This letter from Baird is likely missing a page; the missive ends abruptly and Baird is typically scrupulous about the proper sign off. A search for the additional page was fruitless, but the letter is still interesting, especially Baird’s description of his illness and his overall appearance.

Henry Ward, mentioned in the letter below, enlisted 1862 in Barry County at the age of 19. He was promoted to Corporal in 1864 and Sergeant in 1865 prior to mustering out at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He died May 7, 1923 and is buried in Greenwood cemetery, Petoskey, Michigan. His obituary can be found here.


Stevensburg, Va.
Tuesday, Jan. 26th ‘64

My dear Maggie,

I had the pleasure yesterday of reading your kind letter of the 10th & 16th. They do not find me altogether well, however; for I have one of the worst Colds I ever had and I can find time for nothing else hardly but to Sneeze & blow my nose. Added to this I have an exceedingly sore mouth, so that I can Scarecely eat as talk and it is always worse just at night. I have just been reading the news to the boys and my mouth feels like a blister. I do not know the cause of it. Seems all of the boys have been troubled with it. It affords me much pleasure to know that your health remains so good amid so much labor, but The “pinin away” to such an extent, is really astonishing. I [illegible] Mary doesn’t very often reach that figure.

That little incident you mentioned, is quite fresh in my memory. That “push” was “Slight” indeed; but I would’nt mind taking another walk to Peirland [sp], I believe I told you in a former letter that Mary had sent me her photograph. She expressed a great desire to See “Maggie” and indeed, I would not mind seeing her myself. Do you Suppose Maggie would invite me to a Sleigh ride if I were at home now? (It is leap year you know.)

I receive Mr. Ward’s compliments with much pleasure, & you may assure him of my respects, and tell him I will try & write a few lines with Henry when I see him again. I saw him yesterday, but it was before I got your letters. He is quite well! Well Maggie, I am going to have Some photographs taken pretty Soon & then I will send you one, though I have not changed much in the past year. At least in general appearance, I think, now that I am fleshier than when at home and my face is much fuller. I believe there is a likeness due from you to me; didn’t you promise me one? I can assure you it would be a pleasure to have one. But I will change the Subject; You know a great that a great many of the old troops are reenlisting, and it has been rumored that our regiment will be requested to reenlist. Do you think it would be advisable for me to do so? Now I do not know that the regiment will have the change but you can tell me your mind. No, Maggie, my wages were not increased on account of my being here. I am only detailed; and detailed men are never paid more than they receive at their companies. My position here is just the Same it was at my company.

I frankly suggest confess that I do not like my new companions as well I did my old. It may be the fault is in me.


Who’s Matthew Baird?