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A Romance Interrupted by the Civil War – written by Bill Penn

This was sent to me by Bill Penn. The original letters used to write this article are at the Kentucky Historical Society.

A Romance Interrupted by the Civil War: The Letters of Susan T. Scroggin and Henry H. Haviland

Harrison Heritage News, Vol. 13, No. 6 (June 2012)The Civil War in Kentucky has many stories of divided families whose members fought in the armies of either the Union or the Confederacy. Less encountered are accounts of couples who postponed their marriage because of opposite sectional allegiances.

This is one of those stories, with Susan T. Scroggin living in Woodford County and Henry H. Haviland in Harrison County. It is also a story of a Confederate woman engaged to a farmer/slave owner who was loyal to the Union.

The Robert Haviland house in Havilandsville ca. 1930

The Robert Haviland house in Havilandsville ca. 1930

Susan Terrell Scroggin (24 February 1826-8 November 1897), lived on a farm on the north side of Leestown Pike at Moore’s Mill Pike, about one mile east of Midway, Woodford County. According to the 1860 census, Sue, 30, was a housekeeper to her father, Robert C., 69, and uncle Samuel, 60, both farmers, with the help of an older sister, Sarah Anne “Sallie,” 38, and Ebb, a 24 year old student, The family owned nine slaves, six being children. At the outbreak of the war, her two brothers, Sidney Alvin and Robert Ebenezer “Ebb,” joined the Confederate army. Sue became an ardent Southern sympathizer who despised Lincoln’s policies regarding African Americans and his abolitionist supporters. Her thoughts on the sectional issues have been preserved at the Kentucky Historical Society in surviving correspondence between Sue and her fiance, Henry Hutchins Haviland (16 March 1825-2 March 1910), a merchant and farmer at Havilandsville in northern Harrison County. Henry was a brother of William Stewart Haviland (22 March 1823-June 1914), a Cynthiana attorney who processed many Civil War damage claims to the federal government. An irony to this love story was the fact that Haviland favored Kentucky remaining in the Union even though he, too, was a slave owner. The letters in general expressed the love affair between the two which was complicated by the fact Henry was a busy farmer and could visit Sue only several times a month.

It seems Sue met Henry Haviland while the two were in Covington visiting friends in the summer of 1849 when she was 19. By l857 Henry was visiting Sue, staying at Mrs. Cunningham’s Midway Hotel or at Mrs. Thornton’s hotel, both on Railroad Street. By December 1860 the Scroggin family was lamenting the coJd winter but could only afford to burn coal in one room of the house. “All talking of disunion and hard times. I think the Secession movement in the South is more talked of than anything else really: the pressure is being seriously felt here; everything perfectly still here; though all are in hopes that it will all soon blow off again, even before old Honest Abe takes his seat.” She asked Henry, “Are you for Union or disunion; the ladies you know are all for Union especially as this is the close of Leap Year.” By June 1861 Sue had definitely decided disunion would benefit Kentucky, referring to “Lincoln or his northern horde of tyrants … I think the whole country is ruined and there is no help for it now.”

Henry wrote Sue July 15, 1861, about Confederate recruiting in Harrison County: ‘There is lots of men who are full of adventure going to Tenn from this county. They organize into a company for the Southern army at Clarksville Tn. 86 went from this county as private citizens last week. Well, I am not mad enough yet to go all the way to Virginian [by way of Tennessee] to be shot at, particularly when the prospect is so good for such fun nearer home.” Although some secessionists held out for neutrality to give more time for Kentucky to be swayed into the Confederacy, others saw It as simply an attempt to keep war out of the state. He wrote Sue advocating that Kentucky remain neutral and to not furnish soldiers for the Confederacy”. I don’t think it is … prudent for a man to leave Ky. to go South for we have a border of over 700 miles to protect and defend. It is a dreadful state of affairs to think of a Civil War between brothers or indeed it will be son against parents and vice versa.” His fears were reinforced after receiving a letter from a Rebel from Harrison County in Virginia “who warned Va. was a vast field of ruins” and Kentucky should hold out for a while.”

By December. in the first year of the war, Henry and Sue had become engaged, but she postponed the wedding due to fear her family may have to leave Kentucky for a while if the Federal army began “Lincoln’s policy of confiscating the Rebels property and freeing the negroes. I shall soon have no home and my Father will have to flee some where to get a home” and she couldn’t leave him at this time of trouble. Also, she assumed he would be called up to serve in the state militia and that he would be better off as a soldier not to have a wife and to endure “the pain of being separated from the one you love.” Of course, Henry had no recourse but to accept her decision. Sue mentioned Cameron’s advocacy of arming the slaves and freeing them as soldiers. “I have never seen such a panic as old Lincoln’s message has reacted among the Union men. They are perfectly uproarious, they say the war was waged to restore the Union and if slavery or the abolishing of it has anything to do with it they will throw down their arms.” She noticed the railroad, which crossed the Leestown Pike adjacent to her farm, was busy after Zollicoffer’s army was reported coming into Kentucky toward Lexington and “the cars were running all night last night” probably carrying Federal troops to Lexington.

After the Confederate invasion in the fall of 1862, Sue reflected on horse thieves and the Federal policy toward slaves: “I don’t think the Rebels are the only ones that steals horses for they are gone and the [stealing] still goes on, not only horses, but every thing from a chicken up to a negro’, for their camps are now full of their brothers that they love far better than they do the White man; some fifteen or twenty have left our county and are in their camps.” She accused Union squads of “searching all the houses of the secesh in this neighborhood, ours with Mr. Balance, and they stole a watch from a free negro that lives in sight of our house; oh such roughs to be turned loose on the poor Secesh.” She wanted to go to Cincinnati shopping but was afraid Federal soldiers would take her horse and slave and “leave me in the road.”

Over in Harrison County, Henry had his own stories to tell. With the railroad damaged, an alternate marching route for some of the Union soldiers was from Falmouth south through Havilandsville. Writing November 3, he compared the Yankees with the Confederate invaders the month before. “We have been having lots of ‘soldiering’ in these parts in the last two weeks. There has been about 17,000 US troops marched from Falmouth by this way for the interior of the state and I can tell you they have left their mark; they have literally scraped the country, have took nearly all that the ‘Coufeds’ left, they was not as lenient, as the ‘Rebels’ only took from the Union folks but the others don’t spare neither Union nor Secesh for I can tell you they have not left hardly a goose, chicken, fat shoat or beehive on the line of their march, but I hope now the RRoad is in runninng order we willnot be bothered with any more of them. Nothing but the war and the long protracted drought is talked about here, we are having some beautiful fall weather. Oh that the country was at peace.” He told Sue the Rebel invasion was a failure. “I think taking it all together that the Confederates have not made their long march to Ky pay at any rate it don’t look so to me.”

By December 28, 1862, Sue had not heard from her brothers since they left the state, serving with D. Howard Smith’s 5th Cavalry, Company A, under Basil Duke. She worried about Alvin, who a friend had visited in his camp and found him to be sick. Finally, she received a letter from Alvin in March 1863 saying he was in the Battle of Murfreesborough. She regretted having to write him that their father had died. Her “brother from Mo.” visited for awhile in March. She said Lexington was getting short on certain articles and she was living on brown bread and wheat: “I almost starve for other diet and the other day ventured to eat a small piece of beef steak.”

Sue noted July 20, 1863, that the first draft in Woodford County under the recently enacted Federal enrollment act was taking place “this week,” causing anxiety among the citizens. By August 22, 1863 she has learned her brothers were captured and prisoners at Camp Morton in Indianapolis and began writing to secure their release. The provost marshal general Col. Neil McLean denied the request. They were then to be transferred to Fort Delaware in Baltimore, her brother Ebb wrote. Sue complained that clothing she mailed them in prison never reached them and guessed the camp sutler stole the package. She said she could not enjoy going to a fair enjoying herself “while my brothers are languishing in a Loathsome Prison.” Oct. 24, 1863 Sue made her brothers winter clothes to send to the Baltimore prison. And in a letter that dav to Henry, let the Yankees have it: “I do hope that every Yankee [Brig. Gen. William] Rosecrans has may perish by Rebels hands … How do you like {Lincoln’s} enlisting the Negroes in the Border States the Rebs to be taken and the Lincolnnites to be handed $300 for theirs, that’s is not meddling With slavery where it exists in Loyal States; oh consistency where hast thou flown to.” By September 1, Sue was informed that her brothers were not in Baltimore but at Camp Douglas in Chicago. She sent them new shirts but a “box of victuals” turned up missing. She was living alone now, with only her older sister Sallie. “Many are the days I spend alone with only the negroes for company.” In Midway “crops look fine the people healthy; two great blessings.

A letter to Henry December I mentioned the coming Federal draft: “It is not an enviable life, these war times. I think, after the draft is over, there will be more girls living alone than we.” She believed married men had more to fight for than single, for married men “should fight for then wives sure the single men has but little to fight for.” She noted how, in the Union draft, it was easy to get excused: the Lincolnites oh how many excuses they use offering to get out of their own fight; the Rebs stand up to the point much better than they; oh what a war.” She thought Henry would be turned down even if he was drafted because of health exemptions.

The enthusiasm of black enlistments in Harrison County was mentioned in his letter when in mid-October 1864, Henry wrote that “the negroes have all enlisted; our last one has got to be a soldier, in fact there is only one negro man or boy left within 5 miles of [Havilandsville]. I have just returned from [the district provost marshal in Covington where I have been to get receipt for ours.”

In a letter to Henry written June 1, 1864, Sue had received the tragic news her brother Ebb died May 22, 1864, at Camp Douglas following a fight when he was stabbed in the lungs and Alvin was severely wounded in an attempt to come to his aid. Later that month, Sue and her sister Sallie obtained a military pass and traveled to Camp Douglas to retrieve the body. After three days she only was permitted to talk with Alvin for a few hours. “Alvin is a perfect skeleton almost.” After an emotional visit, she traveled back to Midway. The body was shipped by United States Express Company to Covington while waiting for the railroad to Lexington to be repaired following the Second Battle of Cynthiana. The body, in a metallic coffin, was temporarily misplaced in the Covington dump but was found and shipped to Woodford County and buried in the burial ground of the Pisgah Presbyterian Church. The grave today is unmarked.

As Sue warned about her brother Alvin recovering from the serious stab wound while imprisoned at Camp Douglas, she decided to travel to Washington., D. C. to personally petition President Lincoln for his pardon. She wrote Henry Haviland January 11, 1865, asking him to accompany her “to see your President,” thus letting him know Jeff Davis was her preferred president. For whatever reason, he did not go, and she wrote him January 20 describing her trip by train by way of Cincinnati, Columbus. and Pittsburgh, in “intense cold” changing trains six times. She was seated with an adjutant general from Ohio who she boasted “has been quite smitten with your humble Sue” but said “all, he is such an abolitionist. I told him he stole my negroes and his face turned might red,” which probably ended his flirting. Sue arrived in Washington, which she termed “the capital of all meaness,” late Thursday afternoon and checked into the National Hotel. Visiting the White House at two o’clock Friday January 19, while hoping to see Lincoln “but could not get an interview; there was just throngs of ladies there to see him on business. He receives them from 11 to 5.” She then found a Kentucky representative, probably Brutus J. Clay. who she said was staying at the National Hotel too, to handle the request “as they have preference of an interview over the ladies. Monday is set for my day.” While in the White House she was ushered into the first floor public parlors, including the Reception room, the Green Room and the East Room. Sue was surprised that politics were openly discussed at the White House. “They have 5 times the privilege of speech there that we have in Ky.” A Southern cotton dealer at the White House told her that he expressed in front of General Stephen Burbridge that he would give $5,000 for one more Rebel victory. “I told him if he had said that in Ky. He would have had him arrested.”

While in Washington Sue was “determined” to see all the sights she had heard and read about. Visiting the Capitol, she commented on the panoramic view from the hill, and inside sat in the visitor’s gallery while the senate was in session, visited the house of representative’s chamber, saw “the President’s Room and sat in the Executive Chair,” then went in the Library of Congress. Another trip took her to the Patent Office, Smithsonian, and Navy Yard. Due to bad weather, she missed seeing Arlington and Mount Vernon. Finally, a pardon was secured from someone in Lincoln’s staff, but Sue must not have met Lincoln for she would have bragged about it in her letter. “We had no difficulty in getting Alvin’s release.” After leaving Washington, Sue spent a day shopping in Baltimore, traveled to Harrisburg, staying overnight, then continued through Ft. Wayne to Chicago to Camp Douglas where she had a surprise waiting for her. “When we arrived at Chicago and went in the prison, Alvin had been released by an order from Mrs. Lincoln the week before. He reached Lexington the same evening we got to Washington: and there was 2 releases for him the morning we got to the prison but he was at home.” Perhaps Sue had written for his release before making the trip and the release was honored before her arrival in Washington. The release was more likely requested by Mrs. Lincoln and actually ordered by President Lincoln or the war department.

For the entire trip, Sue continuously complained bitterly about Yankees and abolitionist talk. “I have not met one man woman or child this side of the Ohio River but what was a Black abolitionist; the Ky. Negro is their soul salvation; oh, how I do hate them.” At the National Hotel dining room she would, “… get mighty mad listening at them old Abolish[ionist] Yanks at the table discussing Ky politics.” She despised, too, the “host of Yankey members [of the House of Representatives] and their wives and daughters, and oh what an ugly set they are; there is not one pretty one among them. I think they are the most profane set I ever heard speak: you would laugh to see the ladies with their hair done up in French stile.”

On the portion of the return trip between Covington and Lexington the train derailed and her passenger car rolled down an embankment. Her forehead was cut when she was thrown to the ground: “My clothing was torn all to pieces, my fine cloak ruined.” Despite this misfortune and her criticism of Northerners, Sue returned to her Midway farm feeling more confident with her new abilities to travel. “I had every attention on the route I tell you Ky. Rebel Girls are at par in Washington.” She chided her fiance for not accompanying her and hoped to travel that summer to Boston, New York and Niagara. “You don’t think it possible for a young lady to travel 1800 miles without any protector … I asked you to go with me but you most cruel1y refused me your protection in my hour of trial,” and again mentioned being “captivated” by the adjutant general on the train who was “willing to assist me; when my sunshining [fair weather] friends refused.” Sue concluded, “This trip has given me confidence in my own abilities to attract every attention one needs in traveling alone” In other words, gentlemen would help a single woman when needed. “Oh, I have learned to know human nature well; but I can travel alone with the privilege of captivating hearts as I go along, can’t I?” I did not lack for gallants. His surviving letters ignored her attempts to make him jealous about “gallants” protecting her in his absence.

The end of the Civil War and the end of slavery brought some unexpected consequences – a labor shortage in the summer of 1865. Although her brother Alvin had returned, he was still iII poor health. Sue pondered the agricultural situation around Midway: “The tanners here are very backward … and what few negroes were left to help them is all enlisting; I don’t think by harvest, which is only two weeks off, that there will be a half dozen negro men in our neighborhood. I don’t know what they are to do; it seems impossible to procure help. and there is no stock to eat the grain up, it will have to remain uncut in the fields.

Henry Haviland noticed a week after the Second Battle of Cynthiana, June 11-12, 1864, that “the country is now full of [Union] soldiers and it is with considerable difficulty that one can travel without being molested or stopped as there is quite (I am told) a number of Morgans men dodging about the country.” That fall guerrillas remained in the area. Haviland and his neighbors “had a call paid us by a squad [on the October 14] night & relieved us of what green backs they could find; took from me $280 from my bro. all be happened to have … from Mrs. West who lives at our house about $150 in money & goods out of his store & 2 shotguns and then very politely bid us good bye; in fact there is hardly a night they are not at some house in the neighborhood.

Quantrill’s guerrillas, while terrorizing the neighborhood of Midway, harassed Sue at her farm in a February 28, 1865, letter to Henry, she bragged of standing up to the guerrillas even though she was a pro-Confederate woman: “The Guerrillas 45 in number called on us the other week they had on the Lincoln Blues; they cursed me for everything they could think of and told me they would burn our house to the ground; I told them they were nothing but a pack of roughs, they stripped Midway of her watches and money and then burnt the depot and left.

Sidney Robert Haviland

Sidney Robert Haviland

The defeat of the Confederacy was accomplished by the Union army, but in central Kentucky, Southern supporters welcomed with fanfare former Confederate soldiers back from the war. “Then was a large picknick given to the returned Rebels Saturday,” Sue wrote Henry, “it was the largest crowd that I have seen assembled since the Fair times. Lexington and Georgetown was almost depopulated, they had a fine brass band of music and they danced all day.” Despite these celebrations, she was down in spirit, and her thoughts were an indication of the widespread poor race relations to come: “There seems nothing in the picture for me but gloom; not one ray of hope is left, none; the Tyrants race will reign supreme in the United States now with the negro to enforce it. Oh but I, wish that every Yankey Rogue was sunk so low down into perdition that even Gabriel’s Trumpet would fail to resurrect them a Judgment.” As to her “hatred that only a demon ought to possess” of Yankees. “I attribute to the compulsory association with the Yanks, for no one ever loathed the atmosphere polluted by them but what fell contaminated from it. …” Henry appears to have wisely let Sue speak her mind, and in the interest of maintaining their relationship, did not challenge her strong pro-Confederate views, although he disagreed. Through the years be often pleaded with her to marry him, but she always had excuses. After a wavering courtship lasting throughout the Civil War, Sue finally married Henry in Midway on May 19, l868, and moved to Havilandsville in Harrison County, leaving her sister Sallie with the Scroggin farm. The couple had one child, Sidney Robert Haviland (1 March 1870 – 2 December 1953), for whom the Sidney R. Haviland Room was named at the First Methodist Church in Cynthiana. Miss Haviland never married.

Download the original newsletter :Harrison Heritage News, Vol. 13, No. 6 (June 2012)

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