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The Death of Colonel Edward D. Baker

The Death of Colonel Edward D. Baker (Image1)
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Item Number: Mem7826
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Killed at the battle of Ball's Bluff, Va. in 1861

Civil War period engraving of a battle scene depicting the death of Union Colonel Edward D. Baker at Ball's Bluff, Virginia. Imprint: F.O.C. Darley, and H. Wright Smith. Overall size is 10 3/8 x 6 7/8. Very fine.

Edward D. Baker: (1811-61) He read law and was admitted to the bar at the age of 19. A private during the Black Hawk War, he moved to Springfield, Illinois where he became a close friend of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln later named his second son, "Eddie," after Baker. Attaining prominence as a great orator, he soon became involved in politics and became a representative of the Illinois general assembly; defeated Lincoln to become a representative in Congress; served in the Mexican War as colonel of the 4th Illinois Infantry; was again elected to Congress; was a presidential elector in 1848; and four years later moved to California where he became a prominent lawyer and public speaker. In 1860, Baker moved to Oregon at the request of the Republican Party of the newly admitted state and in October of that year was elected to the U.S. Senate. He did much to hold the Pacific coast in the Union by delivering several remarkable speeches. Shortly after Lincoln's inauguration he raised a regiment in New York, and Pennsylvania, named the 71st Pennsylvania Volunteers and became their colonel. He was appointed major general of volunteers, Sept. 21, 1861, and was killed in action while commanding a brigade at Ball's Bluff, Va., on Oct. 21, 1861.

WBTS Trivia: Edward D. Baker had known "Willie" Lincoln since he was a baby in Springfield. When Baker was killed at Ball's Bluff, Va., the entire Lincoln family was grief stricken, and Willie wrote a tribute to the fallen Baker in the form of a poem, and wrote the following note to the editor of the Washington National Republican: "Dear Sir, I enclose you my first attempt at poetry. Yours truly, William W. Lincoln."

The editor thinking the lines quite creditable, especially for one so young, published them in his newspaper on November 4, 1861.

There was no patriot like Baker,
So noble and so true;
He fell as a soldier on the field,
His face to the sky of blue.

His voice is silent in the hall,
Which oft his presence grac'd,
No more he'll hear the loud acclaim,
Which rang from place to place.

No squeamish notions filled his breast,
The Union was his theme,
No surrender and no compromise,
His day thought and night's dream.

His country has her part to play,
To'rds those he has left behind,
His widow and his children all,
She must always keep in mind.

William W. Lincoln, 1861

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War Between the States
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