First page of Tousley's letter. HCP Collection.

Camp Michigan Feb 23/62

Dear Friend Matthew I received your letter A few minutes ago and now proceed to answer it. It found me well and tough hoping these few lines will find you the same I am very glad to hear that you are getting better but it will be A great while yet I fear before we shall see you again in camp I Rec’d A letter from Dwane last Tuesday he is gaining slowly but I hope to se him in the Army once more I carried the enclosed letter you sent to lieutenant Crawford myself, he was glad to hear from you and also to hear that you had got the clothes that were sent to you well Matthew as I spoke of sending you some stamps in my last letter I will explain myself here. The letter was written in A hurry and I forgot to put them in the letter until it was to late but however I will sent them this time and you need not think of paying me for them for I have more stamps than I shall use before next payday the Boys are all well that are here But there has one more gone home on A furlough that is Tully he went from here day before yesterday morning I do not know as I have any more news to write at present this from your friend Dwight Tousley Co E
it is time for Dress parade and I must stop for this time

Levi M. Tully, mentioned above, was embroiled in quite the saga after he went on his furlough. You can read his involved tale by clicking here.


Who’s Matthew Baird?

First page of Deits' letter. HCP Collection.

Head Quarters 104th Regt Penn.
Carvars Barracks Meridian Hill
Washington D.C.

Feb. the 17th 1862

Kind & respected Friend

I take this opportunity to write you a few lines to let you know how I am & where I am. As you will see by this I have not got to Port Royal yet & the prospect is not verry good for getting there verry soon if ever. When I got to Washington I was sent to Gen. Caseys Office & he sent me here. I am in a Pennsylvania regiment & they are quartered in barracks which are verry Comfortable they are on meridian Hill same place where my regt camped when we first got to Washington & in sight of the Hospital where I was in October. I shal get a lot of Clothing today. I shal stay here for the present & after a spell I will get a pass to town & go to the Quarter Master Generals office & see if I can get a pass to go to my regiment & if I can’t do it I will content myself to stay in this regt. This regiment is in a brigade of four thousand men under the command of Gen. Casey the Colonel of this regt acting Brigadier there are two Penv. regts here one New York regt & one Maine regt. The barrack ar in the form of a hollow square of six or seven acres  Each Company has a building by its self  I think I shall do well enough to stay here, the boys all seems to think that this brigade will not leave here at all I don’t think any more to write now but I will write to you again after a while when I get a little more regulated  No more at present So good bye This from your friend and well wisher  Amasa H Deits

P.S. I will write a little more for I have not done verry well this time I have not got a verry good place to write & so you must Excuse my poor writing  I hope you will get over your lameness before long so that you can help yourself again  I expect that there will be some letters there for me after a few days & I should like to have them down here, if you could have your ward master see the Post master and have him forward them to me I would be glad if you could do that the directions will be as follows Amasa H. Deits Co. J. 104th Regt Penn. Vols. Carvers Barracks Meridian Hill Washington D.C., I suppose that there will be a couple there for me before long  No more this time yours

Amasa H. Deits

Give my respects to all the boys


Amasa H. Deits was from Kent County and enlisted in 8th Michigan Infantry, Co. H on September 5th, 1861. He was assigned to  Co. I, 104th Pennsylvania Infantry sometime after October 1861. He likely met Baird when they were both in the hospital, which he mentions in the letter. He lived out the term of his service in the 104th Pennsylvania and was discharged due to wounds on September 30th, 1864 and lived in Charlevoix, Michigan for a time.  He eventually located to Hesperia in Oceana County, Michigan where he purchased property in 1877 and was a founding member of a local G.A.R. chapter in 1879. He was drawing a pension of $4.00 per month in 1883. He married his wife Rhobia in 1874 and they had three children together, only one of which was living by 1900, their daughter Idaline. Amasa passed away in 1907 and is buried in the West Hesperia Cemetery in Oceana County, Michigan, click here for an image of his tombstone.

Baird has received letters from Dwight Tousley previously, to read more about him and his brother Duane, click here. He mentions many other fellow soldiers in this letter, links to more information have been placed at their names.

Camp Michigan, Feb. the 12th, 1862

Friend Matthew. I have just Rec’d you letter of the tenth Inst and was very sorry to hear such news from you for I had almost began to look for you here but as that cannot be I will do all I can for you at least for I know how to pity a poor inmate of the Hospital especialy at Annapolis for I got tired of it while I was there but I will dwell on this no longer. I went Immediately to the captain after reading your letter & found that your clothes had been overlooked after being packed up ready to send to you untill yesterday morning when the captain started them to Annapolis I suppose you will receive them before this reaches you the captain was sorry to hear that you were sick again after being detailed in the hospital And so were the boys. Mr Ward  was very well satisfied with his tickets but said he did not look for any thing of the kind until he see you again you had not need of sending those tickets to me for remailing your letters for the quarter more than paid me for all the letters I have sent you excuse my blunders if you please I meant to mention the quarter that I got of Drake but I know you will excuse me when I tell you I wrote this in an awful hurry to get it done before Dress parade so that I can send it on its errand early in the morning W.K. Ferris had gone home before I came from Annapolis, I must tell you about our new guns we have got the Austrian

.54 Caliber Lorenz Pattern Austrian Rifle, Mfg. 1860. Supposedly carried during the Civil War. HCP Collection

Rifles and they will do good shooting from 120 rods to A half mile Duane and Andrew Killpatrick  have gone home on A furlough of 30 days the rest of the boys are all well I believe but Abrams Eddy he is in the Hospital at Alexandria you will find enclosed some stamps to mail letter to me with Well Matthew I guess I have written all the news but forgot to tell you how I am getting as tough as A Bear again and weigh the same as I did last summer Well Matthew I will not tire you by writing any more this time but if there is anything more I can do for you please mention it and I will attend to it immediately this from your ever faithful friend   Dwight Tousley

Write soon and let me know Whether you have received your clothes or not

Abrams Eddy was from Clinton County and enlisted at the same time as Baird. He was discharged in October 1862 in Edward’s Ferry, Maryland. To see an image of his tombstone, click here.


Who’s Matthew Baird?

Last pages of Kilpatrick's letter. HCP Collection.

To see a photo of this letter’s author and an image of his grave, click here.

Camp Mich Feb the 12

Friend Matthew Baird

It is with pleasure that I take up my pen to adress you  A few lines to let you know how I get along  I am well and enjoying good health and wish that you were the same  I am very sory to here that you are still in so bad A situation in helth. Andrew Kilpatrick like yours self has ben sick all fall and winter he went home on A furlow for 30 days on the 30 of last month. I advised him not to come till he gets better. dear friend I would advise you to get A furlow or A discharge and as soone as you are able to stand the ride home to do so  I know that you do not want A discharge, for you used to tell us what your mind was in that respect. do not be offended at this advise which I have given you, you have done your duty faithfully as A soldier of the union and being deprived of good health you should at once get discharged that is as soone as practicable  there is now use of your throwing away your valuable life, but I feel that I am advising one that would like to be with us but let us remember that all is for the best  let us pute our trust in God and all will  be well with us. dear Brother it is still my determination to prove faithful to the greatest and best causes that we have to do while on earth. I hope you still Trust in that arm that is able to save you and dear Friend if we never mete here again on Earth let us while live here on Earth live so as to mete in Heaven. as it is about time for dres parade I will have to close Pray for Me and I will do the same by you and may God bless you and keepe you from all harm is the Prayer of A Friend              James Kilpatrick

To Matthew Baird

Ps dear sir you will excuse my bad scollaship Yours truly           Js Kilpatrick

James Kilpatrick was from Barry County and enlisted in Co. E of the 3rd Michigan at the same time as Baird. He was discharged for disability at Upton’s Hill, Virginia on September 30th, 1862. He  passed away in 1899 and was buried in Bliss Township, Emmet County, MI. To learn more about James and his younger brother Andrew, mentioned in the letter, click here.


Who’s Matthew Baird?

Camp Michigan Jan 10/62

Mr. Baird sir I received A letter to day from you and read it with pleasure it found me as well as could be expected. I have been able to do duty ever since I came to camp and feel first rate at present. The rest of the boys are all well but Duane and ralph hanly [Henly]  Duane is not any better than He was when I came to camp he cannot use his right much yet and I do not think he will get any better this winter I was waiting for A letter from you so that I would would know whether you was coming out here or not so I could send you letters to you. I got one for you last week and it had almost slipped my mind until last night when I happened to find it in my portfolio our mail comes once A week now I guess for we have had no mail for three day or more until to day besides four more to send you which you will please acknowledge the receipt of in your next it is very wet and muddy here now the mud is shoe deep in the streets of the camp. We were called out Christmas morning at four oclock and marched out to Pohick Church where it is was reported the rebels were building A battery but when we got there we could not find a single secesh in A mile of there and finally marched back to camp at night. I do not know as I have any more news to write at present, please excuse all mistakes and poor writing. this from your friend Dwight Tousley.

P.S. If you want your description list please let me know in your next



Ralph Hanly enlisted at the same time, and was in the same company, as Baird and was 19 years of age in May 1861. He ended his career in 1865 after serving in Co. E of the Fifth Michigan Infantry. To learn more about him, follow the link at his name above.


Who’s Matthew Baird?

Last page of Baird's letter. HCP Collection.

Baird writes home to his mother the day after Christmas. He writes to her regarding their celebration, including what they ate and how the mess hall was decorated. For a peek at mess hall from a nearby hospital, click here.

U.S. General Hospital
Annapolis, Dec. 26th 1861

My Dear Mother, it is sometime since I wrote to you, and seeing Christmas was over and as we have had a good time, I thought I would write you a few lines. I hope Christmas has passed off merrily and happy with you all at home. Though there are many homes that have not had so many bright and joyous faces around the Christmas circle as there was last year. Still I hope those left at home are none the less bright and cheerful. Though our country is distracted by the fearful struggle, and all the evils of civil war, besides being threatened with war with one of the greatest powers on earth still I see no reason why we should not have a merry good time on that day of joy and gladness – Merry Christmas. Indeed yesterday was a day of merriment and a bright spot in the path of the weary-way-worn soldier. In the morning there was no small [illegible] among the cooks and hospital attendants. Several wagon loads of roast turkey, baked ham, oyster pies and pies of all kinds besides a great many other good things came in and when noon came round we had a capital princely dinner thanks to the good and loyal ladies of Annapolis.

The table was long and well filled with all the good things of the land (it seems war has not cannoned the whole yet and well crowded with hungry men, but after they were all done there was enough left for as many more. On each end of the table there was of course a fine Christmas tree, filled with rich yellow oranges with a nice miniature Star-Spangled-banner on the top of each tree. After dinner was over, a few appropriate remarks were made by a gentleman and lady in the course of which they lady urged upon the men the necessity of abstaining from all kinds of liquor the using of all profane language and everything ungentlemanly. She said her only child was a soldier. (of course in the Union army). She had thus given up all to the cause of her country. She very particularly wished us to remember our Christmas dinner to our friends at home, and to tell them we had not only friends at home, but we had friends here. The soldiers she said would find friends everywhere. The citizens of Annapolis welcomed the Union troops as friends, friends of liberty.

I tell you we had a grand good time. Now you must not think that because I am here yet that I am sick for I am not, and am as eager to go to any regiment as can be, but I have the notions of others. Dear Mother a happy New Year to you, Goodbye

Who’s Matthew Baird?



Dec. 24th

By the lively movements around the hospital toward evening today one would think merry Christmas was approaching in good earnest, even for the weary way – worn soldier. Pies and cakes in abundance, roast turkeys, and baked ham and numerous other good things, and substantial came in by wagon. Something to make glad the heart and satisfy the [illegible]ing hungry stomach of the soldier. Something to remind one of its joys and seasons of merriment. It reminded us too of the loved ones there and the annual gathering, the circle round the old hearth-stone. The meeting of old friends and…

Baird trails off at the end of this diary entry and never picks up the thread. He does not write on Christmas Day, presumably to enjoy the festivities around the hospital ward. His mother receives a letter written on December 26th describing the scene.

Happy Holidays!


Who’s Matthew Baird?


This entry was difficult to transcribe...are we right?

Dec. 23rd

Today has been wet and stormy with a slight sprinkling of snow accompanying the rain. So without troubling myself about out-door affairs I confined myself within the cosy and comfortable quarters of my room and busied myself with writing letters reading the news. The day closed with in [illegible] cold.


Who’s Matthew Baird?

Dec. 22nd

Sabbath. This forenoon I wrote a letter and [illegible] I went to church for the first time since I came here. The 7th Rhode Island Battery arrived to-day, from Washington, with cannon, horses, ammunition and equipments. The weather has been pretty cold for a day or two.

Unfortunately, the 7th Rhode Island Battery does not appear to exist, so Baird was obviously mistaken. The likely unit, they arrived in Annapolis December 22nd and were attached to Burnside’s Expedition, was Battery F, 1st Regiment Rhode Island Light Artillery.


Who’s Matthew Baird?

Dec. 21st

Vessels continue to arrive. The Sherman steamer arrived, soon after which a very sad accident occurred on board. The engine had not quite stoped its motion, when one of the engineers steped around to see that everything was right about the machinery, and unthinking he steped too near, the shaft to the engine struck him just above the ankle, crushing the bone almost entirely through, and mangling the flesh dreadfully. He was brought to the hospital this afternoon, when the poor fellow had to submit to an amputation. I witnessed the operation, though secretly I must confess.

Another accident occurred on the [purposely blank], by [illegible] falling from a mast which he was cleaning, he struck on the deck, flat on his back. It is said he struck a long two inch plank, which was split from one end to the other by the colision. It is thought he will not live.


Who’s Matthew Baird?