By February 1862, the letters to Baird have become sporadic and he does not appear to have written home frequently. In March 1862, he is still listed as ill and located at the hospital in Annapolis, Maryland.

Baird was finally discharged for disability on April 19, 1862. He was discharged for Irritatio Spinalis, or “irritation of the spine,” in Virginia and returned home to recuperate. His discharge papers, located at the National Archives, list him as 5’ 8” tall with a light complexion and light hair with blue eyes. He is listed as a farmer prior to enlisting in the service. The discharge papers indicate that Baird had been unfit for duty for 60 days and that he “was taken to General Hospital in the month of October [1861] since which time I know nothing of him.”

He reenlists on August 13, 1862 in the 6th Michigan Cavalry, Co. K. His letters from that time show that he went back to the east coast and spent all of 1863, 1864 and 1865 in various conflicts. He served as a horse farrier during his time in the 6th Michigan Cavalry. 

During his recuperation, Baird likely met the woman who would later be his first wife, Maggie Bowker. His first letter to her after he returns to the service is September 18, 1862. They continue to correspond throughout his second enlistment and marry sometime after his discharge in 1865 and before July 15, 1870.

Baird’s story will resume later this year.

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Who’s Matthew Baird?

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