About Absalom Baird, Maj. General
Absalom Baird (August 20, 1824 – June 14, 1905) was a career United States Army officer who distinguished himself as a Union Army general in the American Civil War. Baird received the Medal of Honor for his military actions
Baird was born in Washington, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the preparatory department of Washington College (now Washington & Jefferson College) in 1841. He enrolled in the United States Military Academy and graduated in 1849, ranked ninth in a class of 43. From 1852 to 1859, he was a mathematics instructor at West Point, where one of his students was James McNeill Whistler. From 1859 to 1861, he served in Texas and Virginia.
When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Baird was promoted to brevet captain. He fought at the First Battle of Bull Run under Brig. Gen. Daniel Tyler, and was promoted to brevet major. He became chief of staff to Maj. Gen. Erasmus D. Keyes during the first part of the Siege of Yorktown, where his service earned him a further promotion to Brigadier General of U.S. Volunteers.
In April 1862, Baird took command of the 27th Brigade, 7th Division in the Army of the Ohio under Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell. Baird helped secure the Cumberland Gap in June 1862 under George W. Morgan. He commanded the 3rd Division, Army of Kentucky where his troops fared poorly in the battle of Thompson's Station though Baird was not personally involved. His troops were present at the battle of the Harpeth River before being assimilated into the Army of the Cumberland. Baird's division became the 1st Division of Maj. Gen. George Henry Thomas's XIV Corps. It was in this post that he won fame for his heroic efforts at the Battle of Chickamauga and the Chattanooga Campaign. Baird won a brevet promotion to Colonel in Regular Army for Chattanooga. In the Atlanta Campaign, Baird led a brigade charge in the Battle of Jonesborough which earned him the Medal of Honor. He led his division in Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman's March to the Sea and Carolinas Campaign. Baird led his division in the Battle of Bentonville in the latter campaign. By the end of the war, Baird had been promoted to brevet major general and permanent lieutenant colonel.
Following the war, Baird served as commander of the department of Louisiana and then as an assistant inspector general. He was appointed Inspector General of the Army in 1885 as a permanent brigadier general. In 1887, he traveled to France to observe military maneuvers, and was awarded the Légion d'honneur.
In 1896, Baird received the Medal of Honor for leading the charge at Jonesborough.
He died near Baltimore, Maryland, and is buried in section 1, lot 55, at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.
Medal of Honor citation
Rank and organization: Brigadier General, U.S. Volunteers. Place and date: At Jonesboro, Georgia, September 1, 1864. Entered service at: Washington, Pennsylvania. Birth: Washington, Pennsylvania. Date of issue: April 22, 1896.
Voluntarily led a detached brigade in an assault upon the enemy's works.[