Maggie Bowker, HCP Collection

Baird’s letter to his girlfriend Maggie has a decidedly romantic tone, and perhaps references their future union. This letter also indicates when he received the image posted on this page.

Camp Kellogg
Dec. 7th, 1862

My own Maggie,

I now sit down to answer your letter of Nov. 26th containing your likeness. I received it the next evening after my last letter to you. I thank you very much for your picture, and you may be Sure I was glad to get it before we left for the south. You need make no apology on account of the picture, for it is not only a good one, but is a fac-Similie of “Maggie”. There is only one objection I can find with it, if you will permit me to make it, and that is, it would have looked better if you had worn your hair long. O, Maggie you will let your hair grow out, for my Sake, won’t you? What will more beautifully, or more chastely adorn a woman than a luxuriant head of hair. I do not wish to dictate, for it is your privilege to wear your hair as you please but do promise me you will do this for me. By the way Maggie, you haven’t Sent me the lock of hair I asked you for.

My dear girl, I would gladly comply with your little request if it were in my power to do so, but the fact is our regiment hasn’t been paid off yet, and I have been informed that we will not get our pay till we get to Washington. And I have but little money by one at present not near the amount you desire. If we get our pay soon after we get to Washington, as we are assured we will, I will try and send you the Sum. I will do any thing I can to assist you in getting ready for that little event. Indeed, I believe I have an interest in that event too, hav’nt I? I can assure you I wish it were nearer than the prospect at present will soon admit.

We will probably bid adieu to Camp Kellogg and Michigan this week. Our horses will be shipped Wednesday, and we will follow as soon as we can.

I would send you my picture, as you desire, but we haven’t got all our equipment yet, especially our arms, but I can get it with what I have and Send it.

Maggie, it is very cold, and so much confusion in the tent, that I am compelled to close. I thank you for the kiss and with this, return another. Give my respects to Miss Miller and maybe I will write by’ n by. Be a good girl while I am gone and take good care of yourself. I am well.

I remain Maggie,

Your Own,

Matthew

Michigan’s Governor, Austin Blair toured the camp of the 6th Michigan Cavalry and stated that the troops would not be paid before reaching Washington, as Baird reports above. According to the account of Edwin R. Havens of the 7th Michigan Cavalry, many men refused to march without being paid. To read the entire diary held by Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections, click here.

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Who’s Matthew Baird?

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