Washington, Feb. 28th, ‘63

My Dear Father,

I received your kind letter of the 23rd and I’m glad to hear you got my money. It is considerable risk to send money by mail now, but Still, it is about as Safe as any way. A portion of our regiment was mustered in for pay to-day, but as a large portion of it is away, it may be Several days before we get it. The rebel General Stuart, a few nights ago, made another raid across the Rappahannock, and Several thousand troop, among them Six companies of the 6th Cavalry, were sent in pursuit, and So we Shall not get our pay untill they return. We Shall expect them in camp every day now.

I Shall not be able to Send you quite as much this payment as I told you in my last letter, as it has become necessary for me to buy a watch (don’t laugh) and I am to pay half this pay day and the other half the next pay day. I am to pay sixteen dollars for it and I have been told by those capable of judging, that is worth twenty, So you see I am doing well enough. I will Send you twelve dollars this time and as much more as I can. I am glad you have concluded not to break up house keeping, for Mary, as it is now, I fear, would not do very well among strangers, and Lucy  would be entirely neglected, and to have the little ones thrown upon the mercy of Strangers would be too bad. And I know of no one in the neighborhood, in whose care I would like to trust the farm.

Under present circumstances you could not let it [farm] out to any one to a good advantage, for help is so scarce that every back will have all they can do to work their own farms. And besides this you have a great deal of loose property of various kinds that you could not possibly sell and, which of course you would have to Sacrifice, I think the very best thing you can do is to Stick to the farm, And though it may be lonely for a while, Still we must consider that there are other homes that are lonely, and that God doeth nothing wrong, let us put our whole trust in him. This promise is that his grace Shall be Sufficient for us. I got a letter from Sammy to-day. He is well, and is doing well, he says he has laid up one hundred and ten dollars, up to the first of last December. His letter was dated Feb.21st and he said he was going to try to send you some money the next Friday, it will probably reach you before this. I will send you some as soon as I can, in the meantime, believe me,

Your Affectionate Son,

Matthew.

 

Mary and Lucy Baird were 15 and 8 respectively at the time of their mother’s death. Another sibling, Thomas, was 13 years old, but would have been useful around the farm.  The care of his daughter’s may account for George Baird’s swift remarriage in October 1863 to Antinet Baker.

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Who’s Matthew Baird?