6th Michigan Cavalry

James C. Hayward

[This may be the same James Hayward who served in Company K, 3rd Michigan Infantry.]

James C. Hayward was born in August 14, 1821, in Mount Morris, New York, the son of Abijah Hayward and Rachel Allwood.

James married Scottish immigrant Jane McGowen (1826-1897) and they had at least four children: James W. (b. 1854), Marguerette (b. 1858), Charles (b. 1860) and Emma (1861-1942, Mrs. Abel).

By 1850 they were living in Amherst, Lorain County, Ohio and moved on to Michigan between 1854 and 1858. By 1860 James was working as a shingle-maker living with his wife and three children in Nelson, Kent County. (In 1860 there was a deaf farm laborer named Amherst Hayward living with the Vorce or Bouce family in Ionia, Ionia County.)

James enlisted in Company F, 6th Michigan Cavalry on September 8, 1862, at Nelson for 3 years, crediting Nelson, and was mustered on October 13 at Grand Rapids where the regiment was being organized. The 6th remained on duty at Grand Rapids until December 10 when it left for Washington where it participated in the defenses of the capital. He was discharged for disability on April 1, 1863.

He reentered the service (listed as James Haywood) in Company K, 6th Michigan cavalry on February 22, 1864, for three years, and was mustered the same day, and was transferred to Company H, 1st Michigan Cavalry on November 17, 1865. He was discharged at Detroit on April 16, 1866. James eventually returned to western Michigan.

Hayward who was working as a farmer and living with his wife Jane and son Charles in Richland, Montcalm County in 1880. He was living in Michigan in 1880 when he applied for and received a pension (no. 291775) for service in both cavalry regiments.

By 1890 the James Hayward who had served in the 6th Michigan cavalry was living in Home, Montcalm County.

After Jane died he married New York native Mrs. Cynthia Newell Phelps (1828-1902) on August 4, 1897 in Courtland, Kent County.

In 1900 he and Cynthia and her son (?) from her first marriage, James Phelps, were living in Courtland.

James was a widower when he died of old age on June 1, 1905 and was buried in Vinewood cemetery, Edmore, Montcalm County, alongside Jane.

Peter A. Weber UPDATE 13 July 2018

Peter A. Weber was born in 1841 in New York, the son of Rev. William Myers Weber (1803-1853) and Emeline Margaret Talman (1805-1879). 

In 1855 Peter was living with his mother and three siblings and his paternal grandmother in Friendship, Allegany County, New York (his father William is buried in Third Street Cemetery in Friendship). In 1857 Peter moved with his mother and family from Fairfield, Connecticut to Grand Rapids. 

He was, wrote the Grand Rapids Eagle in 1863,

a bright, interesting lad, of about 15 years of age. His gentlemanly bearing, correct deportment, and intelligent activity, commanded more than casual notice from all with whom he came in contact. When, from a praiseworthy ambition to be doing for himself, he sought a clerkship, a situation was offered him in one of our leading houses. Always prompt, attentive, and diligent, he won the high esteem and confidence of his employers. At length, impelled by a restlessness, almost universal among boys, he sought to satisfy an irresistible desire for adventure, by a season “before the mast.” A very short experience, however, sufficed to convince him that a life on the ocean wave was not all his fancy had painted it, and he returned to appreciate in a three-fold degree, the joys and comforts of home and friends. During the two succeeding years, he occupied several positions of honor and trust in our city, making to himself fast friends by the faithful discharge of his duties, and by his courteous address.

Around 1859 Peter was employed as a librarian for a local subscription library. (Peter was succeeded as librarian by Hobart Chipman, son of Dr. Oscar Chipman, who would join the 3rd Michigan Band.) He soon left that job to resume his work as a clerk for J. W. Pierce, and in 1860 he was a clerk living with his mother in Grand Rapids’ 3rd Ward; also living with them was his sister Ann, his maternal grandmother Margaret Talman (b. 1790) and two other elderly Talmans: Harriet (b. 1795) and Thomas (b. 1796).

“In April, 1860,” wrote the Eagle in 1863, Peter “girded himself for the warfare of life, by ratifying his baptismal vows in the solemn rite of confirmation. The five young men who that evening knelt together before the altar, afterwards entered their country's services. Two of them -- [Thomas] Mitchell and Weber -- have already found the ranks marshaled on the starry plains above.”

Peter was 20 years old and living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted with his mother’s consent as Second Corporal in Company A on May 13, 1861.

former cpl of the 3rd Michigan was serving as Major of the 6th Michigan cavalry when he was killed at Falling Waters, MD, on July 14, 1863; source: USAMHI

former cpl of the 3rd Michigan was serving as Major of the 6th Michigan cavalry when he was killed at Falling Waters, MD, on July 14, 1863; source: USAMHI

According to Rebecca Richmond, teenage daughter of William Richmond one of Grand Rapids’ leading citizens and a close friend of Peter’s sister “Lizzie,” Weber came to call on her and her family on June 2. He told Rebecca that he had just enlisted that day and expected to go into camp (Cantonment Anderson at the old fairgrounds south of the city) the following day, and join the Third Michigan then forming in Grand Rapids.

And on June 12, the night before the Regiment left for Washington, Rebecca wrote in her diary that “This evening Mr. [Daniel] Littlefield and friend, Peter Weber, Corporals in the Third, called to bid us good bye. Poor Peter seemed to feel badly enough and I am sure we did too. He will be very much missed from our circle of young people as well as from his home. Should any accident befall him it would be mourned by the whole city, for Peter was widely known.”

A month later Peter wrote to Rebecca, and on July 13 she noted in her diary that Littlefield and Weber “write cheerfully, but express a desire for more active service than the guarding of a bridge [Chain bridge] across the Potomac. It seems to us anxious and waiting ones at home a most insane desire which we hope may not be fulfilled.”

Peter was soon promoted to Sergeant, probably in late July or early August, but remained determined to see “more active service.” Consequently, on August 31 he requested from his commanding officer, Captain Samuel Judd, that he be “transferred from your command to the cavalry Regiment being raised in Michigan by. Colonel F. W. Kellogg. My reason for doing so is that I have had the offer of a commission as second lieutenant in a company of that Regiment; and I believe that in many respects I am better fitted to belong to a cavalry corps than Infantry.”

Captain Judd allowed the transfer, and Weber was discharged in the first week of September of 1861 in order to be transferred to Second Michigan cavalry as Regimental Adjutant, while the regiment was then forming at Detroit. Following his discharge he returned to Grand Rapids, arriving there on September 9. Rebecca noted in her diary on September 10 that “Peter Weber called to see us this evening. He returned from Washington yesterday, having obtained a discharge from the Third Regiment, with a view of entering Colonel Kellogg's cavalry Regiment here as 2nd Lieutenant in one of the companies.”

Peter was commissioned Battalion Adjutant as of September 2, 1861, and mustered on October 2 at Grand Rapids, when the Second cavalry was mustered into service. The regiment left Michigan for St. Louis, Missouri, on November 14, 1861 and was on duty at Benton Barracks in St. Louis through February of 1862. It participated in the siege of New Madrid, Missouri, the siege and capture of Island No. 10 on the Mississippi River, in the siege of Corinth, Mississippi, and was assigned to Louisville in September of 1862. It participated in the battle of Perryville on October 8 and numerous actions in eastern Tennessee and southwestern Virginia through the winter.

Peter served as aide-de-camp on the staff of Colonel Elliott, Second Brigade cavalry Division, from April of 1862 through May and was acting Assistant Adjutant General for the Second Brigade, cavalry Division, from June 21, 1862, on the staff of General Granger through July. Rebecca wrote on July 24, 1862, that “Peter Weber returned yesterday from his Regiment . . . on business, I presume, and has today gone into Detroit.”

Two days later Rebecca wrote that “Lizzie and Peter Weber called here this afternoon. Peter has just returned from Detroit and Kalamazoo, and is to return to the latter place next week to open a recruiting office for the 2nd Mich Cav. He is aid de camp to some general, and ranks as Lieut.” And on July 28, “Peter Weber spent the evening with Mary and me. We enjoyed his call exceedingly.”

On August 6, 1862, Peter was appointed Battalion Adjutant and was mustered out on August 13 in order to be transferred to the Sixth Michigan cavalry. He was promoted and transferred as Captain of Company B, Sixth Michigan cavalry on or about October 9, 1862, and commissioned October 13, at organization of that unit, and was mustered on October 11 at Grand Rapids, crediting Grand Rapids and listing Grand Rapids as his residence.

Peter was promoted Captain and Assistant Adjutant General on April 17, 1863. By the summer of 1863 Peter was (apparently) serving as Major for the Sixth Michigan cavalry, and he distinguished himself in that role during the cavalry’s various actions near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in early July. Peter was in fact serving in that capacity on June 30 when elements of the Michigan cavalry brigade, under the command of Brigadier General George A. Custer, went into action near Hanover, Pennsylvania against elements of General Fitz Lee’s Confederate brigade. The Fifth and Sixth Michigan had just reached Littlestown, Pennsylvania, south and west of Hanover,

shortly after daylight, spending much of the morning resting in town. The Fifth departed first, scouting on a back road near Hanover. When a local man reported Rebels toward Hanover, the Sixth marched on the Littlestown Road. About a mile from their destination, they struck Lee’s troopers, who were deploying to cover Stuart’s left flank.

The Southerners formed for an attack. Colonel Gray of the Sixth Michigan realized that his regiment had little chance against an entire brigade. Forming companies B and F, under Major Peter Weber, into a skirmish line to delay the Rebels, Gray detoured the remaining companies to the northwest, and in the words of a disgruntled sergeant, “was obliged to skedaddle not very creditably.” Twice Lee’s veterans attacked Weber’s squadron and were repulsed by the Northerners, who were armed with Spencer rifles. The Spencer was a .56-caliber weapon, with a seven-shot magazine, or cylindrical tube, that fit into the stock. A squadron of men could deliver firepower beyond their numbers, and the Michiganders raked the Southerners. A third assault settled it, however, as Weber retired, losing approximately 20 men as prisoners. Cut off from their comrades, the squadron did not rejoin the Sixth until the next morning [July 1].

On July 1, Union cavalry forces marched from Hanover to East Berlin where they bivouacked for the night. Early in the morning of July 2 Union General George Meade further concentrated his army (which had begun the day before) near the village of Gettysburg and consequently ordered General Pleasonton, commanding the Union cavalry forces, to bring his troopers to Gettysburg. Near Hunterstown the Sixth Michigan ran into elements of Confederate General Wade Hampton’s brigade. The Sixth chased the rebels into Hunterstown. During the day units of the Sixth clashed with the rebels near the John Felty farm. That night, Kilpatrick’s cavalry division was ordered to march to Two Taverns, just south of Gettysburg, where they arrived just before daybreak on July 3.

Following some skirmishing near Two Taverns, elements of the Michigan Brigade, including the Sixth cavalry, bivouacked for the night. The next day the Brigade headed toward the Gettysburg battlefield and by July 5 Confederates began retreating to Virginia, and the Union cavalry took up the pursuit. On July 10, Union infantry and artillery units found the rebels along the banks of the Potomac stretching from Williamsport to Falling Waters as they sought to cross the river. On July 13 General Meade ordered a reconnaissance for the following day.

As a part of Meade’s reconnaissance in force on July 14, Kilpatrick’s division closed on Williamsport, where it discovered abandoned works and a handful of rearguard troops. During the night, shielded by more heavy rain and the darkness, Lee evacuated his position, crossing the ford at Williamsport and the pontoon bridge at Falling Waters [Maryland]. Most of the Confederates had passed into Virginia by daylight, except for infantry at Falling Waters. Local residents alerted Kilpatrick to the presence of these troops, five miles downstream, and the Union general hurried his division to the location in what an officer described as “a wild ride.”

Custer halted the Michigan Brigade in a woodlot. Beyond the tree line, a large, cultivated field rose to a knoll, where “crescent-shaped” enemy works could be seen. Uncertain of the Rebel strength, Custer instructed Major Peter Weber to advance Companies B and F of the Sixth Michigan, dismounted, into the field as skirmishers. Kilpatrick, however, reined up, briefly studied the works, and countermanded the order, directing Weber to mount the companies and attack., “Gen. Kilpatrick don’t wait for infantry or orders when the rebels are in places as that, retreating across a river,” a staff officer boasted about the general on this day.

Regarded as “the best officer in the regiment,” Weber formed the two companies -- fifty-seven men -- in a column. Emerging from the trees, they crossed the muddy field at a trot. Fortune rode with them for a few minutes as the Southerners mistook them for their own cavalry. Before the alabamians and Tennesseans realized that they were Federals, Weber’s men had plunged into the works, sabers slashing and pistols firing. The surprised confederatesd belonged to Major General Henry Heth’s division and numbered in the hundred. They blasted the horsemen at point-blank range and swung muskets or fence rails. Weber pitched from the saddle, dead; Lieutenant Charles E. Bolza was killed and Lieutenant George Crawford’s leg was shattered, . . . Caught in a vise, the Michiganders never had a chance. Of the fifty-eight officers and men, fifteen were killed, twelve wounded and thirteen captured. “It cost us Some of our Bravest & Best men,” complained a surgeon in the brigade.”

In his official report of August 7, 1863, General Judson Killpatrick, commanding the cavalry division in which Weber served, wrote of the action at Falling Waters

that at 3 o'clock on the morning of the 14th ultimo I learned that the enemy's pickets were retiring to my front. Having been previously ordered to attack at 7 a.m., I was ready to move at once. At daylight I had reached the crest of the hills occupied by the enemy an hour before, and at a few moments before 6 o'clock General Custer drove the rear guard of the enemy into the river at Williamsport. Learning from citizens that a portion of the enemy had retreated in the direction of Falling Waters, I at once moved rapidly for that point, and came up with the rear guard of the enemy at 7.30 a.m., at a point 2 miles distant from Falling Waters. We pressed on, driving them before us, capturing many prisoners and one gun. When within a mile and a half of Falling Waters, the enemy was found in large force, drawn up in line of battle, on the crest of a hill, commanding the road on which I was advancing. His left was protected by earthworks, and his right extended to the woods far on my left. The enemy was, when first seen, in two lines of battle, with arms stacked. Within less than 1,000 yards of this large force, second piece of artillery with its support (consisting of infantry) was captured while attempting to get into position. The gun was taken to the rear.

A portion of the Sixth Michigan Cavalry, seeing only that portion of the enemy behind the earthworks, charged. This charge, led by Major Weber, was the most gallant ever made. At a trot he passed up the hill, received the fire from the whole line, and the next moment rode through and over the earthworks; passed to the right, sabering rebels along the entire line, and returned with a loss of 30 killed, wounded, and missing, including the gallant Major Weber killed.

Shortly after the battle of Gettysburg, Peter had written to his family

in a very happy strain, rejoicing in the merciful Providence which had again preserved him through so many and great dangers. Only those who have near and dear ones within reach of the singing shot and shrieking shell, and enveloped ever and anon, in the ‘great white breaths of the cannon smoke’ -- only those can know of the emotions of joy and thankfulness that swelled the mother's heart, on the happy termination of her agonizing suspense. -- Through the cloud of apprehension which darkened his devoted sister's life, struggled a gleam of hope. That darling brother, her girlhood's constant companion, guardian and champion, would yet return to raise with them, under his own roof-tree, the glad song of deliverance --. Alas! delusive hope! The gleam was but a lightning flash, portending the approaching storm. -- The burden was raised from the mother's heart, only to sink back, a dead weight. Twelve short hours of happy musing over the letter which brought such good tidings -- and then came the telegram.

Were it all of life to live, we might indeed murmur at the decree according to which these most estimable characters, these cherished friends, have,

‘”to the grave gone down.”

The Eagle of July 27 printed a memorial to those men who had recently perished on the fields of battle, in which were given details of the battle at Falling Waters. “Another wave from the rapidly swelling tide of sorrow,” wrote the paper,

has just swept over our city. From a distant battle field came, a few days since, a telegram announcing the death of Major Peter A. Weber, and Lieutenant Charles E. Bolza. They were both members of the 6th Michigan Cavalry, which has gained for itself such an honorable name in the Army of the Potomac. On the 14th instant, this Regiment met, at Falling Waters, Virginia, four Brigades of the enemy, in line of battle, in a very strong position. “Two companies were deployed as skirmishers, while companies B and F, led by Major Weber, made the charge. So sudden and spirited was the dash, that the first Brigade surrendered without firing a shot. The charging squadron moved directly on, and engaged the second Brigade, when the Brigade that had surrender, seized their guns, and then commenced a fearful struggle. Of the 100 who made this charge, only 30 escaped uninjured.” There fell the gallant Weber -- then the gallant Bolza fell, pierced through the heart. Thus two more names are added to the list of Grand Rapids heroes -- a long list -- a glorious list -- but every word of it is the key to some widow's, some orphan's, mother's, or sister's grief. How strange that they should go hand-in-hand! How hard to be obliged to entwine cypress with the laurel wreath! The young men who are the subjects of this tribute, were widely and favorably known to our citizens, having been identified with our business and social circles for several years.

Many years after the war, J. H. Kidd, who served with Peter in the Michigan Brigade under general Custer and who knew Peter well, wrote that Custer had

ordered Weber to dismount his men, advance a line of skirmishers toward the hill and ascertain what he had to encounter. Kilpatrick, however, ordered Weber to remount and charge the hill. At that time no other portion of the regiment had arriverd so as to support the charge.

Weber, knowing no law for a soldier except implicit obedience to orders, first saw his men well closed up, then placed himself at their head and giving the order “Forward,” emerged from the woods into the open field, took the trot until near the top of the slope, close to the earthworks, and then with a shout the little band of less than a hundred men charged right into the midst of ten times their number of veteran troops. The first onset surprised and astonished the enemy, who had mistaken Weber’s force for a squadron of their own cavalry. The audacity of the thing amazed them for a minute, and for a minute only.

Weber, cutting right and left with his saber, and cheering on his men, pierced the first line, but there could be but one result. Recovering from their surprise, the confederate infantry rallied, and seizing their arms, made short work of their daring assailants. In a few minutes, of the three officers in the charge, two -- Weber and Bolza -- lay dead on the field, and the other -- Crawford -- had his leg shattered so it had to be amputated.

On July 18, Lieutenant Colonel Foote of the Sixth Michigan cavalry wrote to his wife, informing her of the recent developments in the Regiment and mentioned in detail the recent deaths of several of his officers.

I am so bewildered [he wrote] with the fatigue and hardships of marches, day and night, and the successive and severe fighting, and more than all, with the grief I suffer for the dead of our Regiment, that I cannot write. Captains Weber and Royce, and Lieutenant Bolza, were killed at Falling Waters -- Captain W., in leading the most brilliant charge on the enemy's works, that was ever performed in this or any other war. His last words to his men were worthy of him: “Follow me, my men. -- words worth the sacrifice of life. Oh! Weber, how can I part with you? the bravest of the brave! I brought the body of Captain Weber from the field, and made every effort to get it to Washington, to be embalmed. I tried to do the same for the body of Captain Royce; and they were brought as far as Harper's Ferry and there buried. Lieutenant Covell has been detailed to get them embalmed and sent home. Captain Weber was appointed Major July 12.

“When the ominous boom of Moultrie's cannon started our patriots to arms,” observed the Eagle on July 27, 1863, “young Weber was among the first to respond to the call for volunteers, enlisting in the glorious Third as private. A companion one day rallying him about his short jacket and lack of title -- ‘Ah, my friend,’ replied he, ‘I have commenced at the lowest round, and one step at a time, I am going up, up, up.’ His subsequent career shows how persevering he was, how true to his watchwords ‘upward and onward’.

Colonel Gray, commanding the Second Michigan cavalry, wrote on August 19 in his official report, that at Falling Waters Weber “was indefatigable in the discharge of every duty. Heroically, he had no fear of danger. Wherever duty called he was ever forward, and to him, more than any other person, am I indebted for aid in the conduct and management of the Regiment. A truer soldier, a more honorable, efficient and accomplished officer, I never knew; and these characteristics and qualities were so displayed during the battle of Gettysburg, as on all other occasions, as to render his name one that deserves particular mention in this report.” J. H. Kidd, who also served in the Custer Brigade with Peter, wrote some years after the war that in his opinion Peter “was a rare and natural soldier, the embodiment of courage and, had death not interrupted his career, must have come near the head of the list of cavalry officers.” Kidd noted elsewhere, that “Weber was a born soldier, fitted by nature and acquirements for much higher rank than any he held.”

Peter’s body was returned to Grand Rapids and his funeral was held at S. Mark’s church on Saturday July 25. At about 3:00 p.m.

the immediate friends, with the relatives, assembled at the residence of the mother of the deceased soldier, on Ransom Street, and escorted the remains to St. Mark's church, at the front entrance of which, they were received by Rev. Dr. Tustin, who preceded the funeral cortege up the center aisle, reciting the sentences of Scripture commencing with, “I am the resurrection and the life” -- the organ accompanying in a plaintive and solemn melody.

The body was enclosed in a rich metallic coffin -- over which the stars and stripes were thrown, and upon them was laid the dead hero's saber; and was placed in front of the Chancel rails, which had also been appropriately festooned with the American flag; and in the rear of the leading desk, were suspended the battle-rent colors of the ever to be remembered “3rd.” An elegant vase of flowers also appeared upon the communion table.

We noticed, in the front pews, and near this portion of the church, General Stephen G. Champlin, formerly of the 3rd; Colonel Byron R. Pierce, now its commander; Colonel A. A. Alger, of the 5th cavalry; Captain Thompson of the 6th cavalry, Captain I. C. Smith, of the 3rd, and Lieutenant S. B. Smith, of the 3rd -- with all of whom the deceased had served -- and Lieutenant Elliott F. Covell, of the 5th cavalry. -- With the exception of the last, all of these officers wounded in their country’s service; and under any other circumstances, than such as were then transpiring, it might have been thought almost presumptuous, in their present condition, to have been out of their rooms. Throughout the large audience, we noticed several other military men, and a number of discharged wounded soldiers.

After the usual services, which were interspersed with music, had been performed, Dr. Tustin preached from the text of Scripture, “I have fought the good fight,” a short but interesting discourse. The choir, consisting of Mrs. Wenham, Mr. N. I. Gallup, Messers R. Smith, Jr., and James H. Willson, then sang ‘The tribute to Ellsworth’, the words aptly improvised for the lamented Weber -- and thus closed the exercises at the church. A long train of carriages followed the body to Fulton Street cemetery, where the church services concluded. The Masonic Order, under the direction of Worthy Master A. J. Rogers, and in the interesting liturgy of that institution, completed the solemn services of the hour -- John W. Champlin, Esq., Senior Warden, pronouncing a beautiful, patriotic, and highly appropriate eulogy, replete with true sentiment, generous thoughts, and loyal references, over the receding remains.

Major Weber, entered the ranks of the Mich 3rd, as a private, in May 1861, as a 3-months volunteer, relinquishing a lucrative clerkship with J. W. Pierce, in order to enlist. When, a few weeks later, the Regiment was informed that no more three months' men would be taken, but that enlistments must be for “3 years, or the war,” he was one of the foremost to step ‘to the front.’ He continued with the 3rd until the then succeeding fall, when he joined the 2nd Michigan Cavalry, and acted in the capacity of Battalion Adjutant until mustered out by general orders, under the act of July 1862 -- having been with the Regiment constantly, and in several skirmishes -- in which he proved himself an able and proficient soldier. Returning to his home in this city, last fall, inducements to enter into the pursuits of private life were offered him, which he declined, and on it being announced that Colonel Kellogg was to get up another cavalry Regiment to be commanded by Colonel Gray, young Weber again entered the service, was appointed Captain of Company B, September 15, 1862, having for his Lieutenants, Warren C. Comstock (who subsequently resigned), and Charles E. Bolza, who also met his death at the same time and place with that of his warmly attached Captain. His subsequent promotion to Majorship, was due to his excellence as a soldier, his devotion to duty, and his ever watchfulness in the performance of detail in camp -- all of which is vouched for to this writer, by his late Lieutenant Colonel (now Colonel) Alger, who speaks of him as “a most brave, true, and reliable officer.”

His widowed mother, to whom he was ever a dutiful and warm-hearted son, and his amiable sister, who loved him as only sisters can love -- will have the poignancy of their grief somewhat assuaged by the knowledge that his young life -- like that of the equally to be lamented, and heroic Bolza -- was offered up at the call of the constituted authorities of the Government, and in defense of its preeminent nationality. In the multitude of remembrances which they will naturally call up from the past, it will be a sad, yet not unprecedented thought, that he died, with his face to the enemy, and on the battle field, shouting to his men the ever to be remembered words, ‘Follow me, my men!’ -- and that his patriotic life-blood, mingled with that of the 100s of others of like promise and hope, has baptized anew the flag of our country, and rededicated its stars and stripes to the saving of a noble and beneficent government.

The loss of such generous and determined spirits as those of Major Weber and Lieutenants Mitchell, Bolza, and Kellogg, Major Ferry, and Captains Church and Judd, are not family but national losses. The example of such lives and deaths, will shed a halo of light around the future pathway of the youth of our land, who will learn to emulate their energy of character, and zealous devotion, and grow wiser and better, in virtue thereof. Therefore it is, that this community does cordially sympathize with the relatives of the noble son who proved the “bravest among the brave,” and one who, with others, sent forth from our daily walks, we had hoped to see safely returned, with the wreath of laurel around a living brow, rather than the perfume of virgin flowers rising from over his lifeless remains.

During a regular meeting of the Grand River Lodge no. 42 (?) held on August 26, at the Masonic Hall in Grand Rapids, passed the following preamble and resolutions:

Whereas, it having pleased the Great Ruler of the universe to remove, by death, our beloved brother mason, Major Peter A. Weber, of the 6th Mich. Cav., who fell while defending the flag and integrity of our country, at the battle of Falling Waters, Va. [sic], on July 14, 1863, we fell it not only our duty but mournful pleasure to bear witness to his worth as a man and a Mason. Therefore,

Resolved, That by the death of Major Weber, the service has lost an able and accomplished officer; society one of its brightest ornaments and our fraternity a friend and brother whose memory will be cherished as one of the brightest pages in their recollections.

Resolved, That we deeply sympathize with his bereaved mother and relatives in their irreparable loss and pray that “He who tempereth the wind to the shorn lamb” will fold His arms of love and protection around them and afford them that consolation which mortals cannot give.

Resolved, That a copy of the above resolutions be presented by the secretary under the seal of the lodge to the mother of our deceased brother, and also that he furnish a copy thereofto each of the city papers for publication. [signed] C. S. Allen, Secretary.

Peter was buried in Fulton cemetery: block 7 lot 8.

In September of 1863 his mother applied for and received a pension (no. 13480). By 1870 she was living in Grand Rapids’ Third Ward (she owned $4500 each of both real estate and personal property).


Walter W. Waite UPDATE 13 July 2018

Walter W. Waite was born on February 16, 1843, in Lagrange County, Indiana, the son of Ohio native Justus Wait (b. 1813) and Submit Flint and stepson of Vermonter Mrs. Matilda Hines Tewksbury (b. 1808). 

Justus married Submit on June 12, 1839 in Lagrange, Indiana. Justus married Matilda Tewksbury on May 5, 1847 in Summit County, Ohio. By 1850 Matilda and her children were living with Justus and his family in Fairfield, DeKalb County, Indiana. One of Matilda’s’ sons was Asahel Tewksbury who would join Company I of the 3rd Michigan in 1861 while his stepbrother Walter would join Company K. Sometime in the early 1850s Justus moved his family to Michigan, settling first in Burr Oak, St. Joseph County, Michigan, and then pushing on to Blendon, Ottawa County. 

By 1860 Walter was a farm laborer living with and/or working for Edward Carrier in Grand Rapids’ 2nd Ward. Justus was living in Blendon, Ottawa County. Next door to Justus’ family lived Wilber Scott who would also enlist in company I, 3rd Michigan.

He stood 6’0” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was 19 years old and possibly living in Blendon, Ottawa County or perhaps in Kent County when he enlisted with his guardian’s consent in Company K on May 13, 1861; he was possibly related to brothers Benjamin, Isaac, John and Thomas Waite all of Company I. According to Alexander French of Company K, sometime in early fall of 1861 Walter discussed buying property from Alex’s brother Zerah in Mecosta County. “one of boys here wants to buy land of [from] you on my recommendation,” Alex wrote. 

I drew him a map of your village as near as I could from memory and he says that if he could get a lot right north of mine that he would pay the gold all within this payment and the next [referring to his army pay?] Now what I want of you is to write and tell me if any of those along north of mine is vacant and if they are tell the lowest figure that you will take for them. He is a boy about my age and he says that he tries to keep his money here that he will spend it sure and if he sends it home there will be nothing sure about finding it when he gets there now. I would like to have you be as easy as you can be with him for he is a poor boy like myself.

If those lots are not vacant tell in your next the nearest to mine that is vacant; tell me something more than just the numbert of the lot and block you know you can tell me where they lay so that I can tell him.

His name is Walter Wait; he is six feet two inches and a half tall. You can depend upon him and most of your money is ready now. Walter was discharged for consumption and rheumatic arthritis on October 21, 1861, at Fort Lyon, Virginia. 

After he was discharged Walter returned to Blendon where he reentered the service in Company B, 6th Michigan Cavalry on September 7, 1862, for 3 years, giving his residence as and crediting Blendon. He was mustered on October 11 at Grand Rapids, where the regiment was being organized. The 6th remained on duty at Grand Rapids from October 13, when it was mustered into service, until December 10 when it left for Washington where it participated in the defenses of the capital until June of 1863. 

The regiment occupied Gettysburg, Pennsylvania briefly on June 28 and while it was engaged at Hanover, Pennsylvania on June 30, Walter was reported missing in action. He may have been taken prisoner although this is unclear. In any case he was listed as absent sick from January of 1865 through June and discharged on July 17, 1865, at Detroit. After the war Walter returned to western Michigan. By 1870 he was working as a laborer and living with his parents in Blendon; also living with them was Thomas Wait who was presumably the son of Isaac and who had also served in the Third Michgian along with his brothers Benjamin, John and Isaac. 

Walter married Michigan native Junia Sophia Payne (1856-1939) on November 18, 1873, in Blendon, Ottawa County, and they had at least three children: Lottie (b. 1874, Mrs. Olds), Eva (b. 1877) and Julia (b. 1879). 

Sometime around 1876 Walter settled in the vicinity of Eden, Mason County and by 1880 he was working as a farmer and living with his wife and three daughters in Eden. He was living in Marble, Mason County in 1883 when he was drawing $6.00 per month for a fractured left thigh (pension no. 126,942, dated February of 1874). He was still living in Marble in 1890 and 1894. By 1900 he and his wife and daughter May Allison and her family were living in Eden, Mason County. 

Walter died of heart disease on July 5, 1905, in Eden, Mason County, and the funeral services were held at the North Eden Evangelical Church, Rev. Hall of the South Custer F.M. church officiating. More than 400 friends and neighbors attended the service. He was buried in Lakeside cemetery, Eden Township.

In late July of 1905 his widow was living in Michigan when she applied for and received a pension (no. 615123).


William R. Sayles - update 5/2/2017

William R. Sayles was born December 22, 1839 in Canada, the son of New York native Elias Sayles Sr. (1803-1897) and Canadian-born Hannah Showers (1808-1872) and stepson of English-born Eliza Ann Wrigley (1819-1885).

The family moved from Canada to Michigan between 1843 and 1846, and by 1850 William was living with his family and attending school with his siblings (including a younger brother John who would enlist in Company G in 1862) in Keene, Ionia County; next door lived Charles and Harrison Soules, both of whom would enlist in Company C in 1861. Nearby lived a cousin, Lyman Sayles, Cyrenius’ son, who would also enlist in the 3rd Michigan.

William farmed for some years in Keene before the war, and in 1860 he was working as a farm laborer and/or living with the Matthew Brown family in Keene; his parents were still living in Keene as well.

William stood 6’1’’ with dark eyes, hair and complexion and was a 23-year-old farmer living in Saranac, Ionia County when he enlisted in Company F on May 13, 1861. He was transferred to Company B on June 12.

There is no further record.

In fact, William may have never left with the 3rd Michigan when it departed Grand Rapids on June 13, 1861.

He married Michigan native Hettie Jane Hunter (d. 1895) on July 14, 1861, and they had at least two children: Charles (b. 1862) and Elroy (1864-1950).

William enlisted as a Private on September 5, 1861, at Marshall, in Company H, 2nd Michigan Cavalry for three years, and was mustered on October 12. He reportedly deserted on March 22, 1863, in Michigan.

Again, there is no further record.

Apparently William eventually enlisted in Company L, 6th Michigan Cavalry at Grand Rapids on January 29, 1864, for 3 years, crediting Keene, Ionia County, and was mustered on January 30. (Both Lyman and John Sayles, also reentered the service in the 6th Michigan Cavalry.)

He joined the Regiment near Stevensburg, Virginia about February 15, and was serving with the wagon train as a teamster from December of 1864 through March of 1865. In June he was on detached service as a teamster through July, and he claimed some years after the war to have been seriously injured by an accident at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in the summer of 1865. (The 6th had been transferred to Fort Leavenworth on June 1 and the veterans and recruits consolidated into the 1st Michigan Cavalry later that month.)

“On or about June 16, 1865,” Sayles testified in 1881, “while on soldier’s duty [with the 6th Cavalry] he was in the act of harnessing a mule to a wagon, the mule becoming scared jumped over the wagon tongue and a rope that was attached to [the] mule’s neck and hub of wagon caught [Sayles] between it and wagon tongue in such a manner as to bend him backwards between the wheel and wagon-box, until assistant wagon-master George Bothwell came to [his] rescue and cut the rope, and from there [Sayles] was sent to hospital.”

And on May 4, 1888, William wrote to Mr. J. C. Black, Pension Commissioner in Washington, that after Lee’s surrender at Appomattox his Regiment “was ordered west and that while in camp at Ft. Leavenworth Kansas,” round June 15, 1865, “I was detailed to drive mules and that (against my own will) and that while in the act of harnessing one of the mules, I was hurt across the back and in the region of the kidney so much so that when I was helped loose that I could not walk or stand on my feet and was injured so that I was sent to [the] convalescent hospital at Fort Leavenworth and remained there about six weeks and was discharged” on August 17, 1865. In fact he was honorably discharged on August 8, 1865, at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

After his discharge, William returned to Michigan and resumed farming first in Polkton, Ottawa County from 1865 to 1870, then in Vergennes, Kent County from 1870 to 1874 (actually living in Lowell village in 1870), in Berlin (Saranac), Ionia County from 1874 to 1876, and in Keene from 1876 to 1881. By 1880 he was working as a farmer and living with Hettie and his two sons in Keene, Ionia County.

By 1888 he was living in Lowell when he wrote to the Pension Bureau on May 4, 1888, continuing his efforts to be granted a pension for his war-related injury. He wrote of how needless his injury had been and yet how much he had suffered ever since.

Now I do not want to find fault but I thought that we should have been discharged after the war closed but was not and the result has been ever since my hurt as I have mentioned I have been impaired so much that I have been a great sufferer ever since and . . . as I grow older I grow worse and I have thought that in time will be unable to perform my labor and now the witnesses that saw the accident are dead as well as all of my company officers with the exception of my first Lieutenant and he was on detached duty at the time. My captain died at Grand Rapids about 4 years ago. Now I do not know as I am entitled to pension or not but Mr. Black if after hearing and reading these few lines you think I had ought to or am entitled to have a pension I wish you would write. I have thought of writing you a great many times for information.

He was eventually granted pension no. 507,485, increased in August of 1902, drawing $12.00 per month.

In 1889 he was probably working as a laborer for Cupples Co. on Coldbrook near Ionia Street in Grand Rapids. By 1890 William was residing at 32 Quimby street in Grand Rapids where he worked for some years as a furniture finisher; he was living in Grand Rapids’ 6th ward in 1894 (as was another civil veteran his brother Elias Sayles Jr.).

William was living in Grand Rapids when he married New York native Mary A. Smith Lovelace on March 21, 1896, in Holland, Ottawa County. Each had been married once before.

William was admitted to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (no. 2928) on September 26, 1899 (no mention made of enlistment in the 3rd Michigan).

William was a widower when he died of “progressive paralysis” at the Home on October 17, 1906, and was buried in Saranac cemetery: lot no. WH-462.

Don George Lovell - update 8/30/2016

Don George Lovell was born on September 13, 1841, in Ionia County, Michigan, the son of Vermonter George Grout Lovell (1814-1901) and possibly Susan (1822-1854).

In 1850 Don (listed as George D.) was living with his parents and siblings in Spring Lake, Ottawa County. That same year there was a 50-year-old Vermont native named Mary Lovell living with and working as a servant for W. D. Foster in Grand Rapids, Kent County. (Foster was married to Fanny Lovell who was probably the sister of Don’s father, George G.) By 1860 Don was a tinner’s (or tinsmith) apprentice working for and/or living with his uncle (?) W. D. Foster, a hardware merchant in Grand Rapids’ 1st Ward. By 1860 his father George was working as a lumberman and living in Spring Lake with three of Don’s siblings: Ellen (b. 1840), Charles P. (1849-1873), and Lewis (b. 1852). By 1864 George G. was serving as Ottawa County treasurer and living in Grand Haven.

Shortly after the battle of first Bull Run, Virginia, on Sunday, July 21, 1861, Don was reported “a little sick” by William Drake, also of Company A. Lovell was a Sergeant and wounded in the hip at Fair Oaks, Virginia, on May 31, 1862; he was soon reported to be getting around on crutches. He was sick in the hospital in July of 1862, reportedly in Washington, but soon returned to the Regiment and was wounded in the groin and right knee on August 29, 1862, at Second Bull Run.

Sometime between September 1 and October 7, Don returned to Grand Rapids where he was promoted and transferred to the Sixth Michigan cavalry on October 7, 1862. He was promoted to Second Lieutenant, commissioned on October 13, 1862, at the organization of that unit, and transferred to Company F, Sixth Michigan cavalry, and was mustered the same day at Grand Rapids, crediting and giving his place of residence as Grand Rapids where the regiment was being organized. He was commissioned a First Lieutenant on May 9, 1863, replacing Lieutenant Batchelder. The Sixth remained on duty at Grand Rapids until December 10 when it left for Washington where it participated in the defenses of the capital until June of 1863. The Sixth occupied Gettysburg, Pennsylvania briefly on June 28 and while it was engaged at Hanover, Pennsylvania on June 30 and participated in the Battle of Gettysburg from July 1-3 as well as in the pursuit of Lee’s forces back into Virginia.

He was serving with the regiment when it participated in the Battle of Brandy Station, Virginia, on June 9, 1863. (This action is considered to have been the largest cavalry engagement during the entire war.) According to J. H. Kidd, also of the Sixth Michigan cavalry, Lovell was in fact “the senior officer present with the regiment” and greatly distinguished himself in the difficult duty of guarding the rear, meeting emergencies as they arose with the characteristic courage and coolness which distinguished him on all occasions on the field of battle.”

Many years later Kidd referred to Lovell as “one of the most dashing and intrepid officers in the brigade. He was always cool and never carried away with excitement under any circumstances. “ Kidd, who was commanding the regiment at that time, also reported that during the action at Buckland Mills, Virginia, on October 19, 1863, Lovell was riding with him. The Sixth cavalry had been ordered by Custer to take a position in the some alongside the Gainesville-Warrenton pike not far from Broad Run.

The Sixth had gone out about 250 or 300 yards and was approaching a fence which divided [a] farm into fields, when Captain . . . Lovell, who was riding by the side of the commanding officer of the regiment, suddenly cried out:
“Major, there is a mounted man in the edge of the woods yonder,” at the same time pointing to a place direclty in front and about 200 yards beyond the fence.
A glance in the direction indicated, revealed the truth of Captain Lovell’s declaration but, recalling what General Custer had said, I replied:
“The general said we might expect some mounted men of the Seventh [Michigan cavalry] from the direction.”
“But the vidette is a rebel,” retorted Lovell, “he is dressed in gray.”
“It can’t be possible,” was the instant reply, and the column kept moving.
Just then. the man in the woods began to ride his horse in a circle.
“Look at that,” said Lovell, “that is a rebel signal; our men don’t do that.”

The Union forces were routed at Buckland Mills (also known as the “Buckland Race”) and were pursued halfway to Gainesville. The Sixth cavalry eventually went into winter quarters near Stevensburg, Virginia, and Don was absent sick in December of 1863 and January of 1864. He was promoted to Captain of Company F in March of 1864, commissioned October 22, 1863, replacing Captain Heyser (or Hyser).

Don was wounded on June 11, 1864, and in early July he returned home to Grand Rapids. According to the Eagle, Lovell was in Grand Rapids “on a visit to his sister, Mrs. W. D. Foster. The captain is one of the gallant officers of [the 6th cavalry] who was quite severely wounded in one of the battles before Richmond and we are pleased to know that he is rapidly recovering from his injury.”

He remained absent wounded through August, but eventually rejoined the Regiment and in November and December of 1864 he was commanding the Third Battalion. In January of 1865 he was detached on a court martial board, and from February through August (and probably through September as well) he was again commanding the Third Battalion.

Don was probably serving with the 6th Cavalry when it participated in Lee’s surrender in April of 1865 and in the Grand Review in Washington on May 23. On June 1 the Sixth was moved to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and consolidated with the First Michigan cavalry later that month. Lovell was commissioned Major on June 21, 1865, and mustered out November 24, 1865, probably at Fort Leavenworth.

Following his discharge from the army Don returned to Grand Rapids where he married New York native Maggie G. Blakeslee on January 17, 1867, and they had at least four children” Fannie F. (b. 1868), a son, Mary (b. 1872) and Nellie (b. 1878).

By 1868-69 Don had resumed his trade as a tinsmith and was residing with his wife at 24 Washington Street in Grand Rapids. In 1870 Don owned some $7000 worth of real estate and was working as a tinsmith and living with his wife and daughter in Grand Rapids’ 3rd Ward; also living with them was Maggie’s mother Mary. That same year George G. Lovell was reported lived with his wife a widow Vermont native Ellen Turner Perkins (1827-1897), two teenage children named Perkins, Ella (b. 1857 in Michigan) and May (b. 1859 in Michigan), both attending school, and an infant named George Lovell (8 months) and Lewis (b. 1852 in Michigan). George was working as a horticulturalist and owned some $6000 worth of real estate and another $2200 in personal property and living with his family in Tallmadge, Ottawa County.

Don and his family left Michigan and by 1872 had settled in Colorado. By 1880 he was working as a stock dealer and living with his wife and children in Colorado Springs, Colorado. In June of 1882 Don was residing in Colorado Springs when he testified in the pension claim of Emery Moon. He eventually moved on to Tacoma, Washington and by 1889 was working as a teamster and living at 743 Tacoma Avenue. The following year he was a deputy U. S. Marshal working at 5 Marketplace and living at N. 8th Street northwest corner of Q Street. He was still a deputy marshal in 1891 and living at 743 Tacoma. In fact he probably lived the rest of his life in Tacoma. By mid-1891 he was Commander for the Grand Army of the Republic Department of Washington and Alaska, and by 1900 was still living in Tacoma.

He was a member of both the Sixth Michigan Cavalry Association and the Old 3rd Infantry Association. In 1870 he applied for and received a pension (no. 103308). He was a member of the First Church of Christ Scientist.

Don died on October 25, 1907, in Tacoma, and was buried Tacoma Cemetery.

In 1907 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 637976).

Charles B. Lewis

Charles B. Lewis was born in 1841 in Medina, Ohio, the son of George (b. 1812) and Clarissa (b. 1814).

Connecticut native George married Ohio-born Clarissa and settled in Ohio where they resided for some years. His family moved to Michigan from Ohio sometime after 1850, and by 1860 Charles was working as an apprentice chair-maker and/or printer and attending school with his siblings and living with his family in Lansing’s First Ward where his father worked as a carpenter and joiner.

Charles stood 5’5” with gray eyes, auburn hair and a fair complexion and was 20 years old and residing in Ingham County, probably in Lansing, when he enlisted in Company G on May 13, 1861 -- he was possibly related to Albert Lewis of Company G. (Company G, formerly the “Williams’ Rifles,” was made up predominantly of men from the Lansing area.) Although Charles was officially listed as discharged on September 1, 1861, for chronic rheumatism, according to Frank Siverd of Company G, Lewis and two other men of Company G had in fact been discharged and sent home the first week of August.

In any case, Charles soon returned to Michigan where he reentered the service in Company E, Sixth Michigan cavalry on February 17, 1865, at Jackson, Jackson County for 1 year, crediting Lansing’s Fourth Ward, and was mustered the same day. He joined the Regiment on March 19, was on detached service from July through September, and was on detached service at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas when he was transferred along with the veterans and recruits to Company H, First Michigan cavalry on November 17, 1865. The First Michigan cavalry served was on duty in the District of Utah from November of 1865 until March of 1866.

Charles was reported on detached service with the First Michigan cavalry from November of 1865 through February of 1866, and honorably discharged on August 17, 1866, at Fort Leavenworth. (The regiment had mustered out on March 10, 1866, however.)

It is not known if Charles returned to Michigan after the war, although it is possible that he was living in Detroit in 1870. He was probably residing in New York in 1904 when he applied for and received a pension (1099565).

Charles died on August 21, 1924 in Brooklyn, New York.

James Hayward - updated 7/23/2017

James or George Hayward was born about 1820.

James was 39 years old and probably residing in Ionia County when he enlisted as a Musician in Company K on May 13, 1861. He allegedly deserted on July 23, 1861, at Arlington, Virginia.

There is no further record, and no pension seems to be available.

James may have reentered the service a second time in the 15th Michigan Infantry, although this remains unconfirmed.

Or, he may have entered the 6th Michigan Cavalry but this cannot be confirmed either.

See James C. Hayward of the 6th Michigan Cavalry.

Hobart Henry Chipman

Hobart Henry Chipman was born August 16, 1843 in Troy, Oakland County, Michigan, the son of Dr. Oscar Harry (b. 1807) and Amanda Spencer (Rogers, 1807-1860).

Vermont native Oscar and Amanda were married on October 18, 1835. Hobart came to Grand Rapids with his parents in February of 1852 where he father worked as one of the city’s first physicians. According to one source Hobart “was an intelligent, active boy, . . .” At one time Hobart was employed as a delivery boy for the both the Enquirer and Eagle, and he later learned the trade of jeweler under Edward Bolza. By 1860 he was a “student” working as “librarian” for a local subscription library, and living with his father, at the family home in Grand Rapids' Third Ward.

Hobart was reportedly one of the original members of the Grand Rapids “Greys,” a small, select militia company made up of young boys in Grand Rapids and established in May of 1861. According to former “Grey” member, Joseph Herkner, "a large number of boys like myself belonged to the Valley City Guard when the war broke out and" folks "made such a fuss about our going to the front" due to our young age "that we did not go when the other members went out” with the VCG in June of 1861. (The VCG became the core of Company A of the Third Michigan infantry.) That first “first call,” said Herkner, “disorganized the [VCG] and those of us who were left conceived the idea of organizing another company for mutual instruction in the tactics so that in case we were to go to the front we would know something besides how to shoulder a musket. The result was the founding of the Greys.”

Hobart was 17 years old and still living in Kent County, probably at his parents’ home in Grand Rapids, when he enlisted in the Band as a Musician Second class on June 10, 1861. He reportedly participated in the battle of Malvern Hill, Virginia on July 1, and was discharged as a member of the Band on August 13, 1862, at Harrison’s Landing, Virginia, upon the disbanding of the regimental bands in the Army of the Potomac.

After his discharge from the Third Michigan Hobart returned home to Grand Rapids where he reentered the service as Sergeant in Company F, Sixth Michigan cavalry on September 18, 1862, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, and was mustered on October 13 at Grand Rapids where the regiment was being organized. The Sixth remained on duty at Grand Rapids until December 10 when it left for Washington where it participated in the defenses of the capital until June of 1863. The Sixth occupied Gettysburg, Pennsylvania briefly on June 28 and while it was engaged at Hanover, Pennsylvania on June 30 and participated in the Battle of Gettysburg from July 1-3 as well as in the pursuit of Lee’s forces back into Virginia.

Hobart was reported missing in action on October 11, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, and in fact had been captured and held briefly as a prisoner-of-war. Hobart was soon exchanged, rejoined the Regiment and was promoted to First Lieutenant in May of 1864 and transferred to Company A in September.

While in Virginia in October of 1864, Lieutenant Chipman was asked by Brigade headquarters to explain his actions in having three local farmers summarily shot for allegedly shooting one of his men from ambush. Hobart stated in his report to Captain C. H. Stafford,

On the afternoon of the 23d instant one of the men of my company came to me and said that another one of the company, named George Briggs, had been shot on the other side of the river. I received permission from Major Deane, commanding the Regiment, and immediately started after Briggs. I took nine men with me. On the other side of the river a sergeant from the First New York Dragoons, in command of the picket reserve, informed me that he had sent 12 men and a non-commissioned officer out to where Briggs was shot, with orders to get his body, arrest what men he found near there, and burn the houses, etc. On my arrival, I found they (First N.Y. Dragoons) had two men and one boy under arrest. They had searched the houses, but had not found any arms. The body of the soldier (Briggs) was bound on his horse, dead. I made what inquiries I could. Two men [of the New York Dragoons] said that they saw the smoke of the gun that shot at Briggs, and it came from the house of one of the men arrested. One of the prisoners said they (the prisoners) had been together all day, and I became satisfied that one of the men shot Briggs, but which I could not determine. In one of the houses were seven beds -- two down stairs, five above -- all in use. The family consisted of one man and wife and two small children. The men and their families were very abusive in their language, saying they wished all of us were shot, “Served him right”, meaning Briggs, and other very insulting remarks. While I was making these inquiries it was only by the greatest effort that I could keep the men from killing them on the spot. I set fire to the houses, and, with the prisoners, started for the camp. When I was about half a mile from the houses I heard cartridges explode in one of the houses burnt, thus proving that they had arms and ammunition concealed, which the men in their search did not find, and in contradiction of the prisoners, who had stated they had none about their premises. I tried to procure ropes to hang the men, but on failing I asked for volunteers to shoot them. The men rode forward as one man. I sent word to the picket reserve, gave the prisoners time to say their prayers, and then they were shot. The boy I released and sent home. The reasons that I did not bring the men into camp were: first, I and the men who were with me were satisfied that one of the men shot the soldier (Briggs); and, second, I was afraid if I did so I would be reprimanded for so doing. The soldier murdered (Briggs) was an old soldier, was recklessly brave, and a favorite with all of his company.

Apparently no action was taken against Chipman for this incident, and indeed, by January of 1865 he had been promoted to Captain of L company, commissioned December 10, 1864, replacing Captain Mathers, and was mustered as Captain on January 10, 1865.

Hobart went home on furlough in late February, and was reported in Grand Rapids at his parents’ home by the first week of March. He returned to the Regiment, and in June and July was on detached service, probably in the Nebraska Territory. In August and September he was reportedly commanding the post at Platte Bridge, Nebraska Territory, and he was mustered out on November 24, 1865, at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Following his release from the army Hobart moved to Detroit where he worked as a clerk for A. W. Copeland, and in 1867, he was elected vice president of the Sixth Michigan Cavalry Association at its second annual meeting held at the Russell House in Detroit. The following year he left Detroit and joined Colonel Thornton’s engineer corps which was involved in the construction of the Grand Rapids & Indiana railroad. By 1870 he had returned to Grand Rapids where he was instrumental in organizing the Old Third Infantry Association that same year, and in fact many of the early organizational meetings were held in his office. In 1871 he was appointed Deputy County Clerk under Captain McNaughton, and in 1872 and again in 1874 was elected County clerk on the Republican ticket. Hobart was a member of the State Executive Committee and actively involved with the state reunion of soldiers and sailors to be held in Jackson on April 9, 1874. He was also a member of the Knights Templar of De Molai, the Knights Pythias of Eureka and the Master Masons of the Grand Rapids lodge. Chipman was clearly a young man “with prospects”.

But Hobart suffered from consumption, the “Great Destroyer”, and in late 1872 or early 1873 he sought relief from tuberculosis by a trip “down east”.

According to one local observer, “He does not seem to have lost any flesh or lost his stock of affability and good humor by this trip.” The following year he again sought relief from his ailment and this time took a trip out west. “His health,” wrote the Grand Rapids Eagle on May 13, 1874, “which had not been good for some time before he left, is much improved, and he is ready now for hard work and plenty of it, again.” But by August he was back on the road, this time to Chicago seeking a remedy for the consumption that was killing him. On January 4, 1875, the Grand Rapids Democrat reported that Hobart, “our genial County clerk, is suffering from a severe cold and sore throat and was obliged to leave more of his work to deputies.”

The following month he was still convalescing but “able to leave his rooms.” On February 19 Hobart returned to his office, but, it was noted, he “looks as though he had been down through a small knot hole. But we are glad to see Hobart out again, and he says he will reenter upon his official duties in a few days.” By late March he was reported well enough to attend the circuit court but, wrote the Democrat on March 27, “he is thin -- very thin -- yet.”

His illness aside, Hobart was married in Chicago of December, 1875.

Yet, his strength continued to ebb, and by January of 1876 he was again confined to his bed where he remained through the month and on into February as well. In the middle of February he took another “vacation”, “which,” wrote to the Democrat, “he has long stood in need of, but has been postponed until the last minute”.

He was due to leave the following evening with his wife for a trip down south. “The length of the stay,” wrote the Democrat, “is not yet determined. We trust he may return the robust Hobart Chipman of former days, and that the trip in all particulars may prove of the pleasantest.” On the 26th Hobart and his wife arrived at New Orleans en route for Cuba, and around March 13 had arrived in Memphis on his return from New Orleans, and had sent word to Grand Rapids that his health was much improved. By March 28 he had returned to Grand Rapids where he suffered a relapse.

In April Hobart was reported to be convalescing, and by the end of the month seemed to have regained his strength, and on May 17 he rode to his office for the first time in several months.

Notwithstanding his illness, he still found the strength (and time) to prepare for the state of Michigan bar exam, and on September 4, 1876, he was admitted to the bar of the State of Michigan. The Eagle wrote, “‘Chip’ is certain to make a success of his profession and will win honors as well as profits thereby.”

Less than three weeks later, on September 25, 1876, Hobart died of consumption at his home at 833 Fulton. “Our citizens were pained, though not surprised,” wrote the Herald on September 26,

to learn on yesterday that County Clerk Chipman had at last given up the frail hold upon life that he had so tenaciously clung to under every discouragement, and passed quietly away. We say not surprised, because they had long known from Mr. Chipman's serious and continued illness, and from his attenuated frame -- daily becoming more reduced -- that he could not long survive. But though we have long feared and expected that our friend and brother must pass away ere long, the sad duty of announcing his death is not softened on account of this premonition. He was a young man of extraordinary promise, with a heart filled with kindly impulses. His generous nature, cheerful temperament -- even when suffering -- and indomitable energy, had won for him hosts of friends everywhere, and intelligence of his death will be received with universal sorrow. Only a few weeks since he was admitted to the bar of this state, and his examination was so creditably passed as to elicit the highest commendation from the Court and able Jurists in attendance; and could he have but lived he would doubtless have attained preeminence in the profession that he so fondly admired.

For the last year of his life, “he has not been able to devote much time to his official duties, but whenever it was possible to reach his office he was found there -- though for the past 6 months he was obliged to make his visits in a carriage and on crutches. Though it has long been apparent that he could not long resist the disease, he had by his wonderful energy and indomitable will, battled with it till hope sprung up anew in his bosom, and on the slightest change for the better, would imagine that he had triumphed over it, and would soon be strong again. Not till within the past week did he despair of regaining his shattered health, when he calmly and heroically awaited the inevitable.”

The day Hobart died, the Eagle wrote that he was “Always wide awake, energetic, cheerful, courageous, and generous, a man of noble impulses, he won the ardent esteem of those with whom he came into contact, both in public service and private life.” The Democrat wrote that Chipman’s “life was active, eventful and useful one, and his untimely death will be mourned by all our citizens. He enjoyed the warmest friendship of all who knew him, and his taking off causes a feeling of gloom to pervade the community. His aged father, young and loving wife and a brother, who are his only surviving relatives, have the deep sympathies of all our citizens in their terrible affliction.” Chipman now “sleeps the sleep that knows no waking, and the community suffers the loss of one who was always trustworthy, honest and a valuable member of society.”

“As we go to press,” wrote the Eagle on September 27, “a long concourse of citizens, all of whom were warm friends and admirers of the deceased, are paying the last tribute of respect and affection to the late Hobart H. Chipman.” The services were to be conducted under the auspices of the Knights Templar of De Molai Commandery, the Knights Pythias of Eureka Lodge and the Master Masons of the Grand River Lodge. The courts were closed for the day in memory of his passing, “and the legal fraternity and County officers, of which classes of citizens the deceased was a distinguished and honored representative, are also attending the funeral in a body.” The funeral services were held at his residence on September 27, “and were very solemn and impressive.”

Hobart was buried in Oak Hill cemetery: section 7 lot 94.

In 1880 there was a widow named Jane Chipman (b. 1854), living with one John Stanley (b. 1825) and his wife Jane (b. 1825) in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois.

Martin Beebe

Martin Beebe was born about 1825 in Genesee County, New York, possibly the son of Theophilus (b. 1795) and Harriet (b. 1797).

New York natives Theophilus and Harriet were presumably married in New York where they resided for many years. By 1850 Martin was probably working as a farmer and living with his family on a large farm (his father owned some $2000 worth of real estate) in Lysander, Onondaga County.

Martin was married to New York native Nancy J. Kincaid (1828-1881), in Onondaga County, New York, and they had at least three children: Mary E. (b. 1851), Sama J. (b. 1854) and Rosella, Rosalia or Rose L. (b. 1857).

Martin and his wife resided in New York for some years. Between 1851 and 1854 Martin took his family and left New York state and by 1860 had settled in western Michigan where he was working as a farmer living with his wife and children in Cascade Township, Kent County.

Martin stood 5’8” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion, and was 36 years old and probably still living in Cascade when he enlisted in Company B on May 13, 1861. He was present for duty through August but by October had been reported as absent sick, quite possibly at Seminary Hospital in Georgetown, DC, reportedly suffering from fever.

He apparently returned to the regiment but suffered a relapse in the field and in December he was listed as “sick in quarters”, implying that if he had been hospitalized he was most likely back with the regiment but not performing any duty. (He was also reportedly treated at a field hospital in or near Arlington, Virginia.) In any case, he remained sick in his quarters through April and was discharged for consumption on June 5, 1862, near Fair Oaks, Virginia.

After his discharge from the army Martin returned home to Cascade where he reentered the service in Company H, Sixth Michigan cavalry on September 10, 1862, for 3 years, crediting Cascade, and was mustered October 1 at Grand Rapids where the regiment was being organized. He was left sick at Camp Kellogg in Grand Rapids, on December 10 when the regiment left for Washington (where it would participate in the defenses until June of 1863).

He was still sick in camp in Michigan in February of 1863. According to Martin, “on or about the 17th day of November 1862, while with his company going through skirmisher drill at Camp Kellogg . . . and while scouting through a piece of woods, he was struck in the right eye by a limb or bough of a tree which injured the eye in such a manner as to cause the entire loss of sight within the next month.”

In fact, it quite likely that Martin never left Michigan and probably remained at his home in Cascade or in Grand Rapids at the rendezvous camp until he was discharged for disability (probably for the injury of the right eye) on April 1, 1863, at Detroit. By the end of the month he was reportedly living at his home in Cascade.

Martin settled for a time in Stanton, Montcalm County, but apparently he and his wife moved back to New York and were living either in Lockport, Niagara County, New York or at 482 Main Street in Buffalo, in May of 1880. His wife Nancy died the following year in Lockport. Martin subsequently returned to western Michigan and was was undergoing treatment for a lung ailment in 1882 in Montcalm County.

It seems that Martin was married to one Amelia C., and they were living in McBride in 1884. (Curiously, Martin never mentions this marriage in any of his subsequent affidavits to the Pension Bureau. Yet when he was admitted to the Michigan Soldier’s Home in 1890 he was reported as a married man, and not as a widower, while his nearest relative was listed as his daughter Rosa, then living in Stanton.)

In any case, according to Amelia’s statement (undated) she had

been in attendance of all his sickness since 1884 in March he was taken violently sick with lung complaint and bleed [sic] for some time. Had to have the doctor which treated him for some time. He was confined to his bed about 4 weeks. He got Hall’s Lung Balsom and used that through the summer. In the winter of 184 & 5 he was taken again with lung trouble and came very near bleeding to death and was sick all winter and unable to do but any little work for one year. He has complained all summer with pain right lung. About a week ago he was taken very sudden with pneumonia. [He] thought he was dying and the doctor thought so. We had all we could do to keep him alive for he knew but little for 48 hours. He has not been able to do anything since, When he is very sick he employs a doctor, other times he has prescriptions [and] also uses patent medicines.

Martin apparently recovered, however, and was living in McBride, Montcalm County by 1887, and for many years worked off and on as a farmer. Montcalm County marriage records list one Martin Beebe who married on Mrs. Susan S. Joseph in Montcalm, on October 17, 1888.

He listed himself as a married man when he entered the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (no. 1274) on March 17, 1890, was dropped on July 16, 1891, and probably returned to Montcalm County. He was a member of Grand Army of the Republic McCook Post No. 94 in McBride, but not a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association (although he was listed in their records).

Martin apparently moved to Indiana and was probably living in South Bend in 1893. He was a widower when he married his fourth (or third or second) wife, Christina Heaton, on March 20, 1895, in Goshen, Indiana, and Martin was residing in Elkhart, Indiana in 1897 and 1898.

In 1862 he applied for and received pension no. 259,332, drawing $12.00 per month by September of 1899.

Martin died possibly in Indiana or perhaps in Montcalm County. In any case, he was buried in the Grand Army of the Republic section of Forest Home cemetery in Greenville.

Matthew Baird - updated 3/25/2012

Matthew Baird was born on October 17, 1838, in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of George W. (b. 1816 in New York) and Mary Eliza Merrill (b. 1816 in New York).

George and Eliza settled in Maryland sometime before 1838 (there was a Matthew Baird living in Baltimore’s 5th Ward in 1840), moving to Ohio sometime between 1840 and 1844, settling in Michigan between 1850 and 1851. By 1850 George W. “Bard” was working as a farmer and living with his wife Eliza and their children in Hope, Barry County.

By 1860 Matthew was working as a laborer and living in Hope, Barry County, Michigan, with his family.

In late April of 1861 Matthew joined the militia company then forming in Barry County and on April 29, he was mustered into “Company H” under command of George A. Smith. According to Baird’s diary, that day he “took a few (my first) lessons in the military from Hardee’s Tactics.” Known locally as the “Hastings True Blues,” the company soon left for Grand Rapids where Michigan was organizing the third regiment of volunteers. [The following diary and most of the letters can be found on the Historic Charlton Park blog.]

May 1 Bade my friends farewell and repaired to the place of rendezvous, at the place of enlistment.

May 2 The Company was mustered at the Kenfield House, Hastings, where more teams and wagons ready to convey it to Grand Rapids. We started about 7 ½ o’clock in the morning and proceeded to the [not legible] House where we took dinner on the green in front of the house. [not legible] then determined by the officers to proceed to Ada and go by rail to Grand Rapids, which we did and arrived at the above place about 6 o’clock p.m. We were quartered at the National [Hotel] and Barnum House at night.”

May 3 Today the Company passed the medical examination with the exception of one or two. Our heights were also taken. We drilled some in a large room below the National and were quartered in a large room on [not legible] street.

May 4 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 [not legible] 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.

May 5 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 6 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.

May 7 The following is the rule of the camp. At sunrise a small brass field piece is fired when every boy is expected to be out of bed. The drum immediately beats for roll call. The boys are then dismissed to mark. The drum then beats for drill, which is continued until breakfast. Breakfast at 7 o’clock A.M. Sick list is called at 8 o’clock A.M. At 9 A.M. the drum beats and the guard is formed (so many men are detailed from each company). The guard is formed into three [smudged]. The guard stands 24 hours, each relief is on 2 hours and 4 off making 8 hours in 24 for each relief. At 10 o’clock A.M. the drum beats for drill again. Drill till noon. At 2 P.M. on drill again, and drill till about 4 o’clock, at 5 the drum beats for evening parade and the regiment is formed in line. At 6 ½ o’clock the drum beats for supper. At sundown the cannon is again fired and roll is called. At 9 P.M. the tattoo is beat again and every boy is required to be in bed again.

May 9 News being received that the President would not accept any more three months volunteers. The regiment today was disbanded and reorganized and the men enlisted for three years. So great many of the men being disappointed in their expectations returned home leaving our ranks rather thinner than usual. There are enough however left to keep up a respectable appearance as a regiment.

May 10 Today Company [B] performed the melancholy duty of consigning one of its members to the tomb. He [Joseph Proper] died last evening at 8 o’clock from an attack of brain fever. How little he thought his comrades would be called upon so soon to lay the last tribute to humanity, but life is fleeting. And though he will never see the contest of armies, nor see the clash of arms. Yet we may hope he is engaging a far better scene where fierce contentions and disabling wars are unknown.

May 12 Today we heard a short sermon from the Rev. Mr. Cuming. 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.

After some heated discussion in the regiment, the “Blues” company was disbanded sometime during the second week of May, and the men were incorporated into Company E, 3rd Michigan Infantry. Matthew stood 5’8” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was 22 years old and still living in Barry County when he was assigned to Company E on May 13, 1861.

May 16 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.

May 18 The brass band designed for the regiment came into camp today. It will accompany the regiment in the campaign. The musicians are mostly Germans. The band makes an important improvement in the appearance of the regiment on dress parade, besides the luxury of having good music after when off duty.

May 19 Today we had preaching on the parade ground. The soldiers were very attentive and very large numbers of citizens attended from the city and country. The sermon [smudged] was excellent.

May 26 We had preaching today on the parade ground by our chaplain the Reverend Mr. Cuming. He alas read a part of the articles of war, after which we had a general parade and the day closed.

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 chaplain.

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. 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 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 [Andrew McReynolds] on behalf of the ladies presented the banner to Colonel McConnell preceding which however he made a patriotic speech to which Chaplain Cuming 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.

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.

June 6 Nothing of particular interest occurred today. The weather though was fine. Dress parade was attended by quite a number of citizens.

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 [Backus] 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 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.

Matthew’s first diary runs out shortly before June 13, 1861, when the regiment left Michigan for Virginia. On June 30 he wrote his parents to let them know that he was all right and that the regiment was bivouacked at Camp Blair near the Chain Bridge just up the Potomac from Washington, DC.

Dear Parents,

I presume before this time you have heard a great many remarks concerning our regiment and the war, but they are mostly rumors without the facts. There is but little done as far as I can hear, in active operations except now and then a slight skirmish. And some are of the impression that there will be little or no fighting at all.

The last week a skirmish took place at Matthias Point [Va] on the Potomac between a small reconnoitering party and a large body of rebels in which Capt. Ward of the Pawnee was killed and a number of his men severely wounded, one mortally.

Last Friday I paid a visit to the Capital. I visited the Capitol, Patent Office, and Smithsonian Institution. It would be impossible for me to describe in this small sheet all that I there saw. However in the first place I ascended to the top of the Capitol where I had a splendid view of the whole city. I then descended to the interior of the building and trod those places which three months ago I little expected to ever see. I went to both houses of Congress, but visitors are permitted to go only in the galleries at present on account of the repairing being done.

I then went to the Patent Office. My time was so short that I could not pay particular attention to all, but I got a glimpse of the moot [?] and especially of those things so closely connected with the history of our country. The equipment of [George] Washington, his clothes, army shot, a fragment of his tent, and many other things too numerous to mention.

The Smithsonian is a place well worthy the attention of any one. Here is a Museum in which is collected a vast number of the curiosities of Nature. The different species varietals and specimens of animals, birds, reptiles, insects, plants and minerals brought from different parts of the globe form a study highly instructive and interesting. There is also a large picture gallery of the most of the paintings seem to be portraits of distinguished Indians. In the center of this gallery is a splendid statue of the dying Gladiator. But when I come home I will tell you more, as my space here is too limited. A few days before I left the Rapids I sent my satchel to Hastings to Bailey’s Store in the care of [name illegible] or Mrs. Dickerson, but I have not thought to speak of it before. And now I would say a few words with regard to my trunk. I have a few papers there which if you have not yet taken out I would request that you would not disturb until I come home. I have not as yet received any news from home and I begin to feel anxious to hear. Wm Fox is regaining his health fast, and is so as to be out. Our boys are much better than when I last wrote. I have sent three papers, which I presume, will reach you before this. My health is good, and time passes swiftly away. I do wish some of my old comrades would write to me. Remember me to all my friends.

Your affectionate Son, Matthew Baird

On July 26, just a few days after the fiasco at Bull Run, Matthew wrote home from camp near Arlington Heights, Virginia:

Dear Parents,

Since I last wrote to you our Regt has had a long march into Virginia, and I have already been witness to two battles. If you have not already heard, you will have heard before you get this of the battle of Bulls Run and its disastrous results to the Federal army. And as you will doubtless get a more correct description than I can give I shall not say much about it. However you may depend we had a tough old time. Our Regt was not engaged in either battle (except the right and left companies as skirmishers). We left Chain Bridge the 16th and late on the 18th we came up to the rebels when our artillery opened a brisk fire upon them. The rebels returned it with considerable effect killing several of our men. The whole brigade was thrown into the field when an engagement too place which lasted about four hours. Our Regt was held as a reserve, though we were exposed to the cannon shot of the enemy and often to their musketry, without the [illegible] means of defense or the privilege of returning their fire.

One cannon ball fell into Co. F Striking James Beck of Hastings on the knee, however not so as to injure him much as the ball was spent. Several musket balls fell into our company and striking near our Captain’s feet. A great many cannon shot and shell went over our heads with tremendous velocity often striking only a few yards beyond us. In such cases we had to hug the ground pretty close. We did not lose any men in the 3rd, but the 1st Mass and 12th N.Y. was considerably beat up. The Mich 2nd lost a few men. Finding the evening [illegible] the brigade was withdrawn about two miles to wait for reinforcements. (Our brigade of 3,000 men were drawn up to oppose 30,000 of the enemy) Last Sunday [July 21st] the battle was begun again on the extreme right and was fought with dreadful effect, the loss on both sides was immense. The roaring of the cannon was almost constant and the wall of musketry was like the continual muttering of distant thunder. Our brigade with three others, supported by a number of batteries occupied the left wing.

A little skirmishing however was all that was done on the left except by the batteries, which threw shot and shell all day without receiving a single shot in answer. The battle was fought within sight of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The country through which we passed is almost entirely deserted by the inhabitants. Crops are extremely poor, and I should think by the appearance of everything that the soil was entirely exhausted. And if we can’t whip out the rebels, if the crops are poor all over the south as they are in Virginia they will soon starve out.

My health is as good as ever yet. Give my best wishes to all my friends, and my love to Uncle and Cousin.

Please write soon to your Affectionate Son, Matthew Baird

Matthew returns to his diary on August 19, 1861, with details about camp life and other matters.

There is something interesting . . . in camp life.

And though it is attended with many inconveniences and often with hardship and suffering it still has something of a charm which makes a man feel perfectly at home. There are blended the serious, the comical, the sentimental and the ludicrous.

There may be found men of refinement and accomplished educational attainments. Men whose hearts beat high with generous impulses, men in whose hands might well be trusted the nation’s honor. There may be found men of fortitude and courage and to whom danger and difficulty would seem but as passing scenes of every day occurrence which to in [illegible] would be but to overcome. There may also be found men of weak minds, and of dastardly and cowardly dispositions. Men to whom vice is more sacred than virtue, men who are sunk to the lowest ebb of depravity and who would delight as much in destruction of their fellows by their own corruption, as their on destruction is sure. But the latter form an exception. I am happy to say that I believe that a great majority of the American army, though not strictly moral, are possessed of enough of the principal of justice and honor to detain them from acts of crimination, or from a desire to lead others into such measures. Here there are many too whose lives are in strict conformity to the morality and religion, and whose acts and virtue we would do well to copy. But these, alas; also form an exception. Thus a man who loves to study character and human nature will find no better place than in the Camp.

The scenes in camp are also varied. The things that occur today, are often entirely different from those things that transpired the day before. The mode of cooking, which is after a primitive fashion, and the ridiculous eagerness of the soldiers to obtain their food, with their manner of eating it, often forms an interesting and laughable scene. But above all the most exerting is packing up for a march. Everything is then all in a bustle and confusion. Camp kettles and eating utensils are hurried together. Soldiers hurrying hither and thither, packing their knapsacks, cleaning their guns, and striking their tents, lashing the wagons, with the usual hurry flurry impatience of the officers presents a picture at once lively and interesting.

Today our camp at Hunters Place presented such a scene. After everything had been packed and loaded and all men ready, we were formed into line and marched in our present camp above Fort Albany. From this camp (as from most others we’ve occupied since 21st July) we have a beautiful view of Washington and the Potomac. The Mich 2nd and the N.Y. 34 are stationed just to the west on our rear. . . .

Diary of Camp Life Or a few Practical Thoughts and Observations on what I saw and heard in the Army

Headquarters, Hunters Place, Camp Hunter
August 19, 1861

There is perhaps no sentiment so doubly or so strongly implanted in the bosom of man as the love of country.

This Sentiment is a natural one. It grows up with a man from his infancy. Hence its depth – its strength. But it begins at home.

Throw a pebble into the stream and the eddies that form around the place where it strikes become larger and wider till they vibrate to the utmost limit of its shares.

Thus with man, his love of country begins at the hearth-stone on which falls the whitened ashes, & dying embers of the evening fire. It begins where he first feels the merest joys of childhood’s hours.

It begins where he first participates in the innocent pleasures of his schoolboy days. He first learns to love the flowerbeds and garden walks, which his earliest recollection tells him were planted and formed by his mother’s hand.

Next, the surrounding fields, the hills, the tiny vales, the murmuring brooks and the “deep tangled wildwood” attract his attention, and around which cling the affections of his youthful heart. Soon however his ideas expand. In his loved schoolroom he studies Geography. Then in his imagination he views wide extended plains, lofty mountains, broad, deep rivers and populated cities. He sees cultivated fields, busy workshops, and numerous mercantile establishments.

Next his quick perceptive faculties take in the Government with all its different branches, its administrators, its advisors, its supporters, and its dependents. He sees mighty armies, large fleets and an extensive commerce.

And here he begins to comprehend the greatness and glory of the nation. Then the light breaks in upon his mind and he exclaims, my country, my native land. For this he is willing to sacrifice all that is great in life. The easy arts of home, the society of friends, the acquisition of property or the property which he may have, and even life itself. For his country the true patriot will endure without complaint every privation, and hardship, hunger and thirst, toil and fatigue, and even sickness and death. When Peace with all its blessings smiles upon his country and his home, when with her balmy breath she cools and soothes the flames of contention, and spreads the fragrance of to every fireside, then he thinks only of his home and the loved ones there.

But when the fires of war are lit up. When the terrible foe is marshaling in battle array and the bugle sounds; to arms, dutifully he the haunts of peaceful life, rallies to his countries flag and goes forth nobly to battle for his nation’s honor, as his countries rights.

Thus it is at the present time. Every emotion in the patriots bosom has been mastered. He has been called forth to meet a foe, terrible and evil. Not a foreign foe. Not a foe that is contending merely for a question of honor, or to seek redress for a broken treaty or a simple question of territory. It is a questions in which is involved the liberties of thirty millions of people. A question which [illegible] at stake one of the best governments God ever permitted to rule on earth. A question which if lost on our side, will result in the establishment of one of the most tyrannical despotisms that ever disgraced God’s footstool. But we trust this will not be the case. In God is our refuge and our strength. He is our Rock, our Light tower, and the refuge of our nation. And the many mustering thousands of freemen who respond so nobly to their countries call in this greatest hour of danger, with a humble, yet confiding trust in the Rules of Nations, tell us that we shall succeed in quelling this haughty, ambitious and virulent foe, and thus unite still stronger the bonds of our hitherto prosperous nation, and place upon a firmer basis the foundations of our glorious Republic.

Then let us put forth every effort in our power. Let every freeman awake to his duty. And “Let this be our motto in God is our trust. And the Star Spangled banner in triumph shall wave. Over the land of the free, and the home of the brave”.

Aug. 26 Today I paid a visit to the 4th Mich. Regt.  to see one or two old acquaintances. This is a healthy robust looking regiment. It is stationed at half a mile west of Fort Corcoran and forms a part of Sherman’s brigade. The 4th is at present engaged in building another fort in a commanding situation to the right of their camp. The work has progressed finely since they began. The boys seem to be in good spirits, jovial and full of life. On my return I passed Fort Corcoran, which presents quite a formidable appearance. It is situated on the opposite side of the river from Georgetown and has a command of the town and river, and the road leading down the canal, beside a large range of country to the west. Passing through one or two other camps, and down the canal road I soon arrived in camp.

Going out on picket.

I had not been long in camp before the alarm was given and the 3rd was called out to relieve the picket guard in the advances. This is a pretty particular duty and in this war has thus far proved to be a very dangerous one.

There seems to be so much antipathy existing between the Union and the rebel troops that a sight of each other is temptation enough to draw fire. Quite a number have been killed on both sides in such cases. Company E [Baird’s company] are posted along the road at short intervals in squads of six. While several other companies are thrown out still further in the advance.

Aug. 27 Today has been cold and rainy.

We were hurried off so quick that some of us could bring neither over-coats nor blanket in consequence of which we suffered considerable with the cold last night.

Not having brought any food with us and not expecting any till late we began to examine the premises around us. In a deserted house upon the hill above us, was found several pounds of pork, half barrel of crackers and some fish, this with a fine lot of potatoes taken from an adjoining building made us quite a breakfast. Between eight and nine o’clock a.m. our overcoats and blankets came with a supply of provisions. Today our pickets were thrown out into the woods for half a mile west of the road and thus were drawn in again at the close of day.

Though we neither saw, nor heard anything of the enemy from our position, still there was considerable sharpshooting done out in the front at Balls cross road, the result of which I have not yet learned.

Aug. 28 In camp again. Last night the rain came down in torrents drenching everything exposed. I succeeded in getting dry quarters however, when not on duty. And this morning we were relieved and started for camp through the rain and mud and arrived quite wet and very much fatigued.

Sept. 1 Sabbath. Out on picket again. If ever military duty becomes odious and repulsive it is on the Sabbath. But our national difficulties force the painful necessity upon us.

Company E was placed a little more in the advance today.

Nothing of importance occurred. I was not on duty till night. When with two others I verified a post in what was once a cultivated field, but is now thickly overgrown with thrifty pines, many of which have attained to a considerable size. The night, as the day, passed without anything worthy of remark, except now and then the sharp ring of the sentinels musket far in the advance or the night wind “sighing its soft melody” through the tall pine trees.

Sept. 5 Today our regiment received the balance of money due it from the State of Michigan. It was a small sum, but money is always welcome to the soldier be it ever so small a sum.

Matthew’s father George wrote his son from Hope in Barry County on September 9.

My Dear Son,

We rec’d your letter of the first of this month, and was very glad to here from you. We are all well at present. You want to here how much wheat we have in the half Bushel, we had About 400 in the whole, on the home lot and the Cedar Creek lot together we had 205 Bushel and on R. Kelleys, my 2 thirds was 67 Bushel, and on your we had 125 Bushel I think it will hold out 400 Bushel. Brother Clark hauled a load of wheat to Market last week and could get but 80 cents per Bushel, that will not pay up, some body must wait I will do the best I can, and pay as far as I can. I went to [not legible] meeting on Saturday last and we had A good time. I gave Brother Hale and Brother Homes the Directions to you, they said they would write to you. They appear to be very glad to hear from you, and said they would pray for you, your Brother Samuel [sibling] has you also in the Battle field, he has gone in A horse Company, it was got up in Battle Creek, Mn [William] Holman, Donal Soles, John Coleman, Jacob Moot, have gone in the same Company with Samuel, Matthew pray for him that god will take Care of him and shield and that he may return home safe, Emery Jackson has Also gone in the same company with Samuel Cas Roberson wanted to know whether you would sell your land or not, and what time you would give him on it, that is to pay for it. I Asked him $400 Dollars. You can do as you please. Mn Bay has written to you and has answered Thomas’ and Lucy letters, your Uncle Matthew will start for Washington the last of this week. Give my respect to Wm Fox tell him that I hope that he will put his trust in God and ask him to give him health and Strength in the time of battle and ask God to shield and guide him in the path of duty. I hope that God will bless him tell him that he has the prayers of his praying friend in this neighbor hood

Brother Clark says that he cannot write, but says he has often asked his wife to write for him but cannot get her at it, he says he has not for gotten you, he says you all ways have his prayers and says you must trust in God and Rely on his promises, if you go in Battle and get through safe, write immediately so that we may know that you are in the land of the living. I now leave you in the hand of God hoping that he will take care of you May God bless you No more at present but I still remain your affectionate father, George W. Baird

Two days later Matthew wrote an unnamed friend passing along a few of his personal observations about the war.

Dear Friend.

I received you kind letter of Sept 1st last evening, but have been detained from answering it till this morning on account of our Company being detailed for picket guard, and as a matter of course I had to accompany it.

Pickets are used for the purpose of giving warning to the camp in case of the approach of an army to begin an attack.

This is a very particular duty and has thus far in this war proved to be a very dangerous one.

A great many have been killed on both sides by pickets firing at each other. Company E has been detailed for this duty almost exclusively for the last few weeks. So you see, I have had some experience in this part of war. One day and night last week, I was on a post within full view of a rebel fort on Munson’s Hill (it is about three fourths of a mile from where I stood.) and about five miles from Washington city on the road to Manassas. This fort occupies a beautiful and commanding site, and to every appearance from where I was, might be made a very formidable place. Sunday and Monday, the 8th and 9th, I was on a post so near the rebel pickets, we could hear them talk, and in part their pickets and ours did get to talking with each other in rather a rough sort of way. Many harsh words passed between them, and they often answered each other by discharging their muskets back and forth.

Monday morning the firing grew so warm that the rebels threw several shot and shell from the fort at our pickets, however without any harm.

For my part, I have not had the privilege of firing at a single secesh yet, nor can I say that I really desire to. The two armies have now agreed to cease firing at each other’s pickets. There are from three to six men on a post.

But now I must tell you something about the post I occupy at present. It is about three miles west of our camp on the railroad running from Alexandria to Vienna. I have two comrades with me. We have a little bough house to protect us from the sun. Behind us is a thick deep forest into whose shades the strongest eye would not penetrate at night. Before us is the railroad with its winding [illegible] running through sunny fields, and shady groves, now along some steep hillside. Now through a tiny vale, then it plunges into a deep cut where it is lost to view. Just below the railroad is a deep ravine through which courses a pleasant little stream overhung with huge rocks and towering forest trees. And here as it passes along unheeded by the desolating hand of war and untainted by treasons foul breath. As it rushes over heavy boulders, or along smooth pebbly banks, or plunges and foams at the foot of a steep precipice, and then dashes on through the [illegible] shade of a wide spreading tree, whose ample and luxuriant branches reach far over the mossy banks and then playfully murmurs out into the broad sunlight, it ever sings all its course the songs that were sung by our grandsires, the sounds of liberty. And I have no doubt if it had a human voice it would cause the surrounding hills to resound with the music of the Star Spangled Banner, or with the thrilling notes of Hail Columbia. At least it would not lend a voice to the traitors’ cause, nor whisper one word of comfort to its disunion in its expiring hour. And in this beautiful spot we are to spend the day. We expect to be relieved at night.

But I must say a little about home matters.

I received a letter from home a few days ago and they stated that brother Samuel [sibling] had enlisted in the cavalry company at Battle Creek and was expecting to go to Missouri to join Gen Fremont’s command. I will give you a list of the names of those that enlisted (in the same company) and with whom you are acquainted.

Emery Jackson, Mr Holman, De Witt Keyes, Daniel Toles, Elanzo Gilbert, Jacob Mott, and Sam’l Baird. They stated too that Mary [sibling] had broken one of her arms. There appears to be several out and out rebels down in Barry [County] and they don’t carry any colors to disguise it either. Secession seems to be quite a prominent theme with them, and certain young ladies, say they hope every northern boy that goes south to fight will get shot. Patriotic young ladies, they have a small thimble full of humanity and a considerable loss of common sense.

I have never written to Noah yet but I think I shall if I have time, but I suppose you often write to him. So if I do not get time to write, you will please give him my best respects, and tell him I would be happy to hear from him, and also give him my address. I saw Aaron’s wife last winter, I think he married her out of pure love, for she is not much handsomer than myself, which you of course know does not excel, but she is spoken of by every one as an excellent girl. But I am really sorry the widow Polly is married, for I shall miss a good chance then won’t I? But never mind she’ll get tired of him after awhile. You will please remember me to Jackson Russell, tell him I said my best respects to himself and wide from the battle ground of Virginia.

You spoke of its being such a beautiful fall morning, when you wrote, but everything retains the hue of summer here yet. Scarcely a leaf is turned to show the change of season. The weather is beautiful and warm. We have been expecting a battle here for a long while, but everything seems to move slowly. Yet it may come when we think not, like an avalanche, terrible in form and power.

Enclosed I send you a photograph of General McClellan commanding the Army of the Potomac. He is a shrewd, far seeing man and [two words obscured by tear] with all, and under him we may hope to subdue secession and restore peace and tranquility to the Union. Words cannot express my gratitude to you for the kind wishes you express in my behalf. While there are some who would desire that evil might befall those who have gone to fight for their country there are others whose hearts are not quite so calloused in whose sympathies we may find a place, and whose kindest wishes and sincerest prayers we know are ascending to Heaven in our behalf. You will please excuse me for writing you in pencil, but I am so far from camp and have no ink with me and I am on duty so constant that I have to write whenever an opportunity offers.

But my letter is getting extravagantly long and I must close and I presume you will wish I had sooner before you have read it through.

With my kindest regards to you parents and my best wishes for yourself.

I remain yours
Write soon, write often, truly and sincerely
To your Friend, Farewell, Matthew

Our Flag

Where is the banner that doth wave
Beneath the sky, on land or sea
So beautiful, so bright, so [tear in paper]
As thee, our noble Flag, as thee
Well may the laws of Freedom feel
Proud when they see that standard above?
And proudly draw their sacred steel
T’ defend the banner of the brave

On September 24, 1861, just over three months after the 3rd Michigan had left Grand Rapids, Matthew wrote to a girl by the name of Sarah in Barry County, reassuring her that in order to preserve the Union certain sacrifices were necessary.

I am really pleased with the patriotic spirit our neighborhood is beginning to manifest. And, although the enlisting of so many young men from that vicinity, will cause many hearts to be sad, and many homes to look desolate, although the sacrifice parents and brothers and sisters are called upon to make, is great, still we feel the sacrifice is just; being made as it is upon the altar of our country. There is no Union-loving man, but that believes and feels that upon the broad basis of our excellent government, rests the foundation of our future hopes of liberty. In the maintenance of that government, our hopes are realized. In its fall, all is blasted. The fair fabric of the Union will then crumble to the dust. Columbia, “The gem of the ocean,” will be forever stricken from the pages of future history; and the glory of America will be buried in the dark oblivion of the past.

Then may we not willingly relinquish the comforts of our beloved homes, and the society of dear friends, and endure, for a while, the toils and dangers of war? If we fall in battle, we are sure the blessings of our friends will rest upon our graves, and the sympathies of a grateful country will follow us to the tomb. -- And if we return to our homes, covered with the scars of strife, and the wounds of deadly conflict, we will then well know how to appreciate the blessings of liberty.

I am glad this war is not carried on in our fair State. You would be surprised at the desolation o so many beautiful homes. The lovely and romantic hills of Virginia, already begin to show the saddening effects of rebellion. Almost every house in this part of the State has been deserted by the inmates, who have gone over to secession, or have fled to Washington for protection. Indeed, the desolation of the land is enough to make one heartsick. But the hour is growing late and I must bring my letter to a close.

Tell my folks I am well, and ready for duty; and with my best wishes to yourself and family, . . .

On October 2, Baird noted in his diary:

Nothing has occurred since my last date of any importance, till with in a very few days.

The rebels have evacuated and abandoned their works on Munson’s Hill and the hills adjacent, and have retreated with their whole advance line toward Bull Run. The Union troops now occupy those hills and our advance line is thrown out as far as Fairfax. Where I heard the rebels a few weeks ago playing in division the ever-glorious Star-Spangled-Banner, now the air resounds with the strains of that noble tune sung and pledged by true, loyal, and patriotic men.

Considerable excitement was created in this and other camps belonging to the 4th brigade. The day-before-yesterday, by rumors being circulated that the enemy were returning upon their lately abandoned works and had begun an attack upon our centre. The rumors were however false. The reason why the Brigade was called and (which was done) was because we had received orders to march or to hold ourselves in readiness to march, and the alarm was sounded for the purpose of testing the energies of the men. A real fighting spirit was manifested. We have orders now however to hold ourselves in readiness to march at a moments notice. The camp is all-quiet however at present. People still continue to seek safety in Washington. Three teams are passing along while I am writing, fleeing from the country, and the rebels, and seeking safety within the Union fortifications.

On October 19 Matthew was admitted to Seminary Hospital in Georgetown, reportedly suffering from typhoid fever. On November 17 his father wrote Matthew passing along all the news from home.

My Dear Son,

Yours of the 7 came duly to hand. We thought that there was something wrong as we could not get a letter before this time from you. Your Mother frets about you all the time. If you are not able to write at any time get some one to write for you, and let us know how you are and just how it is with you, so that I may try and get you home, and will if it takes a farm. You must not flatter us with anything that is not so, let us know the worst. While you are away from us you will all ways have out prayers for God to help you and give you health.

I have just returned from meeting and have had a very good one. You say that you think I ought to write to Uncle Jacob I will try and do so. I suppose he has a very hard time of it. I am very glad to hear that your Uncle Matthew is well and has got work in the Navy yard but I cannot see how he can expect us to write to him, when we did not know where to [write?]. We raised this year of buckwheat 21 Bushel. You want to know whether the treasury notes passed or not, they did. I wish I could get them as fast as I could pays them, you said you would send more money in your next letter; you must be sure and keep enough to make you comfortable. If property goes, don’t give your self any trouble about how. If there is any thing wrong here we will let you know it.

We have just received two letters from Samuel [Baird’s younger brother]; he was well when he wrote the last letter, he was then on the march. You can direct [your letters] to him the same as we do, to Col. Merrill’s Horse Co. Camp Benton St. Louis, MO. He has got all of our letters. I give him your [address]. In the last letter I wrote to him, we are all well at present. I will get Lucy’s [likeness?] as soon as I can and send it to you. George Robinson is married to E.P. Chandler’s daughter. You must write as soon and as often as you can. Take as good care as you can of yourself and I hope that God will care for you and bless you, your sickness may be all for the best. Be faithful to your trust. This is from your Father and friend Geo. W. Baird

Two days later Matthew was transferred to the hospital in Annapolis. That same day he wrote a friend

I presume by this time you think I have quite forgotten you, but when I tell you that I was taken sick only a few days after I wrote my last letter to you, and have been ever since, you will excuse me for not writing before. I was taken sick and laid in my tent over a week. I then went to the regiment hospital and in four days after was conveyed to a hospital in Georgetown, D.C. where I remained four weeks. I left my bed last Wednesday, and yesterday I was brought to this place where I expect to remain until I have fully recovered my health and strength. I have no doubt you have long been looking for your paper, and the Daguerreotype, I have had no opportunity to obtain either. I shall not send you my picture till I am somewhat recruited, or I am thin now it would be only a scare-crow.

As I have been away from my regiment so long I have not much news to send you. But I presume you have already heard of the success of the late naval expedition. Our troops in connection with the fleet have taken possession of Port Royal and Beaufort in South Carolina (very important points) besides a portion of the rail-road between Savannah and Charleston. This is the most important news I have to send you. You must, and I know you will be kind enough to excuse me the shortness of this letter, as I have half a score of letters received while sick that remain unanswered. I only wrote two while sick and both of those I wrote home. I write you these few lines, so you will know I have not forgotten you.

Write soon and believe me as ever your Sincere Friend Matthew Baird

On December 2 he returned to confide in his diary that 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 forgot 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.

On December 8 he replied to his father’s recent letter.

Dear Father, I received your letter of the 17th Nov. last week and was glad to hear that you were all well.

My health is so far recovered that I shall return to my regiment next week. (Today is Sunday.) Indeed I can say I am well again. You seem to think I have tried to hide from you the true state of my health. But as I told you in my last letter I was not so sick at any time but what I could [tear in the paper] walk all around my ro[om].

If I become dangerously ill I will immediately assure you of it. And when I become disabled by sickness or otherwise, I can get my discharge with out much trouble. I presume you are having considerable snow in Michigan by this time, while here the weather is beautifully warm, though we have had a few days of pretty cold weather, but no snow, and but very little frost. I should really like to be home now to eat some of the buckwheat cakes. Can’t you send me one in your next letter, steaming hot, and already buttered. Buckwheat cakes are good in cold weather at least I should think so from the price they sell at here. Such as we make at home bring three cents apiece here. That is too much buckwheat for me. The reason why I have not written before, since my last letter is because I didn’t get my pay until last Friday, and I didn’t wish to write till I could send you some money. I shall send you by mail with this letter fifteen dollars in Treasury Notes. I wish I could send you more at this time, but it is only a little more than a month until my next payment and then I will try and send you a larger sum. I shall write to Mary this week and then I will send her the dollar I promised her.

I shall write to Sammy soon. I shall return to my regiment a week from tomorrow and if I find I can’t stand the fatigue of the camp I shall then apply for discharge and come home, I tell you the truth when I say I never was healthier than I have been the past summer till I was taken down with the fever. I hope you will not give yourself any trouble, nor worry any on my account. My trust is in God. I know nothing will befall me unless it is his will and his will is just and right.

No more at present, may Heavens best blessing abide with till we meet again.

Your Affectionate Son. Matthew

A week later he returned to his diary.

Dec. 15 Still at the Hospital and likely to remain here for a while yet. No news of any importance from the Reg’t as yet. Everything seems to be quiet over the Potomac.

No special movement of the army has taken place since my absence from the regiment. The weather, although the season is so far advanced is remarkably mild and pleasant, no snow has as yet fallen and we have had but little frost.

My health is considerably improved, but still have a lingering cough.

Dec. 16 The scene on the bay has been quite exciting today, by the arrival and departure of vessels, quite a number of steamers and schooners are now lying at anchor, and at the wharf.

There is an expedition fitting up at this place intended for southern confrontations, which will soon start for its point of destination, which of course is not known by outsiders and doubtless by but few if any persons connected with it. I understand there are 30,000 men to accompany the expedition. There has been quite a military display for the past few days. Soldiers marching, drums beating, bands playing, and colors flying, has tended to enliven somewhat the monotony of hospital life and to instill into those who have lost through sickness that necessary nerve of war, a military spirit. The weather ever turns fine, though cool.

Dec. 17 Nothing of importance has occurred today, except the arrival of one or two steamers with army stores. I took a stroll along the beach this morning while the tide was out and picked up a number of Oysters which I opened and eat on the shore the first had ever eaten in that way. It was rumored here to day that the 3rd Mich. Reg’t had moved. I could not learn to what place or for what purpose. The weather has been delightful today.

Dec. 18 The scene on the wharves today has been enlivening and animated. A large brig made her appearance in the harbor early in the forenoon and anchored about a quarter of a mile from the wharves. There have also several large steamers been expected to arrive today and also a large number of troops for the expedition, neither of which, however, have yet made their appearance.

Today another four soldiers was carried to his last resting place. The sad duty was performed by the [purposely blank] Mass. Reg’t. There have been a good many deaths among the soldiers since my arrival at this place. And alas; my private opinion, from what I have seen, is, that not a few of the deaths that occur is the result of neglect. May God grant that I may never die at a hospital. Ten thousand times would I rather fall upon the field of battle, surrounded by all its terrors, and be buried by my surviving comrades in an honorable grave, than to be carried by the regardless [not legible] and interred in an unknown spot over which friends might shed a few tears, in token of sacred memory.

Today has been quite cool and cloudy, and strong indications of rain prevail.

On December 18, 1861, Dwight Tousley, also of Company E, wrote Matthew, who was in the hospital in Annapolis. Tousley himself had recently been hospitalized in Annapolis and had just rejoined the regiment at Camp Michigan outside of Washington.

I arrived in camp the 16th all right with the exception of the galling my feet [took] 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 man’s 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 [Michigan?] 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 [on this] sheet and you can cut it off.

This from your friend and fellow soldier  Dwight Tousley

Matthew’s diary picks up again the following day, December 19.

Dec. 19 The steamers New York and New Brunswick arrived today with the Eleventh Connecticut regiment. This is a very fine looking body of men, uniformed and equipped throughout. This regiment is also connected to the present expedition. A quantity of shells and several mortars also arrived from Washington. The number of vessels in the bay is increasing. The weather has been delightful today notwithstanding the indications for rain were so strong last night.

Dec. 20 Nothing has occurred today of any particular importance. The weather seems rather unfavorable and doubtful.

Dec. 21 Vessels continue to arrive. The Sherman steamer arrived, soon after which a very sad accident occurred on board. The engine had not quite stopped its motion, when one of the engineers stepped around to see that everything was right about the machinery, and unthinking he stepped 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 collision. It is thought he will not live.

Dec. 22 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 today, from Washington, with cannon, horses, ammunition and equipments. The weather has been pretty cold for a day or two.

Dec. 23 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 cozy and comfortable quarters of my room and busied myself with writing letters reading the news. The day closed with in [illegible] cold.

Dec. 24 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. . .

Matthew’s diary abruptly ends here. But on the day after Christmas, Matthew, still in the hospital at Annapolis, wrote home to his mother.

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 nonetheless 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. Matthew

Matthew was probably still in the hospital when Dwight Tousley wrote from Camp Michigan on January 10, 1862.

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 Hanley.  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 your 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 days 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

And on January 28 Matthew’s father wrote him expressing their concern over his continuing bad health.

Dear Son,

We Recd yours of the 13 we found by your letter that you are not so well as we thought you was I am very sorry that you are not getting along, but always be willing to say the Lord’s will be done not mine. Your being sick may be all for the best. We are all well at present we are doing the best we can the weather is very bad. It snowed very hard yesterday and to day it is raining very hard; the snow is about one foot deep.

I would like to have you write a letter to Robert and ask him if he still retains his Religion. He does not attend to his class meeting at all. Him and Charles and Henry Ward are about alike; neither of them has any thing to say when they are asked. I want you to talk to him, but don’t let him know that I said any thing about it [in] my letter. Robert is a good boy but he has got off the track. Write as soon as you can. Your Mother says she will answer your letter as soon as she can. This is from your Father Geo. W. Baird

February 12, Tousley wrote Matthew, again from the Camp Michigan:

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 especially 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 and 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 sees 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 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 Abram 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.

Matthew probably never returned to the regiment. He was discharged for irratito spinalis or “irritation of the spine” on April 19, 1862, at Camp Winfield Scott, Virginia.

After his discharge from the army Matthew returned home to Hope where he reentered the service in Company K, 6th Michigan Cavalry on August 30, 1862, for 3 years, crediting and listing Hope as his residence. He was mustered on October 13 at Grand Rapids where the regiment was being organized. The 6th Cavalry remained on duty at Grand Rapids until December 10 when it left for Washington where it participated in the defenses of the capital until June of 1863.

Sometime shortly after the regiment arrived in Washington, Matthew wrote home discussing their accommodations, among other things.

Since we came here, we have been, and are now, quartered at the Soldiers’ Retreat, near the Capitol. Our fare has been none the best, but we expect to go into camp tomorrow, when, of course we will far better. We are to go into camp on Meridian Hill. The Hon. F. W. Kellogg was in our quarters an hour ago, and made a short address. He assures us that we will be armed according to contract, with a five-shooting [sic] breech-loading rifle (we came off without our arms) and that we shall be properly fitted and prepared before we take the field. He assures us also, that as soon as we get into camp and things are regulated, we shall be promptly paid, and things shall be arranged to our entire satisfaction. And now a word about our horses. Six squadrons of them were shipped before the regiment started and the balance soon after; the last arrived last evening. The jaunt was very hard for them, and they show it badly. A few were lost on the way, one from Company K. We have also been short of forage for them on account of some irregularity in the Quartermaster’s department. But it is hoped that in a few days, all these difficulties will be overcome, then soldiers and horses will fare better.

The health of the regiment, generally, is good. There are but few sick at present, and we left but few sick ones behind.

The weather has been delightful since our arrival; more like the month of April than that of December; some days almost hot -- the nights though, are rather chilly.

The 6th Michigan Cavalry occupied Gettysburg, Pennsylvania briefly on June 28, was engaged at Hanover, Pennsylvania on June 30 and participated in the Battle of Gettysburg from July 1-3 as well as in the pursuit of Lee’s forces back into Virginia. Matthew was reported absent sick in October of 1863, and by January of 1864 was at Brigade headquarters.

He eventually recovered and returned to duty when he was listed as a Sergeant and taken prisoner on March 1, 1864. Matthew reportedly returned to duty on May 30, 1865. The 6th participated in the Grand Review in Washington on May 23 and on June 1 was transferred to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas where the veterans and recruits were consolidated into the 1st Michigan Cavalry later that month. Matthew was mustered out of service on November 24, 1865, at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Matthew returned to Barry County.

He married New York native Margaret “Maggie” Bowker (1841-1875), on March 4, 1866, in Allegan County. They had at least one child, a son Ellis (b. 1871).

By 1870 he was working as a farmer and living with his wife Maggie and an 8-year-old boy named Charles Sever (?) in Hickory Corners, Barry Township, Barry County. (In 1870 there was a 66-year-old Matthew Baird, living alone and working as a grocer in Hope, Barry County.)

After Maggie’s death from paralysis in 1875 Matthew married Carrie A. (1852-1880). They had at least two children: Benjamin (b. 1878) and Robert (b. 1880).

It is quite likely that Carrie died in childbirth since she died on April 2, 1880, the day Robert was born. Later that year Matthew listed himself as a widower and working as a farmer in Barry, Barry County.

Sometime after Carrie’s death Matthew married his third wife, Lydia (1852-1943).

Matthew was residing in Barry, Barry County in 1890 (possibly in Cedar Creek) and 1894, and possibly lived in Cedar Creek most of his postwar life.

In 1885 he applied for and received pension no. 431,255, dated June 24, 1886.

Matthew he died of heart disease on November 7, 1908, in Bedford, Calhoun County, and was buried in Cedar Creek Cemetery in Hope, as were his two first wives and finally Lydia, all next to Maggie’s family.

In 1916 his widow Lydia applied for and received a pension (no. 818,934).