p.8
Boatner, Mark M. III. The Civil War Dictionary.
Havens, Henry C. The Havens Family Genealogy. Trenton, New Jersey: Phillips & Godshalk Co. Painters, 1933.
Historical Times. New York: Harper and Rowe Publishers, 1986
The Pageant of America. Toronto, Canada: United States Publishing Associated, 1928.
Salter, Edwin. History of Monmouth and Ocean Counties New Jersey. E. Gardner and Sons, 1890
War of Rebellion. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series I, Vol. XXXVIII, Part 1.
Letter from Harry C. Havens to H. C. Havens from the collection of Walter Durrua
Photograph of Henry "Harry" C. Havens from the collection of Walter Durrua.
Photograph of Monocacy Battlefield Mounument by Gene Donatiello