My dear Launcelot,
letter to your mother was recd. yesterday.
You know my aylments too well
to be surprized at my not writing often-
er. In addition to these, I have not
been well for a week. Your mother too
has been suffering much of late--absolute
rest does not seem to have the same
recuperative effect it formerly had.
We have been very anxious to hear of
the condition of Mary Lancelot. Some
how my hopes of her recovery from the
first have been very slight owing to the
want of strength of her constitution. I shall
mourn her death and symathise with
her father most sincerely.
We were interested in your account
of the details of your m8ilitary life. I have
no doubt the training will be of great
service to your health and constitution
and prepare you for the more arduous
duties of military life. I never thought you
were able to undergo camp life at the
start. When you get through the train
ing I am at a loss what to recommend
you to do. I do not like the idea of your
entering as a private soldier, after having
prepared yourself to command by acquir
ing the drill--But the 1 Sep is a long
way off and no one can tell what may
You will be delighted to hear
that of the three officers who partook
of the communion for the first time at
Centreville your brother Charles was one
It was a step he'd contemplated before he
left here, and had the communion been
administered about the time he would have
united with the church in Lynchburg. I do
not know who the other officers were. One
was baptised and the ceremony was scarcely
over before he was ordered off on a scout.
Charles' influence and popularity in the
troop are unbounded. The capt in it
very much disliked and the men are
anxious to get rid of him. They took
the very exceptionable move of signing
a petition requesting all the officers to resign.
The names of every one but 2 and these great
friends of Charles were affixed. Charles has
had influence enough to keep this from be-
=ing presented, & declared he will not accept
the captaincy. It is hoped, however, after
a little, that Langhorn will yield to
what he knows is the wish of the company
and resign. Charles in that event, wd
not lose a vote.
Not a word from William for three
weeks. He wrote the troop wd leave Ashland
next day for Winchester. It is unpardona
=ble negligence. I shall write to him
at Winchester "care Capt Wm E. Jones
Washington Mounted Riflemen."
Eugene had a most laborious and
harrasing time in Richd equiping his
company. He succeeded however very
well and the uniform is a magnificent
one. they have every thing soldiers shd
have. I send enclosed his last letter
recd 12. when you have recd it and shown
it to the Dr. & cousin Betty send it to Lewis
He left Richd this day week. Should
opportunity occur Eugene will make
his mark. I was fortunate enough to
get a Colts Navy Revolver and sent
it to him yesterday. Mr. Bell left us
Thursday Morg. not able however to do
much duty as no one could have behaved
with more propriety than he & W. M. did.
I sent you the flannil jacket Friday
morg by Express freight paid. Fleming
Saunders is here drilling and has a fine
company. We are in a state of painful
anxiety expecting news of sharp conflict
on all the front lines--We hear rumors
which I hope are well founded of a decisive
& successful battle in the N West. I sup-
pose you have seen Ben--a note from him
yesterday on the cars says he was going to C. to
look out for a hospital. are Drs. C. & D.
to be at the head of it? I hope so. The hos
-pital here is in bad odor. The Arkansas regt
now here wont send their sick to it. The ladies
have taken them in hand. Many are at town
houses. I hope if nothing happens to get a
chance to run down & see Charles & Eugene
this week provided I am well enough.
Give my love to cousin Bess, Mary L.
& the Doctor Yrs afft
William Mathews Blackford, 1801-1864, was a former U.S. chargé d'affaires in Bogota, New Granada (now Columbia)
Mathews' five sons all attended the University of Virginia and all served in the Confederate army. All five survived the war. William Wilberforce Blackford, 1831-1905, whose admiration for the British abolitionist William Wilbeforce led him to change his middle name from Willis to Wilberforce was an engineer before the war and captain in the 1st Virginia Cavalry under JEB Stuart. After the war he was a planter in Louisiana and later a professor at the agricultural college that became Virginia Tech. His memoirs War Years with Jeb Stuart were published in 1945.
Charles Minor Blackford, 1833-1903, was a captain in the 2nd Virginia Cavalry and then Judge Advocate of the Military Court of Longstreet's Second Corps. He resumed the practice of law in Lynchburg after the war. His memoirs were published as Letters from Lee's Army.
Benjamin Lewis Blackford, 1835-1908, the third of the brothers to attend the University of Virginia, was a private and asst. surgeon in the 11th Virginia Infantry, and later a lieutenant of engineers. He had an insurance business in Washington. D. C. after the war.
Launcelot Minor Blackford, 1837-1914, was in the Rockbridge Artillery and the 24th Virginia Infanatry. After the war he was principal of Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia.
Eugene Blackford, 1839-1914, was teaching in Alabama at the outbreak of the war and rose to Major in the 5th Alabama. He was a dairy farmer in Maryland after the war.