As Baird states in this letter, his messages home had become less frequent due to his stints on picket duty.

The letter becomes difficult to read by the end and several of you were able to help us with the transcription. Thank you Debra Wisniewski!

Chantilla, Va
May 12, 1863

Can you decipher the missing words?

Can you decipher the missing words?

My Own Maggie,

Your welcome note of the 2nd reached me several days ago, and day before yesterday I undertook to answer it, but I had nothing but a pencil to write with and my letter was such a miserable thing, that I was ashamed to send it, So I have not answered your letter till to-day. I am sorry my letters are so irregular now, but it is on account of our being so far removed from any Mail route.

You see we are out on picket nearly all of the time, and consequently we have had but little chance to send letters out. I have managed, however, to Send you one each week, but on account of the irregularity of the mail they have not reached you. But I trust you have heard from me ere this however. I well know how you feel when my letters are So long delayed, but you mustn’t think that I have forgotten you, neither must you worry on account of my health, it was never better than it is now. And I feel very much in hopes that it will remain good. The kind of life we lead here is just suited to my temperament. We have a dash outside of the lines, occasionally, and, altogether, the times we have here are rather interesting than otherwise.

We are out on picket at this place for three days. This morning before we had got our breakfast, Some six or eight rebels came right in onto one of our pickets, the picket fired on them and they skedaddled, the reserve were soon in the Saddle, and out we went after them but they had got the start of us and escaped without our getting a single shot at them.

We expected to have been relieved from picket duty the tenth, but we are still here, and it is rumored that we are to remain here thirty days to come, but it is only a rumor, there is nothing certain about it.

I wish it were so that I come home and bear you company while you[r] parents are absent. But many long days must elapse ere we can see each other again. Keep up a good heart and all will be well.

Johnn and Jake send their regards, Jake wants you to write, Remember me to all friends, with My especial regards to “Cousin.”

Hoping you will have success in your Summer’s undertaking, and in all the pursuits of life, I will close, remaining, as ever

Your Own,


Who’s Matthew Baird?