J.R. Baird Collection

Transcribed by: Wanda Ray

Transcription Date: 2.10.2006


Shelbyville, Tenn Mar 18, 1863


Dear Ma,

Cousin Anderson came up yesterday with a substitute for his son George and I must acknowledge, it looks like quite an easy and good way to avoid the drudgery, difficulties and dangers of war.  Though when we come to consider the thing well, it does appear as tho’ a man was failing to do his duty and after was has terminated, then to say, “I had a substitute in the army” will sound rather awkward and cowardly.  However, if this conflict lasts much longer I will feel paid to give my little fortune for of them Yankees.

Ma, I have been in rather poor health since my return.  My same old troubles have seized upon me(from change of water and diet I suppose) and has been with me for over a week, tho’ I’ve only been bad but one day that I had to be excused from duty.  I do sincerely hope that you have by this time recovered from your swamp chills and swollen ankles.  Pas spoke as tho’ he thought that you would certainly improve at Bladen Springs if not at Aunt Lizzies.  I see plainly now that there will be no possible chance for my meeting you and Pa in N.C. this summer.  Bragg won’t furlough upon any terms or consideration. Indeed there is policy in it for  Rosencrantz is just in front of us with a much larger force than we can have and every man must be held up to the mark.  Two months will in my opinion unfold to the world some bloody work or hard marching one way or the other.  I think we will either do some desperate fighting near here or make another raid in Kentucky.  However this is just a surmise of my own for no one in reality can say which will happen.  I have been vaccinated and it is taking very fine.  All cases of small pox have been put in quarantine. So there is no more danger if it is in camp than any where else, in-fact less, for it is scattered all along the Rail Road every where.

I have just heard that George Anderson’s substitute has been refused so George is a soldier yet.  One of my mess mates tells me that I have been reported by two officers of the battalion for my valiant conduct in Murfreesboro fight, but say nothing of the kind until I am better satisfied and informed.

All the relation in fine health.  Maj. R. is looking rather badly yet, tho’ up and for duty.  Ma I never felt so much attached to Uncle James family before as I have since my last visit there.  My love to every one of them from oldest to youngest.

Make Cousin Ella the Blue Byrd and Johnny all write to me.  I would be so glad to hear from them all.

As ever, I am your affectionate Son

Jno. R. Baird