Letter from Solomon G. Brown to S. F. Baird, July 15, 1864

ID: SIA2011-0975 and SIA2011-0976 and SIA2011-0977 and SIA2011-0978

Creator: Brown, Solomon Galleon c. 1829-1906

Form/Genre: Document

Date: July 15, 1864

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7002, Box 16, Folder: Brown, Solomon G., 1855-1865

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Letter from Solomon G. Brown, the first African American employee of the Smithsonian Institution, to then Assistant Secretary Spencer F. Baird, later the second Secretary of the Smithsonian, reporting on the Confederate troops' march on Washington, D.C. Brown describes the fear in the city at the approach of the rebels, but informed Baird that the troops had not invaded and D.C. was now safe. 4 pages.


  • Baird, Spencer Fullerton 1823-1887
  • Assistant Secretary in charge of the United States National Museum


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


SIA2011-0975 (page 1), SIA2011-0976 (page 2), SIA2011-0977 (page 3), SIA2011-0978 (page 4).

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7002, Box 16, Folder: Brown, Solomon G., 1855-1865

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu


  • July 15, 1864
  • Civil War, 1861-1865

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  • Letters
  • Secretaries
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Personnel management
  • SI, Early History
  • Employees
  • History
  • Smithsonian Institution--Employees
  • African Americans


  • United States
  • Washington (D.C.)


  • Document
  • Paper

ID Number

SIA2011-0975 and SIA2011-0976 and SIA2011-0977 and SIA2011-0978

Physical description

Number of Images: 4 Color: Color ; Size: 7 7/8w x 9 7/8h ; Type of Image: Document; Medium: Papger

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[[written upside down in top right corner of page]]Just as I was clossing this M Waltz came in and reported for duty went out to fight but could not get a [[underlined]] chance [[/underlined]] [[preprinted]] 625 [[/preprinted]] 4380 [[image - large X in blue]] July 21 Smithsonian Institution Washington July 15th 1864 Prof Baird Dear Sir Yours dated July 12th have just arrived and we are all glade to hear from you and family all here is well- many have been much frightened at the annual visit of the Rebels to their friends at Maryland, but we are told that the Johnny Rebs are returning home with lots of Presents [[strikethrough]] am [[/strikethrough]] including money from their [[young??, jay??]] entertainers, we are also told here [[insertion]] that [[/insertion] (among many other funny thing they performed) [[insertion]] that [[/insertion]] they knocked but the door of Washington was not opened unto them. they being a set of high bread gentlemen concluded not to come in with no, sure of civil treatment, so they marched off much to the joy and comfort of a greatly excited populace of this City, but your would really feel secure ware you here just now
perticularly when the Report come in that the Rebels had left for the South, to See the great number Brave fighting men that come out from their hiding Places and Paraded through streets in search of Arms to meet the Rebels. but they was mustered out to return to they several dens. I.E. the drinking Saloons, gambling halls and other low places to [[figh?]] among them selves; for it was Impossible for decently disposed persons to pass certain Localities without be interfered with by this brave men who wanted to fight when the Rebel had gone; But not one gravel on the Roof of your very pleasant home has been misplaced. the Inmates have much frightened the past 3 days refusing all [[underlined]] consolation [[/underlined]], but glade to say on my visit this day found them [[strikethrough]] [[?]] Partaken [[/strikethrough]] [[strikethrough]] each [[/strikethrough]] of Food which sustains Life and do at least afford consolation to the hungry. Mr. Varden desires to be remembered to you and says that up to this time nuthing have come [[strikethrough]] & [[/strikethrough]] with [[insertion]] the [[/insertion]] Exception of one Flugel Box (114) Books which Prof H. had me (Solomon) to open and Miss Jane to Enter send after your chest, [[jun?]] box & trunk Shall be got ready to day and sent of to E. [[Gourn?? Town??]],[[NY??]]the work of rearranging Stock on hand progresses but
slowly. The Sec'd Vol. Part. 1. of Meteo Results is being dilivered Bound in cloth. The building is very slimly attended by visitors scarcely one person to be seen in museum at any one hour in the day. Mary, & Sarah desire me to remember them fondly to you Mrs. Baird & Miss Lucy. And I want by that I may also be remember to them Prof Henry & family, Mr Meek, Mr Gill, Mr Banister, Mr Rheese Mr. Force & Miss Burner is still here Also Mr. Gount. Mr. Diggs, Mr Sulivan, Mr De Bust. and occasionally Mr Brown is also here. All able to be at their several posts & duty so that no dissatisfaction seems to exist. all is harmonious The markets here have taken a sunden rise so that the cost of living sence Saturday last is awfull in the Extrem. Flour $20@25. Butter .50@75. Hams 35@40. [[Milk?]] 30@35. Shoulder Bacon 25@30 per lb. And I learned this moment that they are yet going up in price. Should you go to phila Please send me word what hams can be bought for there with the address of the Parties, and Brown Suger is 35@40 here with an upward tendency, now what people here is to [[blue arrow from left bottom of page to "The Markets"]]
do is a question remains to be solved. I will not write more here will look for a letter soon from you. I send on to day another Batch of Papers to the care of your Brother Mr. Wm Baird. If your mother is [[strikethrough]] at en [[/strikethrough]] at Reading Be kind enough to give regards to her - Yours very respectfully, Solomon G. Brown P.S. I had prepared aplace in centre of the cole cellar under South tower under stone floor for the deposition of a box of valuables committed to my care should any thing suddenly turn up to prevent their being shipped to a place of safety outside of town. This you will remember should any thing turn up - but- at present they remain where you last saw them Yours Solomon