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Civil War Soldiers - Baker

Baker, Edward D., brigadier-general, was born in London, England, Feb. 24, 1811, and four years later was brought to America by his father, who selected Philadelphia as his place of residence. There Edward D. grew to manhood and at the age of nineteen started for the new West and selected Springfield, Ill., as his home. Amid struggles with poverty he studied law, and established a practice in Greene county and soon became noted as one of the leading advocates of the state. In 1837 he was sent to the legislature by the Whig party, and then to the state senate, serving from 1840 until 1844. In the latter year he was elected to Congress, but left his seat in 1846 to raise a company of Illinois volunteers for the Mexican war, becoming colonel of the 4th Ill. regiment, and he served as one of the most brilliant officers of the army in all the actions on the route to the city of Mexico. At Cerro Gordo he succeeded to the command of Gen. Shields' brigade, which he led until the close of the war. He was honorably mustered out of the service on May 29, 1847, and, returning to Illinois was again elected to Congress and served from 1849 until 1851. Declining a re-election, he removed to San Francisco, where he became distinguished as the head of the bar, and as one of the most eloquent speakers in the state. In 1860 he removed to Oregon and was sent to the United States senate by the united votes of the Republicans and Douglas Democrats. When the opening blow was struck at Fort Sumter, at a great mass-meeting in New York on April 20, he made a thrilling appeal for the preservation of the Union. Raising the "California" regiment in New York and Philadelphia, he entered the war, and at the fatal battle of Ball's bluff he led the brigade with undaunted courage, and fell pierced with several wounds, Oct. 21, 1861. He was given the commission of brigadier-general of volunteers on May 17, 1861, but declined it; was commissioned colonel on June 21, and was advanced to major-general of volunteers on Sept. 21, 1861, but had not accepted the appointment at the time he was killed.

Source: The Union Army: A History of Military Affairs in the Loyal States 1861-1865, Volume 8 Biographical, 1908

Baker, Lafayette C., brigadier-general, chief of the U. S. secret service, was born in Stafford, Genesee county, N. Y., Oct. 13, 1826, being a grandson of Remember Baker, one of Ethan Allen's captains. Young Baker moved with his parents to Michigan in 1839, but in 1848 went to New York and Philadelphia, and in 1853 to San Francisco, working in each of the cities as a mechanic. In the riots in San Francisco, in 1856, he joined the vigilance committee and took an active part in restoring order in the city. At the outbreak of the Civil war he offered his services at Washington, and, at the suggestion of Gen. Hiram Walbridge, Gen. Scott sent him on foot to Richmond. The success of this mission, in which he collected much valuable information, followed by equal successes in other hardy enterprises, won for him the confidence of the government and he was made head of the bureau of secret service, with almost unlimited resources at his command. In 1862 the bureau was transferred to the war department and he was commissioned colonel, and later brigadier-general of volunteers. Gen. Baker's duties made him enemies in influential quarters and serious charges were several times preferred against him, but they were not substantiated. At the time of Lincoln's assassination, Gen. Baker organized the pursuit of the murderer and was present at his capture and death. Gen. Baker published, in 1868, a "History of the United States Secret Service," which is of historical value. He died in Philadelphia, July 2, 1868.

Source: The Union Army: A History of Military Affairs in the Loyal States 1861-1865, Volume 8 Biographical, 1908

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