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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Who’s Matthew Baird?

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