November 2011

First page of Baird's letter, HCP Collection.

As Baird’s father’s previous letter implies, Matthew has been sick for some time. The last time he recorded anything in his diary was October 2, 1861. The nature of his illness is not known at this point, but he transferred to many hospitals, as later diary entries will show. Unfortunately, we do not know to whom this missive was written.


General Hospital
Anapolis, Nov. 19th, 1861

Dear Friend,

I presume by this time you think I have quite forgotten you, but when I tell you that I was taken sick only a few days after I wrote my last letter to you, and have been ever since, you will excuse me for not writing before. I was taken sick and laid in my tent over a week. I then went to the regiment hospital and in four days after was conveyed to a hospital in Georgetown, D.C. where I remained four weeks. I left my bed last Wednesday, and yesterday I was brought to this place where I expect to remain untill I have fully recovered my health and strength. I have no doubt you have long been looking for your paper, and the Daguerotype, I have had no opportunity to obtain either. I shall not send you my picture till I am somewhat recruited, or I am thin now it would be only a scare-crow.

As I have been away from my regiment so long I have not much news to send you. But I presume you have already heard of the Success of the late naval expedition.  Our troops in connection with the fleet have taken possession of Port Royal and Beaufort in South Carolina (very important points) besides a portion of the rail-road between Savannah and Charleston. This is the most important news I have to send you. You must, and I know you will be kind enough to excuse me the shortness of this letter, as I have half a score of letters received while sick that remain unanswered. I only wrote two while sick and both of those I wrote home. I write you these few lines, so you will know I have not forgotten you.

Write soon and believe me as ever your Sincere Friend                                                                        Matthew Baird

Anapolis, Maryland


Who’s Matthew Baird?

First page of letter. HCP Collection.

Baird received this letter from his father, George, in November of 1861. As later posts will

show, Baird had been in and out of several hospitals by this time, having taken sick in mid-October 1861. His lingering illness will eventually lead to his discharge in early 1862.

Hope Nov 17th/61

My Dear Son

Yours of the 7 came Duly to hand, we thought that there was something rong as we could not get A letter befor this time from you, your Mother frets About you all the time, if you are not Able to write at any time get some one to write for you, and let us know how you are and just how it is with you, so that I may try and get you home, and will if it takes a farm, you must not flatter us with Anything that is not so, let us know the worst, while you are Away from us you will all ways have out prays for God to help you and give you health. I have just returned from meeting and have had a very good one, you say that you think I ought to write to Uncle Jacob I will try and do so, I suppose he has A very hard time of it, I am very glad to here that your Uncle Matthew is well and has got work in the Navy yard but I cannot see how he can expect us to write to him, when we did not know where to with we raised this year of Buck wheat 21 Bushel you want to know whether the treasure nots passed or not, they did, I wish I could get them as fast as I could pays them, you said you would send more money in your next letter, you must be sure and keep enough to make you comfortable, if property goes, don’t give your self Any trouble About how, if there is Any think rong here we will let you no it, we have just received two letters from Samuel [Baird’s younger brother] he was well when he wrote the last letter, he was then on the March, you can Direction to him the same as we do, to Col, Merrills hors. Co. Camp Benton St. Louis, MO, he has got all of our letters, I give him your Direction in the last letter I wrote to him, we are all well at present I will get Lucys Lightness [likeness?] as soon as I can and send it to you, George Robinson is Married to E.P. Chandlar’s Daughter you must write as soon and as often as you can, take as good care as you can of yourseld and I hope that God will care for you and bless you, your sickness may be all for the nest, be faithful to your trust this is from your Father and friend Geo. W. Baird

Who’s Matthew Baird?