In this letter, Baird discusses the Kilpatrick-Dahgren Raid (February 28-March 3, 1864) and its failure to achieve the goals for which it was intended. Click here to learn more about Dahlgren’s death and the story Baird reports near the end of this letter.

Stephensburg, Va.
Monday, March 14th, ‘64

My dear Maggie, I find myself this morning at the beginning of another week and, though I have not received your usual manuscript during the past week, I will try & pen you a few lines. I sat down for that purpose last evening, thinking to spend a while in your company, but there was so much confusion in the tent that I was compelled to defer it. I do not know but I shall fail to interest you this morning for I am not real well. It is nothing more, however, that the result of a cold.

The weather for the last two weeks has been exceedingly changeable. Three days ago we had a tremendous storm. Yesterday it was beautifully warm, and this morning it is just the opposite. Cold & blustery. Some of my old neighbors have enlisted and are now here in the 7th Mich.Cavalry, Robert Kelley, Geo. Robinson, John Chandler, Charles Bergman, & Robinson Norwood, Geo. Robinson was left in Washington however sick. Were you acquainted with Robinson Norwood? He lived at Eben Penocks a great deal of the time. I got a letter from Lizzie yesterday. She tells me that brother Robert is very sick with lung fever. I fear it will go hard with him, for he had a desperate siege of it some years ago.

Kilpatrick’s division has not returned from its raid yet, though it is expected every day. The general lost several of his most valuable officers among them Cap. Dahlgren killed & Lieut. Col. Litchfield prisoner. The rebel authorities, according to their own statements treated Col. Dahlgren barbarously, inhumanly, and they threaten also to hang all the prisoners they took. Some two hundred fell into their hands. I think they will defer hanging. The expedition proved an entire failure as to the object intended to have been accomplished and that too there the treachery of their guide, a colored man employed for the purpose.

I understand the 5th Mich. Lost every fifth man. The 6th have lost only slightly. I sent you by this morning’s mail the Sunday Chronicle, (Washington) of yesterday. I will now close as I wish to write to Eliza. Write soon I wish I could get your letters every week.

The letters from home are far between, at least so they seem to me.

Truly & Sincerely,

Your own,
Hd. Qrs. 2nd Brigade
3rd Division
Cavalry Corps.
Washington, D.C.
Maggie, Croton, Michigan

Who’s Matthew Baird?