Letter – Cornelius Baker, 31 October 1864


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Letter written by Private Cornelius Baker of Company K, 1st ME Cavalry, to his mother, from the headquarters of the 3rd Brigade near Petersburg, VA. Baker writes that he is still cooking, though he has not been able to bake as much since returning from the hospital. His health has improved as the weather has cooled down. He mentions how George (possibly George Baker, 19th Maine Infantry) is a prisoner in Georgia. He describes a recently-fought battle [Hatcher’s Run, VA], and mentions how his regiment suffered heavy losses. Baker’s regiment captured several prisoners, including the African American drivers of ten Confederate army wagons. Much of the regiment has gone home, having served their full term.

-Page 1-

Head Quarters

3d Brigade, Q.M.D.

Near Petersburg, Va.

                               October 31/64

Dear Mother

Your very kind and long looked for letter was received this morning, for which I am very thankful. I am pleased to hear from you once more, mother, and to hear that you [are] enjoying a comfortable degree of health.

     My health is as good as can be expected. I am still at the same old business (cooking). I have been obliged to give up my old mess on account of my health. I have been unable to attend to baking since I came from the hospital.  But since cool weather has made its appearance, I have improved in health

-Page 2-

very rapidly. George is in Georgia, a prisoner. I know of no way that you can get a letter to him. I will ascertain as soon as possible if there is any way to get letters to him, and if there is, I will let you know at once.

     This is a cold, rainy evening, but I have a very comfortable chance for which I am truly thankful.

     We had a severe battle near this place last Tuesday. Our regiment lost heavily. I think there were about 90 killed, wounded, and missing. Among those that were killed was Lieut. W Collins [Co. E]. He was a fine, promising young man, and is deeply lamented by all that knew him. Our men captured quite a number of prisoners, ten army wagons loaded with provisions, and

-Page 3-

the drivers (all colored men). One of them is with me. He is the smartest darkey that I have seen since I have been out here. He says that God alone knows the suffering there is among the poor class.

     Quite a number of our boys have gone home, having served out their term. I shall remain here until spring, then if my life is spared, I shall come to see you and all my old friends.

     It is too cold and chilly for me to write much more. Give my love to Aunty; tell her she is thought of and most always spoken of by me. Charlie Lyons is here with me and sends his love to you. Give my love to all inquiring friends. Good bye. Direct your letters

-Page 4-

Corenelius V. Baker

3rd Brigade 1st Maine Cavalry

Washington D.C. 3d

Street to 1st Maine Cavalry

3d Brigade QMD

Washington DC

                        Yours affect.                         

C. V. Baker

Cornelius V. Baker, from Houlton, ME, enlisted at age 29 in Co. K, 1st Maine Cavalry, on March 5, 1862. He served as a private, and was detailed to the quartermaster’s dept. in 1863, and on June 15, 1864 as a teamster. He was discharged March 5, 1865

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