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W.H. Baird

W.H. Baird

Federal (USV)


William Henderson Baird

(1831 - 1864)

Home State: New York

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 126th New York Infantry

Before Antietam

Raised on a farm, he went to sea as an able seaman at age 18 (about 1849) and was a carriage maker in Geneva, NY by 1853. In 1855 he went to Wisconsin, where he probably met his wife, and worked as a carriage maker in Beloit and in a machine shop in Janesville. He returned to carriage-making in Geneva in 1858.

In 1861 he organized an infantry company, enrolled for state service on 24 May 1861 at Geneva, and was commissioned Captain, Company H, 38th New York Infantry on 3 June. He first saw action with them on 21 July 1861 at Bull Run. He was promoted to Major of the regiment on 1 January 1862 and was discharged on 16 July 1862. He was commissioned Major of the new 126th New York Infantry on 9 August 1862.

On the Campaign

He assumed command of the regiment at Harpers Ferry on 14 September 1862 after Colonel Sherrill was wounded. He was captured with his command there the next day.

The rest of the War

He was paroled at Harpers Ferry and sent to the parole camp at Chicago, IL with his regiment. He was dismissed from the service on 8 November 1862 for his role at Harpers Ferry, but the "disability" was "removed" by the Secretary of War on 26 June 1863 and he was mustered back into the regiment, commissioned Lieutenant Colonel on 31 July. He was promoted to Colonel on 2 May 1864 (not mustered) but was killed in action near Petersburg, VA on 16 June 1864.

References & notes

Basic service from the Adjutant General.1 His gravesite is on Findagrave, source also of his picture, part of an engraving from a photograph posted by Mike Serpa.

He married Abigail Chase (1836-1911) about 1856 and they had at least 2 children.

More on the Web

An extensive collection of his papers in the Geneva Historical Society are online from New York Heritage, source of some details above. The collection includes the correspondence from the War Department clearing him to re-enter the service in 1863.


08/19/1831; Auburn, NY


06/16/1864; Petersburg, VA; burial in Indian Mound Cemetery, Moravia, NY


1   State of New York, Adjutant-General, Annual Report of the Adjutant General of the State of New York [year]: Registers of the [units], 43 Volumes, Albany: James B. Lyon, State Printer, 1893-1905, For the Year 1903, Ser. No. 36, pg. 861  [AotW citation 22355]