Washington, D.C.
Tuesday, Oct. 13th ‘63

Respected Friend,

You doubtless think me very negligent in my delaying to answer your letter.

The facts, however, are just these. Your letter reached me at a time when our regiment was doing picket duty out on the front, when constant & excessive duty was required of every man. Four days would Sometimes pass before we would be relieved and often only twenty –four hours would intervene before we would be placed on duty again. Thus, you See, we had but little time to give though, And the few letters written were always in haste & consequently very brief. Then in June came our Falmouth raid of four days & immediately following the Summer Campaign. The excitement and heat of which, excluded almost the possibility of writing. Your letter I kept until the battle of Falling Waters where I lost my horse & my post-folio was in my Saddle pocket. Your letter was lost also. And now at this late date I have pretty much forgotten the contents, in general but think they touched mostly on the opposition with which the defenders of the Republic have not, during the present and past wars, I remember your letter refreshed my mind very much in several points of history, & presented to it ideas of which I had not thought. Weak as was the nation at its birth, formidable as was the foe against which it struggled, cruel as was the internal opposition, in the long contest the Republic became Strong enough to conquer the one & crush the other.

And in the present contest, formidable as is the enemy in the front, and powerful as is the opposition in the rear. I do not know as we have any right to think, to hope, or to believe that we Shall Succeed, that our government will come out more than conquerers.

Every day brings us new evidence of the relaxation of the muscle & Sinew of the rebellion, the failing of its resources, the discouragement of its most hopeful friends. The opposition grows weaker, the ranks of the Union friends grow Stronger, and deeper.

And to-day, we hope, we trust, we believe, will achieved for the country a a greater victory than has been won in either East or West, in the terible Campaigns of the past Summer & that victory will be won at the ballot box. And as the enemies in the field have often been Scattered like chaff before our Armies, May Such a blow, to-day, be dealt, that will Shame and confuse and Scatter the opposition on which the enemies of our country look with So Much difidence, confidence and expectation, And So trusting that the God of battles & Rule of Nations will give to our government the victory, and to the country a Speedy and lasting peace, and with my respects to yourself and family & hoping to hear from you occasionly, I will close,   

Respectfully Yours,
M. Baird

Rev. Silas Bowker

Who’s Matthew Baird?