Camp Michigan Dec 18  1861

Mr Baird Sir I arrived in camp the 16th all right with the exception of the galling my feet coming from Washington but getting better now I found the boys all well but Duane. He is not getting any better of the rheumatism yet I think they will send him to the Hospital in Georgetown or Washington. We had a good time from Annapolis to Washington and took dinner at the soldiers retreat and got our passes to the regiments between one and two in the afternoon. I found the regiment about two miles from fort Lyon in the woods building A log city for winter quarters the 17th there was two of the New Jersey cavalry killed on the picket lines by the rebels and yesterday morning some of the rebel cavalry about ten or twelve made their appearance riding towards the lines but they found so warm a reception by the michigan fifth that they were glad to retreat after firing their carbines which took a button from one mans clothes and cut his shirt close to his body but he remained unhurt in the night last night there was two regiments of Infantry and some cavalry and two pieces of artillery passed our camp toward the picket line they have not found anything to do as yet for I have not heard any firing in that direction since they went out by here. You wanted I should tell about the tents and clothing when I wrote the tents are large round tents with a small stove in the centre which makes it very comfortable they have for clothes Black overcoats and blue pants an some socks and shoes but no under coats yet. the second have got nice blue dress coats and they look first rate. There was a letter come for you yesterday and I will send it with this. General Richardson  is building his house upon the hill so that he can look down upon us and see what is A going on in camp. Part of our boys were out on picket and came in last night they did not get troubled on their posts at all and came in all right. the boys are anxious to get A chance at the rebels but it does not look much like advancing this way or they would not take the trouble to build winter quarters here. I will write A few lines to Mr Locke just to let him know where his regiment is if you will please to hand it to him. I will write it sheet and you can cut it off this from your friend and fellow soldier  Dwight Tousley

Mr. Locke Sir your regiment the first New Jersey cavalry are in camp near fort Lyon below Alexandria. they lost two men on picket the 17th one was a Lieutenant and the other A private. I was writing to Mr Baird and I thought I would let you know where they were for it might save you A considerable trouble in finding them if you should wish to go to your regiment I could hardly find A man that knew where my regiment was when I got within two miles. I am well as usual I must slope for my paper is short this from your friend Dwight Tousley

 

This letter was written to Matthew Baird by Dwight Tousley, a fellow infantry soldier in his company. He enlisted in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1861 and died as a result of wounds received in action at North Anna River on May 23rd, 1864. Dwight was the second of three brothers, the “Duane” mentioned above was the oldest and Buell was the youngest. All three served in Company E of the 3rd Michigan Infantry. To read more about the brothers, click here. Tousley was a frequent correspondent of Baird’s while he convalesced.

“Locke” was most likely Thomas H. Locke of the 1st New Jersey Cavalry. He enlisted as a Private on August 27th, 1861.

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Who’s Matthew Baird?

Dec. 2

The past, to my last date, has been a blank to me as far as regards military matters. The 7th Oct. I was taken very sick. The 17th I was conveyed to regiment hospital and the 19th was removed to Georgetown to the Seminary Hospital.

I was detained there four weeks with a heavy fever, and then again, 17th Nov. was removed to this place; U. S. General Hospital, Annapolis, MA. I have been here two weeks today. I forget to say that the 4th Brigade removed from Camp Albany to Fort Lyons  two miles below Alexandria, on the 14th Oct. I have heard nothing definite from the 3rd since I left. They are however in the same camp.

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Civil War Washington  is a wonderful website with a plethora of information on Washington, D.C. during the Civil War. The site contains information about soldiers that were housed in the Seminary Hospital Baird mentions above, and also gives us our first clue to Baird’s ailment – typhoid fever.

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Who’s Matthew Baird?