Silas M. Baily, 8th Pennsylvania Reserves

History of the Pennsylvania Reserve Corps by J. R. Sypher, pg. 402; .Connellsville Courier, May 11, 1900.

Silas M. Bailey

Silas M[ilton] Baily was born in Fayette county, Pennsylvania, on the 4th of January, 1836; he received a liberal English education, and became an apprentice to a jeweler. After learning his trade, he established himself in business, at Waynesburg, where .he resided when the war began, in the spring of 1861. Under the call for seventy-five thousand troops, Mr. Baily organized a company, of which he was elected captain, and offered its services to Governor Curtin, but too late to be accepted. Upon the organization of the Reserve Corps, Captain Baily again asked to be admitted into the service. His company was accepted, and became company I of the Eighth regiment. When Major Gardner .left the service, in June, 1862, Captain Baily was promoted to the majority of the regiment. At the battle of Gaines” mill, he was severely wounded in the face, anal was carried, insensible, to Washington for medical treatment. When the Army of the Potomac entered upon the Maryland campaign, Major Baily, though pronounced by his surgeon to be unfit for service, determined to join his command. He overtook the division in camp near the Monocacy, and being the ranking officer, took command of the regiment, which he led with such distinguished gallantry, both at South Mountain and at Antietam, that he was promoted to the colonelcy as a reward for his meritorious conduct on the field of battle.

Colonel Baily seen here with the Field & Staff Officers of the 8th Pennsylvania Reserves sometime in the late spring or early summer of 1863. Baily is the officer seated to the far right of this albumen photograph.

Baily – At his home in Uniontown, Gen. Silas M[ilton] Baily, ex-State Treasurer of Pennsylvania, after a lingering illness, due chiefly to a wound received in the head at the battle of Gaines Mills, during the Civil War. When he was able to return home to Uniontown to recuperate after that fight, he was unable to talk, and not altogether able to think clearly. In the course of a few months he recovered his speech and his senses and returned to the front. But after the lapse of 38 years this affliction returned to him, precisely as in 1862, and terminated a life that might otherwise have lasted ten or fifteen years longer. The General recently went to Markleton for treatment, but was only temporarily benefited (sic). Death relieved him on Saturday, May 5th, 1900. General Silas Milton Baily, ex-State Treasurer of Pennsylvania, was born in Brownsville, Fayette county, Pa., January 4th, 1836. His boyhood and early life were uneventful. He attended school at Madison College, Uniontown, and after acquiring the basics of a good education, he was apprenticed to his uncle to learn the trade of a silversmith. When President Lincoln issued his call for 75,000 volunteers, General Baily was among the first to respond. He recruited at Waynesburg a company known as the “Greene County Rangers.” The “Rangers” were sworn in as Company I, of the Eighth Pennsylvania Reserves, the Thirty-seventh Regiment of the line. Among the more prominent battles in which General Baily bore a prominent part with his regiment were Mechanicsville, Gaines” Mill, Drainesville, The Wilderness, Spottsylvania, South Mountain, Fredericksburg, etc. At the battle of Gaines” Mill he was severely wounded in the head. It was at first thought that his injury was mortal. His mind was affected as well as his body; but after four months of treatment and careful nursing, he recovered his intellectual and physical vigor, and returned to his regiment in time to lead in the battle of South Mountain. On March 12, 1863, Major Baily was commissioned Colonel, and remained with his regiment, leading it into all its subsequent contests, until it was mustered out of service on May 24th, 1864. President Johnson conferred upon him, on March 18th, 1865, the distinction of Brevet Brigadier General for gallant and meritorious conduct during the war.

General Baily was also wounded in the assault made by General Burnside on the defenses of Fredericksburg. At Spottsylvania the Eighth was constantly engaged for seven days and never out of reach of rebel missives. At the battle of Antietam General Baily”s horse was killed under him. In the long record of the brilliant deeds of the Pennsylvania Reserves the name of Silas M. Baily shines conspicuously.

After the war General Baily settled in Uniontown, where he opened a jewelry store. His induction into politics as a candidate occurred in 1878, when, without solicitation on the part of himself or his friends, the Republican conferees of the Twenty-first Congressional District unanimously selected him to lend the forlorn hope against the then doubly fortified citadel of Democracy in Western Pennsylvania. He was defeated as was expected, but results showed that he had led the state ticket by 500 votes, and reduced materially the usual Democratic majority. In 1880 General Baily was chosen one of the delegation to the Republican National Convention in Chicago, where he was one of the famous 800 who never deserted Grant.

His nomination for State Treasurer of Pennsylvania in 1881 was an unsolicited honor. It came to him spontaneously and unasked. But that was one of the years in the early 80”s, when there was great unrest in the Republican party, the year when Charles S. Wolfe was the candidate for Treasurer of the independent Republicans, and General Baily narrowly escaped defeat, his majority being about only 7,000. He never held office afterward.

Deceased was a man of most positive character, yet he intuitively avoided personal antagonisms, and was popular with men of all political creeds. Interment was in Tuesday in the Oak Grove Cemetery at Uniontown. The funeral was in charge of the Masons, Rev. H.C. Baird and Rev. T.F. Pershing conducting services.

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Currently a resident of Burke, Virginia - I'm originally from the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I have been a student of the Pennsylvania Reserves since 1997 and thoroughly enjoy telling their story. By trade I'm a former IT Professional but presently working as a Letter Carrier for the United States Postal Service.