May 2011


May 26th

We had preaching today on the parade ground by our chaplin the Reverend Mr. Cummings. He alas read a part of the articles of war, after which we had a general parade and the day closed.

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Who’s Matthew Baird?

May 18th

The brass band designed for the regiment came into camp today. It will accompany the regiment in the campaign. The musicians are mostly germans. The band makes an important improvement in the appearance of the regiment on dress parade, besides the luxury of having good music after when off duty.

May 19th

Today we had preaching on the parade ground. The soldiers were very attentive and very large numbers of citizens attended from the city and country. The sermon [smudged] was excellent.

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Who’s Matthew Baird?


May 12th

Today we heard a short sermon from the Rev. Mr. Cummings. He is very aged and his grey hair and wrinkled brow contrasted strangely with the many youthful faces and manly upright forms by which he was surrounded. There was a large attendance of citizens at preaching.

Reverend Dr. Cumming was from the Episcopal Church and accepted a position as chaplain of the 3rd Michigan Infantry on May 21st, 1861. He did not remain the chaplain for long, resigning his position in September of 1862. Read about him here, you will need to scroll to the “Episcopal Church”.

May 16th

Today the firemen of Grand Rapids paid the regiment a visit. They looked quite neat in their uniforms as they paraded up and down the race courses. They had a very pretty banner.

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Who’s Matthew Baird?

May 10th

Today Company __  performed the melancholy duty of consigning one of its members to the tomb. He died last evening at 8 o’clock from an attack of brain fever. How little he thought his comrades would be called upon so soon to lay the last tribute to humanity, but life is fleeting.  And though he will never see the contest of armies, nor see the clash of arms. Yet we may hope he is engaging  a far better scene where fierce contentions and disabling wars are unknown.

Joseph Proper was the first soldier to die at Cantonment Anderson in Grand Rapids, MI and the U.S. Army buried him at Oakhill Cemetery on land they purchased for the purpose. A dedication ceremony was held on May 7th, 2011. Read more about the event here.

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Who’s Matthew Baird?

May 9th in Baird's Diary. HCP Collection.

May 9th

News being received that the President would not accept any more three months volunteers. The regiment today was disbanded and reorganized and the men enlisted for three years. So great many of the men being disappointed in their expectations returned home leaving our ranks rather thinner  than usual. There are enough however left to keep up a respectable appearance as a regiment.

President Lincoln’s proclamation was issued on May 3rd, 1861 asking volunteers to enlist for a period of three years. The full text of this document is found here.

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Who’s Matthew Baird?

May 7th

The following is the rule of the camp. At sunrise a small brass field piece is fired when every boy is expected to be out of bed. The drum immediately beats for roll call. The boys are then dismissed to mark. The drum then beats for drill, which is continued until breakfast. Breakfast at 7 o’clock A.M. Sick list is called at 8 o’clock A.M. At 9 A.M. the drum beats and the guard is formed (so many men are detailed from each company). The guard is formed into three [smudged]. The guard stands 24 hours, each relief is on 2 hours and 4 off making 8 hours in 24 for each relief. At 10 o’clock A.M. the drum beats for drill again. Drill till noon. At 2 P.M. on drill again, and drill till about 4 o’clock, at 5 the drum beats for evening parade and the regiment is formed in line. At 6 ½ o’clock the drum beats for supper. At sundown the cannon is again fired and roll is called. At 9 P.M. the tattoos is beat again and every boy is required to be in bed again.

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Who’s Matthew Baird?

May 5th

Sabbath. Notwithstanding today is sabbath carpenters are being detailed and are busily engaged in constructing and repairing quarters for the soldiers. But little drilling has been done. The day was spent in idleness by most of the men.

May 6th

All Healing Salve recipe. HCP Collection

Today our company elected the officers, wrote a letter home and got leaf [leave] of absence and went down to the city [Grand Rapids, MI]. This morning came on the sick list with sore eyes. The dust in marching to camp injured them very much. The surgeon gave me medicine to apply to my eyes.

Baird was often ill. As the diary indicates, and letters home, throughout the Civil War he was susceptible to illness. He often speaks of being ill, or recovering from illness or having spent time in the infirmary. The photo shows a recipe for All Healing Salve.  The recipe was made by Mrs. J. Burniston of Washington D.C. and was written out for Matthew Baird on Sept. 16, 1866.

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Who’s Matthew Baird?

May 4th

Today we drilled in the room and an on a small green west of Grand River till about 3 o’clock P.M. when all the companies present formed on ____ street and marched out to the fair ground two miles south of the city. The fair ground farms are paved and the house upon it which is a large, narrow, semicircular building forms our barracks. There are three rows of bunks and on each side placed one above another calculated to accommodate four persons. Today we ate our first camp meal in a large shedlike building, which is being constructed, and which when done will accommodate the entire regiment. Eight of our men were detailed on guard immediately on arriving at camp.

The 3rd Michigan was quartered at Cantonment Anderson, fairgrounds at Jefferson Ave. and Hall Street, which was 2 miles south of the city of Grand Rapids, MI at that time. It was later referred to as Camp Kellogg or Camp Lee. The site was abandoned after 1861. See more of the site history here.


Baird is listed as 5′ 8″ tall, with light hair and a light complexion and blue eyes on a Disability Certificate dated 1861 held at the National Archives.

May 3

Today the Company passed the medical examination with the exception of one or two. Our heights were also taken. We drilled some in a large room below the National and were quartered in a large room on _____ street.

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Who’s Matthew Baird?

May 1st

Bade my friends farewell and repaired to the place of rendezvous _ at the place of enlistment.

May 2nd

Kenfield home in Hastings, MI. HCP Collection

“The Company was mustered at the Kenfield House, Hastings, where more teams and wagons ready to convey it to Grand Rapids. We started about 7 ½ o’clock in the morning and proceeded to the ______   House where we took dinner on the green in front of the house. [Not legible] then determined by the Officers to proceed to Ada and go by rail to Grand Rapids, which we did and arrived at the above place about 6 o’clock p.m. We were quartered at the National and Barnum House at night.”

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Who’s Matthew Baird?