This letter finds Baird still in a dismounted camp outside Alexandria, Virginia. Cavalry soldiers were stationed at dismounted camps when there were no horses to be had until they could be assigned another and return to their unit. There were inherent issues in this system, which you can read more about here.

Identifying “Jeff” and “Cyrus” is not possible with Baird’s scant references. There were several men with the first (or last) name Cyrus living in Hope that Baird mentions above. Copperheads were northerners that wanted to see the end of the war and saw it as unconstitutional, in the most basic terms. The story of the Copperheads is rather more involved and deserving of a read. 

Camp Windham,

Wednesday, Aug 12th 63’

My dear Father,

Though I have written Several letters Since I last heard from home, yet I will try & pen a few lines to-day. I have not been well for Some time & for the last few days I have been quite unwell, though I am Still about. I am Still at the dismounted camp near Alexandria Va. Some of the boys will go out to-morrow I think though I Shall remain here now till I am able to do duty. Jonny Irwin is Still here & like my Self is unwell, with the diarreah. Henry Ward is here also & is rather under weather.

I was fortunate enough to get my pay again to-day for two months, So I am able to Send you another check of $18.00. You will find it enclosed in this. Now when you get this & answer it, I wish you would Send me all the agricultural news you can. What you got for haul, how the hay & wheat crops came out, what is the price of wheat this fall, what is the prospect of the corn crop, & How does the clones in those two lots near Jackson’s do? or did you have to plow it up?

Tell me, too, about the draft, how many were drafted from Hope, who they were & how they take the draft & what do the Copperheads think about the war now? Do they begin to tremble for Jeff? Is Cyrus as flush of Southern patriotism and Sympathy as usual?

Give him my respects, but tell him Southern pride must come down, & that Southern chivalry must Submit to Yankey valor & determination.

The boys have first bought a fine Watermellon, & I shall have to close to help discuss that, So please excuse me further, giving my love to all

And believing me truly,
Your affectionate Son,


Who’s Matthew Baird?