June 7

This morning the company to which I belong was detailed for guard. The balance of the regimental clothing arrived at camp today and will be distributed tomorrow. Colonel ______ [purposely blank] the United States Mustering officer arrived here today. It is expected the regiment will be mustered into the U.S. Service tomorrow after which we will expect marching orders soon. The morning was foggy and dull but the day closed fine and warm.

June 8

Last night between 9 and 10 o’clock a company of young gentlemen and ladies came unexpectedly into camp and gave us a serenade. They sung the “Star Spangled Banner” and other songs and as the last words of each died on the air, the party was greeted with three hearty cheers from the soldiers. They were beautiful singers and after closing with “Dixie” they were about retiring but the shouts of “Give us the Star Spangled Banner again” called them back to to the platform. They then sung the noble song after which they returned to their carriage and retired amid the shouts of the delighted soldiers.

Today the regiment was mustered into the United States service there were but few that refused to take the oath and all but one or two afterwards repented and took the oath.

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Who’s Matthew Baird?

June 4

Quite an excitement was created among the soldiers on account of the officers refusing to let them go home. A great many however obtained furloughs for three days away. The day has been wet and drizzly in consequence of which but little drilling has been done. There were but few visitors in camp today. Dress parade was short and uninteresting.

June 5

Nothing of importance occurred today except the lowering of the flag at half mast and the firing of a number of guns in honor of Judge Douglas. The regiment made a very fine appearance on dress parade. A rumor has been circulated today that this regiment would soon leave here for Washington. The most of the men seem eager to go.

“Judge Douglas” refers to Stephen A. Douglas (April 23, 1813 – June 3, 1861) a well-known Illinois politician who lost his presidential bid to Abraham Lincoln in 1860. He served as a justice of the Illinois Supreme Court in 1841, where he received the name “Judge”. He may be better known by the nickname “Little Giant” due to his height and his larger than life presence in politics. Douglas died of typhoid fever on June 3, 1861 in Chicago. To read more about his life and see images, click here.

June 6

Nothing of particular interest occurred today. The weather though was fine. Dress parade was attended by quite a number of citizens.

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Who’s Matthew Baird?

June 2

The past week out encampment has been one busy scene. The distribution of clothing and uniforms and exercising in drill have occupied pretty much all of our time. Today we received our arms and went immediately on parade at which time we heard a sermon from our chaplin.

Our encampment seems to be the curiosity of the whole country around us as it is thronged with visitors nearly all the time especially at parade hours.

June 3

Our camp begins to assume quite a military appearance. The most of the men are dressed in full uniform and the bright guns stacked at the respective stakes of each company, with a number of flags flying from the different quarters of the men, make quite a martial appearance. Today the ladies of Grand Rapids presented the regiment with a beautiful banner and also to each man a m[ending] book containing needles, pins, thread, buttons. They also distributed a large number of testaments through the regiment. The banner is pretty costly, the ground work is deep blue with a gilt fringed border. In the center, the arms of the “Republic” with the American Eagle and the words [Baird left blank to record words, but never did] are admirably marked in gilt. The paint of the staff is also gilt from which is suspended two silken cords to which is attached two gilt tassels. Colonel ______ on behalf of the ladies presented the banner to Colonel McConnell preceding which however he made a patriotic speech to which Chaplin Cummings replied in [smudged] of Colonel McConnell. In the presence of the young ladies we presented the banner, our national red, white and blue were admirably combined. An immense crowd of visitors thronged the camp nearly all day and at the presentation almost every available spot from which could be obtained a view was filled. The fifth company has the honor of bearing the regimental flag. After the ceremonies were over, the regiment went on dress parade after which the crowds dispersed and the camp was comparatively quiet again.

Other reliable sources say that this regimental banner was given to the 3rd Michigan on June 4th, not the 3rd as Baird reports. To learn more about this event, details and what the ladies wore, follow this link. The 3rd Michigan left the state on June 13th for Washington, D.C.


May 12th

Today we heard a short sermon from the Rev. Mr. Cummings. He is very aged and his grey hair and wrinkled brow contrasted strangely with the many youthful faces and manly upright forms by which he was surrounded. There was a large attendance of citizens at preaching.

Reverend Dr. Cumming was from the Episcopal Church and accepted a position as chaplain of the 3rd Michigan Infantry on May 21st, 1861. He did not remain the chaplain for long, resigning his position in September of 1862. Read about him here, you will need to scroll to the “Episcopal Church”.

May 16th

Today the firemen of Grand Rapids paid the regiment a visit. They looked quite neat in their uniforms as they paraded up and down the race courses. They had a very pretty banner.

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Who’s Matthew Baird?

May 5th

Sabbath. Notwithstanding today is sabbath carpenters are being detailed and are busily engaged in constructing and repairing quarters for the soldiers. But little drilling has been done. The day was spent in idleness by most of the men.

May 6th

All Healing Salve recipe. HCP Collection

Today our company elected the officers, wrote a letter home and got leaf [leave] of absence and went down to the city [Grand Rapids, MI]. This morning came on the sick list with sore eyes. The dust in marching to camp injured them very much. The surgeon gave me medicine to apply to my eyes.

Baird was often ill. As the diary indicates, and letters home, throughout the Civil War he was susceptible to illness. He often speaks of being ill, or recovering from illness or having spent time in the infirmary. The photo shows a recipe for All Healing Salve.  The recipe was made by Mrs. J. Burniston of Washington D.C. and was written out for Matthew Baird on Sept. 16, 1866.

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Who’s Matthew Baird?

May 4th

Today we drilled in the room and an on a small green west of Grand River till about 3 o’clock P.M. when all the companies present formed on ____ street and marched out to the fair ground two miles south of the city. The fair ground farms are paved and the house upon it which is a large, narrow, semicircular building forms our barracks. There are three rows of bunks and on each side placed one above another calculated to accommodate four persons. Today we ate our first camp meal in a large shedlike building, which is being constructed, and which when done will accommodate the entire regiment. Eight of our men were detailed on guard immediately on arriving at camp.

The 3rd Michigan was quartered at Cantonment Anderson, fairgrounds at Jefferson Ave. and Hall Street, which was 2 miles south of the city of Grand Rapids, MI at that time. It was later referred to as Camp Kellogg or Camp Lee. The site was abandoned after 1861. See more of the site history here.