Baird (Spruce M.) Papers, 1864, 1 Item

Administrative Information

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Copyright: The copyright of these letters is held by Navarro College Archives, Navarro College, 3200 W. 7th Ave., Corsicana, Texas. Internet:

Cite As:Spruce Baird Papers, 1864, Pearce Civil War Collection, Navarro College, Corsicana, Texas

Forms Part of: Pearce Civil War Collection

Location: 1-S2

Transcription(s): Yes

Scanned Copies on File: Yes

Accession Number: 2002.342

Processed by: Julie Holcomb, January 2003

Reproductions of original materials and transcriptions may be available. Please contact the archivist for further information.

Abstract: One letter (January 18, 1864; 3 pages) documents the military career of Colonel Spruce Baird, commander of the 4th Texas Cavalry Regiment, Arizona Brigade. Baird’s letter includes several recommendations for troop movements against the Indians and the Union Army. Baird’s plans called for the protection of local planters and stockmen and the protection of Confederate trade with Mexico. He believed his plans would result in the defeat and capture of the enemy forces.

Biographical/Historical Sketch

Spruce McCoy Baird was born in Glasgow, Kentucky on October 8, 1814. He taught school in Kentucky before moving to Texas living in Woodville and San Augustine before establishing a law practice in Nacogdoches. In 1848, Baird married Emmacetta C. Bowdry of Kentucky. That same year Texas Governor George T. Wood appointed Baird as judge of the recently established Santa Fe County, which lay east of the Rio Grande in present day New Mexico. Baird failed to establish a Texas jurisdiction in Santa Fe County because of local opposition to Texas control. Unemployed after Texas sold her claim to the area as a result of the Compromise of 1850, Baird remained in New Mexico, joined the bar there, and later became an Indian agent to the Navajos. Appointed attorney general of New Mexico in 1861, Baird was later forced to resign because of his Confederate sympathies. On March 4, 1862, Baird was indicted for high treason and his property confiscated. Baird returned to Texas. In February 1863, he organized the Fourth Texas Cavalry Regiment, Arizona Brigade, which was composed primarily of men from New Mexico, Arizona, and California. Colonel Baird commanded the regiment until its surrender in 1865. After parole, Baird returned to law practice. In 1867, he moved to Trinidad, Colorado where he continued to practice law. Baird died June 5, 1872 in Cimarron, New Mexico.

Scope and Content Note

One letter (January 18, 1864; 3 pages) documents the military career of Colonel Spruce Baird, commander of the 4th Texas Cavalry Regiment, Arizona Brigade. Addressed to an unnamed colonel, Baird recommended attempts to recapture Fort Brown be suspended. Union forces held nearby Brownsville and various points along the middle coast and were threatening Rio Grande City and Laredo. Baird requested that troops be placed between San Antonio and Eagle Pass to protect Confederate trade with Mexico. Baird’s letter further recommends that a portion of the “Frontier Regiment” be dispatched in an expedition against the Indians “in the direction of Kansas.” Finally, Baird advised that communications with “our friends in California, New Mexico and Arizona” be established in an attempt to “expell the enemy from those Territories and render his return empracticable by all means justified in war.” Baird concluded: “We will thus protect our frontier against Indians in the most effectual manner. We will certainly defeat and capture the enemy’s forces coming from above.” Baird’s plan would also protect trade with Mexico and prevent Union depredations against local planters and stockmen.

The copyright of these materials is managed by the Navarro College Archives on behalf of the Navarro College Foundation, 3100 W. Collin St., Corsicana, Texas 75110. Phone: 903-875-7438. Internet: