Heroes of Albany - William Havens

From Helderberg Hilltowns of Albany County, NY


William Havens, the son of William and Margaret Havens was born in Bern, December 30, 1835. He was an affectionate son, kind brother, and a youth of excellent habits. During a religious interest in the Reformed Dutch Church, in 1861, he was hopefully converted and joined the Methodist Church. He was a consistent and active Christian.

Although Mr. Havens was very reluctant to leave his wife and three little children, yet he felt it to be his duty to go forth and fight for his country. Accordingly he enlisted as a private in Company K., Seventh New York Regiment. For twenty months he performed guard duty at Washington. During this time he was in poor health, and was offered his discharge, but he declined it, as he was determined to see the war through.

His regiment was ordered to the front, and he participated in seven battles, in all of which he manifested the utmost fortitude and bravery. He fought at Spottsylvania, North Anna River, Tolopotomy Creek, Cold Harbor, and in the charge before Petersburg. On the 24th of June, 1864, he was on picket duty within a mile and a half of Petersburg. The woods were discovered to be on fire, and he and his companions threw themselves upon the ground, thinking that the enemy would not see them. But he was shot at, and wounded in the foot. Two of his comrades carried him to the rear, and a portion of his foot was taken off. But the wound did not heal, and his sufferings were very intense. On the 19th of July his leg was amputated, at the Harewood hospital in Washington. The following day he died from the effects of the operation.

He leaves a wife and three little children, in a destitute condition, to mourn the death of a kind husband and affectionate father. After he was wounded he wrote twice to his family, commending them to the care of their Heavenly Father.