John C. Dillin’s home, also enlisted in 6th Michigan Cavalry, Co. K, now located at Historic Charlton Park

Matthew Baird re-enlisted as a Corporal in Co. K of the 6th Michigan Cavalry on August 30, 1862 for 3 years. Baird’s enlistment records show he makes his living as a farmer. The unit was organized in Grand Rapids, Michigan and was settled at Camp Kellogg. Camp Kellogg was located in an area now bounded by Union, Lyon, Michigan and Prospect streets in downtown Grand Rapids. Co. K was comprised almost entirely of soldiers from Barry County, Michigan. He even served in the same unit as John C. Dillin, whose home is now at Historic Charlton Park.

Co. K was mustered into service on October 13, 1862, but did not leave Grand Rapids for the East until December 10, 1862. When the men left Grand Rapids, they had horses and equipment, but did not receive their weapons until arriving in D.C. Each company was also assigned the same color horse – A: bays, C: greys, L: sorrels, etc. The 6th Michigan Cavalry, comprised of 1,229 men, made its way to Washington D.C. and was encamped at Meridian Hill until the spring.

Unlike his previous enlistment, Baird spends much less time in the hospital. He spends a couple of months in the hospital in late 1863, but otherwise is always present on all muster rolls, and was even promoted to Sergeant in March 1864. He was apparently thriving in the cavalry until he was captured at the Battle of Trevilian Station on June 11, 1864. He would go on to spend 6 months in Andersonville Prison before being exchanged in Savannah or Charleston in November or December of 1864. He was ill throughout much of the rest of his service and worked as a farrier until his discharge in November of 1865.

After returning to Michigan, he wasted no time in marrying his constant correspondent during the war, Maggie Bowker. They were married March 4, 1866 in Allegan County, Michigan. More of Maggie’s story will be revealed as the letters commence.


Record of Service of Michigan Volunteers in the Civil War, 1861-1865, vol. 36. Published by Ihling Bros & Everard, Kalamazoo, MI. 1905.

History of Allegan and Barry Counties, Michigan, with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Their Prominent Men and Pioneers. Published by D.W. Ensign & Co., Philadelphia, PA. 1880.


Who’s Matthew Baird?