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    Indian Wars Archive

    [Indian Wars]. Medal of Honor Winner George W. Baird Archive. An extensive archive consisting of two diaries, appointments and commissions, including one signed by President Rutherford B. Hayes; letters, and miscellaneous manuscripts, including autobiographical notes; original draft of a section of his published history of "General Miles's Indian Campaigns"; poems, including one on Abraham Lincoln; and a period copy of General Nelson A. Miles's report on operations under Miles's command for the year ending October 17, 1877.

    George William Baird (1839-1906) was born in Milford, Connecticut and attended Yale College until his junior year, when he enlisted in the 1st Connecticut Light Battery in 1862. He served in the Civil War in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, and in March 1864 he was promoted to colonel and assigned to the command of the 32nd Regiment of U. S. Colored Troops. After the war Baird entered the regular army and was commissioned as second lieutenant, 19th Infantry and later transferred to the 37th Infantry. Promoted to First Lieutenant in April 1867, Baird transferred to the 5th Infantry in 1869 and served in the Indian Wars in Kansas, New Mexico, Indian Territory, Texas, and Montana until 1878, when he was wounded in action. Baird received the Medal of Honor for his gallantry in action against the Nez Perce Indians at Bear Paw Mountain, Montana, September 30, 1877, where he was twice wounded. He later served in the 5th Infantry and as adjutant general of General Nelson A. Miles's field commands from January 1871 to June 1879. In June of 1879, he was appointed major and paymaster. Baird was promoted to lieutenant colonel and paymaster general in July, 1899, and to brigadier general in February 1903. He retired from active service in February 1903. He wrote "General Miles's Indian Campaigns" for Century Magazine in July 1891.

    Highlights of the archive are:
    1) Diary, 3" x 5.75", 134 pages (90 pages with entries, 44 blank), covering period from August 1, 1874 through January 20, 1875. The diary covers a period when Baird was serving with the 5th Infantry during the Indian wars in the West. Daily entries record weather, description of marches, distances of marches, the country through which the regiment marched, and encounters with Indians.

    Baird, participating in the Indian Territory Expedition under General Miles, describes a battle with Indians in Texas on August 30, 1874. "After marching about eight miles from the river we met the Indians drawn up along the crest of a hill. They dash down and attack Baldwin's [Lieutenant Frank Baldwin] sectn. [?] but are repulsed-both Battns. of Cor. are deployed and march up in two lines, the Gatling guns move to the front and the Parrott, delayed with the train, is sent for....Line is deployed with 1 'Batt' 6 Cor. on the right, Cos. 'D' 'F' & 'G' deployed and 'L' held as reserve for skirmishers. 2nd 'Batt' on the left, accompanied by 1 Gatling gun, Cos. 'A' 'H' & 'M' deployed. C. 'G' which had been first sent to the right was sent across the field to their own Battn. In the center is the Parrott Gun-and Co. 'E' 5th Inf."

    Baird describes one attack of Baldwin's on November 8, 1874 on an Indian camp that resulted in rescue two sisters that were being held captive by the Indians after the Indians slaughtered the sisters' family. This action earned Baldwin his second Medal of Honor. The German family, which consisted of the father, mother, four young girls and two young boys where moving from Georgia to find a home in Colorado. On the morning of September 11, 1874 this family was attacked by Indians from various tribes. The father, mother and two sons were killed and scalped in the presence of the four girls. These girls were then split into two groups and sold to other Indian tribes. Baldwin's attack completely surprised the Indians, and not only did his troops rescue the two of the German girls being held but also chased the Indians, completely routing the tribe. This defeat cause most of the hostile Indians to either surrender or move out of the area ending most Indian conflicts there. On November 8, Baird recorded the attack and rescue in his diary, when he wrote that an officer brought word that "Baldwin is about to attack an Indian camp some ten miles from ahead...Wallace's Co. is sent on rapidly. Gen. M., self and orderlies with scout McFadden go on...find indications of a fight in 'braks' on north side of North branch of McClellan Cr. Follow wagon trail...and reach camp....Learn that Baldwin fought with Co. 'D' 'G' Cor. & Co. 'D' 5th Inf. and our howitzer, a band of Cheyennes of more than 100 warriors, beat them and rescued two little white captives named Julia (aet.7) and Adelaide (aet. 5) Germans captured in Kansas in route from Georgia to Colorado."

    2) Diary, 3" x 5.5", 181 pages (147 pages filled, 34 blank), covering period from December 20, 1876 through October 8, 1877. Like the dairy above, this one covers a period when Baird was serving with the 5th Infantry during the Indian wars in the West. Part of the diary covers his time in Montana and his participation in the Nez Perce War.

    In his diaries, Baird seldom mentioned national affairs, especially concerning a political nature. He diverged from his silence in an entry dated March 4, 1877, when he referred to the disputed presidential election of 1876. "Have we a president? is the great question, to which no answer can be given before the arrival of the mail. Opinions (mine among them) favor the idea that Tilden is the man to be inaugurated." It turned out that Republican Rutherford B. Hayes won the close election against Democrat Samuel Tilden.

    On March 18, 1877 Baird reported on the visit to camp of a delegation of Indians. "Indians came in, 160 in all-104 men, 56 squaws & children. Names of chiefs-(Sioux) Wahatoo-Little Hawk (uncle of Crazy Horse) Red Hawk, Rock or Four Crows, Horse Road, Hard to Kill, Crazy Horse (Cheyennes) White Bull...Little Chief, Two Moons, Old Wolf, Magpie Eagle, Little Creek, Spotted Wolf, Sitting Night, Chief Bear." The next day, Baird wrote of the discussions between the U.S. Army and the Indian chiefs concerning terms of surrender as agreed upon the previous February. "discussions by day & night as to...position of Indians. Gen. M. favors holding them forcibly if necessary-and sending out to their people to come in. Maintaining that by coming in they have practically either surrendered...or else have not kept their word." On March 22, Baird reported that a number of the chiefs decide to remain in camp and surrender.

    The last month of Baird's diary deals with the Nez Perce War and his role in the conflict, in which he was wounded at Bear Paw Mountains in October 1877. On September 30, Baird recorded the lead up to the encounter that would result on the end of the war. "Start at daylight of a cold morning...and move westward to a fine running stream....At 7 A.M. Brigadier & Indian scouts report that the village is but a few miles off. Command. Moves at ordinary pace for some 3 or 4 miles...Batts. 7 Co. and 5 Inf. go along our right flank...Two first battns. attack village....Indians fight hard & shoot well. Capt. Hale & Lt. Biddle...killed...and large loss in 7 Cor. in men-especially Co. 'K.' In conveying orders along the line of 7th. Cav, I got a wound thro' left arm & left ear. Day closed with greater part of Indians shut in the village & ...our hands." The next day, October 1, a wounded Baird wrote "Indians show signs of giving up. Chief Joseph & some others come out and talk with Gen. Miles near our lines." On October 4, 1877, Baird noted that "Joseph & his following surrender during the day-giving up arms & ammunition."

    3) Period copy of Baird's appointment as colonel in the 32nd Regiment of Colored Troops, 14.75" x 9 7/8", dated March 7, 1864; period copy of Baird's appointment as 2nd Lieutenant in the 37th Regiment Infantry, effective from May 11, 1866, 15. 75" x 19.5", dated April 11, 1867; period copy of Baird's appointment as 1st Lieutenant in the 37th Regiment of Infantry, effective April 27, 1867, 15.75" x 19.5", dated June 17, 1868. Signed letter from Assistant Adjutant General to Baird, 8" x 10", dated January 15, 1878, forwarding copies of the three appointments to Baird in compliance with his request.

    4) Appointment as paymaster with rank of major, effective from June 23, 1879, 15.75" x 19.5", dated June 25, 1879, with seal of U.S. War Office and signed by President Rutherford B. Hayes. Form letter signed by Adjutant General Edward Townsend to Baird, 7 7/8" x 10", dated June 25, 1879, forwarding official appointment as paymaster with rank of major. Two-page autograph letter signed, 7 5/8" x 9.75", dated June 26, 1879, Washington, D.C., from Baird to the Adjutant General, U.S. Army, acknowledging receipt of his commission as major and paymaster. One-page letter signed, 7 5/8" x 9.75", dated June 26, 1879, Washington, D.C., from Baird to the adjutant, 5th U.S. Infantry, informing the latter of his commission as major and paymaster.

    5) Seven page manuscript signed, 8.5" x 14", undated, of poem entitled "Sixty-One" in honor of the Union Army in the Civil War. The first stanza reads:

    "In this age of steam and iron
    When a nation is born in a day,
    When the dead and the past forgotten,
    From the present and fading away,
    Where the Stripes and Stars, unchallenged
    Float from ocean to setting sun,
    Recall we our age heroic,
    Our glorious 'Sixty-one."

    6) Pamphlet, 4 pages bound in paper wrappers, 5.5" x 8.5", entitled The 32nd Regiment, U.S. C. T. at the Battle of Honey Hill, written by Baird and printed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1889.

    7) Three-page (of a bifolium) manuscript poem, 7 7/8" x 10.5", dated May 1895, and signed by Baird, entitled "Our Land and Our Flag."

    8) Two-page (of a bifolium) manuscript poem, 7.75" x 9.75", dated April 19, 1880, signed by Baird, entitled "In Memoriam."

    9) Two-page (of a bifolium) manuscript poem, 8" x 10.5", dated circa August 1889, and signed by Baird, untitled. Baird notes at end of poem that he submitted it "for use in the exercises at the First Congregational Church, Milford, Conn. on the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the settlement of the town."

    10) Seven-page manuscript, 8" x 10", undated and unsigned, addressed to the editor of the Army and Nay Journal concerning "the importance of the affairs of the Army Mutual Aid Association to a very large number of your readers." The Army Mutual Aid Association was founded in 1879 by a group of Army officers in response to the Battle of Little Big Horn, where there were few survivors to aid the families of those soldiers killed in battle.

    11) Eighteen-page (5 bifolia) manuscript, 8" x 12.5", circa 1891, draft of part of Baird's article on "General Miles's Indian Campaigns" that was published in the July 1891 issue of The Century Magazine, 351-369. This draft is a longer, unedited, version of the final published article. There is much in the draft that did not make it into the final, edited version. This draft also appears to be incomplete and not the full draft of the article.

    12) Sixty-three (16 bifolia) page manuscript, 8" x 12.5", undated, in Baird's hand, entitled "Autobiographical Notes."

    The notes, written for his children, begin with Baird stating his reason for composing the sketch. "As my children have hitherto lived, & will probably hereafter live, their lives for the most part remote from my early surroundings, I think that it may interest them to learn something on my experiences as a boy and that the experience of my later years may be of interest to them [for] other reasons."

    13) Nineteen-page manuscript poem, 8.25" x 10.5", dated June 1894, and signed by Baird, entitled 'The Army of the Potomac."

    14) Seven-page (2 bifolia) manuscript poem, 7.75" x 9.25", undated, in hand of Baird, entitled "Decoration Day."

    15) Five-page manuscript poem, 7 5/8" x 12.5", dated May 1889, and signed by Baird. Untitled poem in honor of Abraham Lincoln. First five stanzas are found in Baird's poem "Decoration Day." The first stanza and fifth stanzas are reproduced here:

    "Grand were the words of our martyr
    Our last great martyr to freedom
    Spoken 'mid graves of the thousands
    Who'd battled, and conquered and fallen:
    Thus simply and grandly he told it,
    The tale of their death and their valor,
    In his eloquence rare he embalmed it,
    The simple, grand martyred one, Lincoln."

    16) A twenty-nine page manuscript, 8" x 13", a period copy in secretarial hand of General Nelson A. Miles's report on operations under his command for the year ending October 17, 1877. Miles's report covers his battles with Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse and the Nez Perce War of 1877, which began when the southern branch of the Nez Perce led by Chief Joseph refused to give up their ancestral lands (Oregon-Idaho border) and enter a reservation. When negotiations broke down and Nez Perce killed settlers in early 1877, the 1st Cavalry was sent to compel them to come into the reservation. Chief Joseph chose to resist and undertook an epic retreat of some 1,600 miles through Idaho, Yellowstone Park, and Montana during which he engaged 11 separate commands of the Army in 13 battles and skirmishes in a period of 11 weeks. The Nez Perce chieftain revealed remarkable skill as a tactician and his braves demonstrated exceptional discipline in numerous engagements, especially those on the Clearwater River (July 11), in Big Hole Basin (August 9-12), and in the Bear Paw Mountains where he surrendered with the remnants of his band to Colonel Miles on October 4, 1877. Maj. Gen. O. O. Howard, commander of the Department of the Columbia, and Col. John Gibbon also played a prominent part in the pursuit of Joseph, which, by the end of September 1877 had involved elements of the 1st, 2d, 5th, and 7th Cavalry, the 5th Infantry, and the 4th Artillery.

    Miles's report begins by recounting his encounters with Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. On January 7, 1877, Miles's forces captured a number of prominent Indian leaders, whom he used for negotiating purposes.

    "The capture of the Indians...proved to be an important affair as affording means of communicating with the hostile camp...offering the terms upon which a surrender would be accepted: namely, unconditional, with subsequent compliance with such orders as should be received from higher authorities, at the same time informing them that in case of a non-compliance the troops would move against them again." The Indians in February 1877 accepted the conditions offered by Miles and "the terms...given were repealed and in various councils, and frank and free communications, a feeling of confidence and good faith was engendered." Soon thereafter, Miles reported that more than two thousand Indians, led by 'Crazy Horse' 'Little Hawk' 'Little Big Man' the 'Rock' and others...surrendered at Red Cloud and Spotted Tail agencies. In the meantime Sitting Bull had gathered his camp south of the Yellowstone, and when Crazy Horse's following decided to place themselves under subjection to the government he, in order to avoid surrendering...retreated to the northern boundary and sought refuge on Canadian soil: his following was then in a very destitute condition, almost entirely out of ammunition, having lost everything except their guns and ponies, and have since declared their allegiance to, and purpose to remain under the protection of the British government."

    After dealing with Crazy Horse, and with Sitting Bull out of range, Miles concentrated on the threat posed by the Nez Perce. The climatic engagement with Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce took place in the days leading up to October 4, 1877, with Miles's "Actg. Asst. Adjt. General Geo. W. Baird" participating in the fighting. On September 30 Baird, "while conveying orders and majoring the command with his own bravery was severely wounded." The final attack on the Nez Perce is described by Miles: "the vigorous attack was as vigorously met and every advance made was stubbornly contested, but with a courageous persistency worthy the highest commendation, the troops-dismounted now-held the lines first taken and were advanced to command every point of the Indians' position except the beds of the ravines, whence, it became apparent they could only be forced by a charge or by siege....Lieut. Woodruff and a small detachment 5th Infantry, charged down the slope, along the open valley of the creek and reached the west end of the Indian village, but the deadly fire of the Indians, with magazine guns disabled thirty five per cent (35%0 of his men and rendered it impossible for them to take the remainder of the village; they however inflicted severe loss upon the enemy and held their ground until withdrawn: the attack showed that any charge, even if successful, would be attended with severe loss on our part....On the morning of October 1st, I opened communication with the Nez Perces and Chief Joseph and several of his warriors came out under a flag of truce. They showed a willingness to surrender and brought up a part of their arms...but (as I believe) becoming suspicious from some remarks that were made in English in their hearing, those in camp hesitated to come forward and lay down their arms." Chief Joseph did surrender on October 5, 1877.

    Nelson Appleton Miles (1839-1925) was born on the family farm near Westminster, Massachusetts and attended local schools and received rudimentary military instruction from a former French officer. When the Civil War broke out, he recruited a company of volunteers and received a commission as captain in September 1861, beginning a distinguished military career. Miles served on General Oliver O. Howard's staff and was wounded at the Battle of Fair Oaks. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel, 61st New York Volunteer Infantry, in May 1862 for gallantry in action. Miles replaced his seriously wounded commander at the battle of Antietam and was promoted to colonel in September 1862. He was again wounded in the battle of Fredericksburg in 1862, and again at the battle of Chancellorsville in 1863, where his gallant conduct later was recognized with the brevet of brigadier general (1867) and the Medal of Honor (1892). He received recognition from Congress for his conduct in the battles of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania, and suffered slight wounds at the battle of Petersburg. In May 1864, Miles was appointed brigadier general of volunteers. In October 1865, he received a promotion to major general of volunteers. Miles served as commander of the District of Fort Monroe with supervision over Confederate President Jefferson Davis when he was imprisoned there. During 1866-1867 he commanded the District of North Carolina during Reconstruction, 1866-1867. In 1868 Miles married General William Tecumseh Sherman's niece, Mary Hoyt Sherman. He later participated in the frontier Indian wars, specifically in operations against Central Plains tribes (1869-1874) and Northern Plains tribes (1874-1880), and brought the Apache wars to a close. Miles held a number of commands, including the Department of the Columbia (1880-1884), the Department of the Missouri (1885-1886), the Department of Arizona (1886-1887). He was commanding general of the United States Army (1895-1903), and represented the United States at the Queen Victoria Jubilee Celebration. In the Spanish-American War, Miles conducted the campaign in Puerto Rico in 1898. He was advanced to three-star rank under the provisions of a 6 June 1900 act that specified the senior major general of the line commanding the Army shall have the rank, pay and allowances of a lieutenant general. Miles was promoted to permanent lieutenant general in February 1901. In 1903, he retired from active service.

    This is an extensive and important archive of a major figure in U.S. military history and a medal of honor recipient.

    Condition: Diary (1874-1875) is bound in black leather, which shows signs of wear, with inner cover of green leather in mint condition, is internally in fine condition. Diary (1876-1877) is bound in tan leather and in fine condition. The edges of the four corners of Baird's appointment as colonel in the 32nd Regiment of Colored Troops has been trimmed, without any loss of text. All other items in the archive are in good condition.

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