Collection Title:  John Rupert Baird Collection

Collection Number:  M205 / 2006.16

Dates:  Inclusive – 03/08/1832 to 1910

Bulk – 03/08/1821 to 03/27/1866

Volume:  .30 Cubic Feet

Processor:  Wanda Ray


Biographical/Historical Sketch:

John Rupert Baird was a native of Mississippi, born at the plantation home of his parents, Dr. and Mrs. James M. Baird, near Wahalak, Noxubee County, on May 6, 1841. He enlisted in Blythe’s Mississippi Regiment, Cheatham’s Brigade and selected as a sharpshooter. On April 26, 1866, he married Miss Nannie Catchings, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Thomas J. Catchings at their home in Brandon, Mississippi. They settled in Sunflower County, Mississippi where he accumulated a large landed estate and became prominent as a leading citizen. Many years before his death his health failed; but in the midst of his great suffering he was bright and cheerful, always sanguine, genial, and hospitable, interested in all matters of private and public concern. He died at his home in Columbus, Mississippi on August 27, 1916, and was laid to rest in Friendship Cemetery, of that city. Their children were Dr. Thomas C. Baird, died March 8, 1916, and James C. Baird of Baird, Sunflower County, Mississippi. Dr. Thomas C. Baird was the father of Dorothy Baird Allen, mother of R. Julian Allen, Jr. and David Baird Allen. She was the grandmother of R. Julian Allen III, great grandmother of Kimberly Keach Allen, Katherine Perry Allen, and Karen Baird Allen.

Prior to his death in 1910, the following story of his service as a soldier was dictated by John Rupert Baird in 1910 at his home, approximately seven miles from Indianola, in Baird, Mississippi. The following is copied from a transcript provided by the family and was originally published in the confederate Veteran magazine February 1917:

“I was at Bethany College, Virginia, when war was declared and started home at one, going down the Ohio River from Wheeling to Cairo, then down the Mississippi to Vicksburg. Federal troops were then stationed at Cairo. As my father Dr. James M. Baird, with his family, had refugeed to his plantation in Sunflower County, Mississippi, to escape the Federals, I went directly there. Soon after I enlisted in Blythe’s Mississippi Regiment, Cheatham’s Brigade. We went first to Union City, Tennessee and drilled. I was selected as a sharpshooter and placed in the battalion of Major William Richards. We next camped for a short while at New Madrid, Missouri, going thence to Columbus, Kentucky into winter quarters, afterwards dropping back to Union City and vicinity. From there we went to Shiloh, participating in that battle. We then fell back and were transferred to Chattanooga and Stevensonville, marched through Tennessee into Kentucky, being in General Bragg’s army, camped a day or two at Cave City, and had a battle at Mumfordsville in General James Chalmer’s brigade. Here Col. William Richards, of Columbus, Mississippi, and of our battalion of sharpshooters, was shot through the lungs with a Minie ball. I was wounded on the nose, lip, and hand, and lost three teeth by being struck by a fragment of shell.

I went home on a three weeks’ furlough, then rejoined my command between Atlanta and Chattanooga, when we marched to Chickamauga and fought there and at Missionary Ridge, where I was captured and kept in prison at Rock Island for nineteen months. I was detailed as a clerk in the adjutant’s office, on parole oath, to keep his books, records, etc., and was afterwards detailed in the office of the surgeon in charge as clerk. For this I was paid a small amount and received all the citizen’s clothes I needed and many comforts. I was the freedom of the city, also of Moline and Davenport, under parole oath. During this time I made the acquaintance of many Southern sympathizers, known as “Copperheads” and frequently visited Miss Kate Perry and the Misses Buford all of Kentucky. I remained at the prison until all were exchanged, and when ready to return home I was given $25 and furnished transportation to Cairo and thence down the Mississippi River to Greenville. The captain of the boat refused to stop there, but went over to Gaine’s Landing, Arkansas, where I spent the night on a plantation.

The following morning I attempted to cross in a dugout, but was soon compelled to throw the water out vigorously with the paddles; and it became a problem as to whether to return or to continue to the Mississippi shore. When about half over, the boat began to sink. I eased myself out, first passing my arm through the handles of my grip, which contained many trinkets for the dear ones at home, such as beautiful pieces of jewelry made by me and other prisoners from rubber combs and other articles and inlaid with shells resembling mother-of-pearl. As the boat turned over I caught the gunnels and rested my chin upon the end which afforded a support. Thus floated for an hour and a half, until I saw a boat coming downstream. When the boat had come near enough, an Irish deck hand threw out an immense rope which struck me across the face and head, but I grasped it. I then held up my grip for him to take, but with an oath he said I was a greenhorn not to let it drop. Finally he reached down, and just as he caught the handles of the grip they broke, and it sank out of sight forever. I was in a dazed condition for a while after being taken on board. Fortunately, a Rock Island comrade from Louisiana named Hazzard, who happened to be a passenger, recognized me and procured restoratives which brought me warmth and life, and dry clothing was also provided me. I was landed at Greenville, where I borrowed a mule and soon reached my home in Sunflower County. The kind friend, who loaned the mule was Mr. William Blanton, Greenville.”

Scope and Content:

This collection contains correspondence from 1832 to 1866.

John Rupert Baird Collection                   M205 / 2006.16


Box 1 of 1

Box # / Folder #

1/1       03/08/1832      To Col. B.M. Terrell     From A. Pollard           Request for Minute Book

1/2       07/05/1849      To Col. B.M. Terrell     From Moor & Lyne      Financial & yellow fever.

1/3       08/19/1850      To Col. B.M. Terrell     From Moor & Lyne      Financial

1/4       09/14/1850      To Col. B.M. Terrell     From Moor & Lyne      Financial

1/5       02/15/1853      To Col. B.M. Terrell     From George Gray       Request for cooking ware.

1/6       04/03/1860      To JRBaird, at college  From Mother                Swamp news; sending money

1/7       12/27/1860      To JRB’s brother          From JRB, at college    Feelings about the war; elections

1/8       03/02/1860      To JRB, at college        From Father                 Feelings about war; money; report

To JRB, at college        From Mother               Resist alcohol and cigars.

1/9       06/17/1861      To JRB                        From Father                 Feelings about enlistment

1/10     03/05/1862     To Father                     From JRB                    KY & TN; marching

1/11     09/18/1862       To Parents                   From JRB                    Munfordville KY surrender

1/12     03/19/1863      To Mrs.JM Baird         From J.M. Baird           Cannons Yazoo City; fear G’wood

1/13     08/28/1863      To Father                     From JRB                    In Chattanooga TN; war life

1/14     08/29/1863      To Father                     From JRB                    Chattanooga ; Bragg/Rosencranz

1/15     03/18/1863      To Mother                    From JRB                    Poor health; small pox quarantine

1/16     10/18/1863      To Mother                    From JRB                    Find sub and get 40 days leave

1/17     10/19/1863      To Father                     From JRB                    Find Recruit and get leave; GA

1/18     09/30/1864      To Sister                      From JRB                    Written in Hospital Dept.; life.

1/19     12/10/1865      To Nannie (future wife)From JRB         Opposed to long engagements

1/20     12/21/1865      To Nannie                    From JRB                    Visit to Columbus; Crawfordville

1/21     04/20/1866      To Nannie                    From JRB                    Nervous about marrying

1/22     05/28/1866      To Col. B.M. Terrell     From E.L. Casby          Financial; cotton prices

1/23     01/02/1866      To JRB(at Vaiden)       From Nannie (Brandon)  Portions of letter missing; Brandon

1/24     01/21/1866      To Nannie                    From JRB                    Feelings about marriage; will visit

1/25     03/06/1866      To Nannie                    From JRB                    Toothache remedy

1/26     03/13/1866      To Nannie                    From JRB                    From “Beautys Retreat”; gardening

1/27     03/14/1866      To Nannie                    From JRB                    Jones Landing; happy

1/28     03/20/1866      To Nannie                    From JRB                    Thoughts about a parents’ love

1/29     03/27/1866      To Nannie                    From JRB                    Beautys Retreat; measles;

1/30     This file consists of records from the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library which contains a copy of a portion of the history of Sunflower County 1844-1976; obituary for J.R. Baird; page from the 1880 census; cemetery information on the Baird family; Chancery Court petition upon the estate of Thomas Catchings Baird.