In this letter, Baird again chides his girlfriend Maggie for not writing to him, but also mentions the recent signing for the Emancipation Proclamation. The proclamation was signed on January 1, 1863 by Lincoln and besides freeing all slaves (despite some limitations), it also allowed for African American men to enlist in service to the country. To read the actual Emancipation Proclamation, click here, it is housed in the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

Washington Jan 7th 1863

Dear Maggie,

I hardly know how to begin this letter. Four long weeks have now elapsed Since we came here and though I wrote you imediately, Still I have heard nothing from you. It seems as though there has been time enough for a reply to reach me, Since then though I may be mistaken. I have waited in painful  Suspense only to be disappointed. Thus far, I have written twice a week, as I promised you. Have none of my letters reached you?

The mail has been dillatory one way or the other. I trust, however, but a few more will pass ere I Shall receive the long expected letter from my Maggie, How much I would love to hear from you! It Seems almost an age Since my eyes have greeted one of your kind letters, and for the past week I have been almost inclined to feel that you nearly forgotten me. But it is’nt So, is it Maggie? Write soon, Maggie, do, and often. Don’t let So many weeks pass again before you write.

I have’nt much news to write now with the exception that we have very cold weather, The ground is frozen very hard. We have been very busy the last few days. Last Saturday we got our horses newly shod, and are now prepared, with the exception of being not yet armed, to take the field. Though on account of the latter failure we shall probably remain in camp for Sometime.

The news, I must confess, is rather more encouraging than Some weeks ago, though it still looks dark. The President’s last proclamation meets my views exactly. The making Soldiers of the colored population, as a part of it, will relieve the country, which has Suffered So much on account of the great demand for recruits for the army.

In my mind there are many “[colored]” who will take up arms for the Sake of liberty. But it is nearly time for “Roll Call” and bed time, and I must close.

I shall write again in a few days and you will not forget me will you? Give my respects to Miss Miller and your parents, and with my devoted love to yourself, I am Still, Maggie,

Your Own,



Who’s Matthew Baird?