William M. Blackford, esq.
My Dear Father
I have been
much disappointed at not getting
a letter from home in reply to my
two of last week. the urgency of the
case causes me to write this Evening
--though Sunday--to repeat my enquiries.
Would you advise me to join a com-
pany of Riflemen now forming here, (in-
fantry), be drilled with them, and go
off with them whenever ordered;
or would you think it better for
the present to attach myself to a
"Home Guard" (to stay at home) also
getting up here, to drill with them
and not leave them for another
company to go on active service, till
I have seen real occasion for it.
In the Rifle company I should have
to incur, I suppose, the expense of a
uniform; in the other not, I believe.
Now if a uniform is to be got I wd.
rather have it for a company to which
I might be permanently attached,
as I should not be to any company
in Staunton, provided I remained there
until the last of June, at which
time I should of course wish to go
to Lynchburg. If there is to be
continued demand for troops I am de-
termined to respond t it, but as a
permanent thing would prefer to be at-
tached to a Lynchburg company.
If I join the "Home Guard" here, and
there is perchance no more demand
for troops for 8 or 9 weeks, I might
then leave them, go home and seek
entrance in some company there ^'or thereto belonging'
I am therefore inclined to the latter
course, but would like to have your
advice. In either event, you observe,
I should have during waiting time
the benefit of drilling--
Please write to me what you
think, and what Charles or Lewis do.
I am anxious to do whatever is my
duty; be that what it may.
I am not amenable to militia duty here, I believe.
One of our Staunton soldiers arrived here this
morning from Harper's Ferry direct; he has
already started back. He reports some
5000 troops there; all pretty well quar-
tered in tents & houses, and in good spirits.
the U.S. troops burnt the arsenal before
clearing out, & destroyed 16000 stand of arms-
(old pattern) 4 or 5000 stand were saved
and of them the Staunton companies have
already supplied themselves with fine Minie
Rifles. The University companies are there,
but there was some talk of them returning
early this week. I hope they may. They
were all well. I sent a letter today
by this soldier to Ran McKim.
There is great enthusiasm and pleasure
here a the course of Maryland.
the Lexington Cadets are to be here this
afternoon en rank for Richmond.
I presume they are to go down by
sail in the morning--Staunton
has been a barracks all the week, al-
most scarcely less than 1000 troops in
all have been through or started hence.
Love to all--In haste
Your affec. Son
[In margin of page 3]
Is there any thing form Eugene?
[In margin of page 1]
Please give me accounts of your military operations, new companies, etc.