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Collection Number: 03506

Collection Title: William B. Baker Papers, 1859-1866

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the section for more information.


Funding from the Watson-Brown Foundation, Inc., supported the encoding of this finding aid and microfilming of this collection.

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Size 1.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 200 items)
Abstract William B. Baker of Goodales Corner, Me., was a federal soldier in Company D, 1st Maine Cavalry Regiment, Army of the Potomac during the Civil War. The collection consists chiefly of letters written home by Baker while he was in Maine, Maryland; Washington, D.C.; Virginia; and Pennsylvania. The letters describe living conditions at various camps; certain battles; and everyday concerns like clothing needs, food, health, weather, salary, and the difficulty of sending and receiving mail. Baker commented on the morality of men, the relationship between officers and privates, religious services he attended, the peddlers who frequented camp, friends he saw, the treatment of Confederate dead, the attitude of the officers toward ending the war, and a burial he witnessed. Also included are a few letters from his brother, Abisha Baker, and others, and Baker's diary, written while he was on active duty in Virginia, January-mid-May 1864, and while he was in a Confederate hospital in Richmond, Va., slowly dying of a leg wound, mid-May-July 1864. The diary notes troop movements, enemy engagements, Baker's experience with his wound, treatment he received, and other matters.
Creator Baker, William B., 1839-1864.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the William B. Baker Papers #3506, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
Microfilm copy (filmed 2007) available.
  • Reel 1: Entire collection
Alternate Form of Material
Typed transcripts of most letters are available.
Acquisitions Information
Purchased from Goodspeed's Bookshop, Boston, Mass., in October 1960.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

William B. Baker of Goodales Corner, Me., was a federal soldier in Company D, 1st Maine Cavalry Regiment, Army of the Potomac during the Civil War.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection consists of the Civil War letters and diary of William B. Baker of Goodales, Me. Baker served in Company D of the 1st Maine Cavalry Regiment under Captain Spurling. His letters are addressed to his parents and his sisters Mercie and Fannie. Baker's letters describe living conditions at various camps; certain battles; and everyday concerns like clothing needs, food, health, weather, salary, and the difficulty of sending and receiving mail. Baker commented on the morality of men; the relationship between officers and privates; religious services he attended; the peddlers who frequented camp; friends he saw; the treatment of Confederate dead; and the attitude of the officers toward ending the war, which he felt would have been more enthusiastic had their salaries been less. He even described a burial he witnessed. As the war progressed, Baker frequently expressed his weariness with it; however, even in his last letter, written in August 1864 while he was dying of a leg injury he had received in May, he was still convinced that he had been correct in joining and only regretted that he would not see his family again.

Also included are a few letters from his brother, Abisha Baker, and others, and Baker's diary, written while he was on active duty in Virginia, from January to mid-May 1864, and while he was in a Confederate hospital in Richmond, Va., slowly dying of a leg wound, from mid-May to July 1864. The diary notes troop movements, enemy engagements, Baker's experience with his wound, treatment he received, and other matters.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Papers, 1859-1864.

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Processing Information

Processed by: E. Ragan and S. Danovitch, 1960-1963

Encoded by: Nancy Kaiser, March 2005

Funding from the Watson-Brown Foundation, Inc., supported the encoding of this finding aid and microfilming of this collection.

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