My Dear Father
I cannot miss an-
other day in writing as I intended to do
last week, & but for being unusually busy
on Friday & Saturday would have done then.
Mary Launcelot [Minor] is convalescent, having
been steadily improving since my last ad-
vice to you. She needs medical attendance
no longer. Hers is as much a case of
resurrection, so to speak, from the very gates
of death as any I ever saw or knew of.
The terrible battle of yesterday is of course
with you as with us the all-engrossing
topic. Two trains of wounded arrived here
this afternoon. There are at the hospital
here and town, & along the road, between, al-
ready some 1000 to 1200 patients, and we hear
there are to be 400 wounded in all brought hither.
They cleared out the public hall & filled
it with beds, and on them the poor fellows
are stretched. Many of those less severely hurt
are sitting & reclining about the passages, lec-
ture rooms, faculty rooms etc. The whole scene
particularly that in the Hall, is a most
painful and distressing one, though only
a small number of those I saw are very
seriously wounded. to particularize would
only give you pain & afford no gratification.
They have a very efficient corps of med-
ical attendants and nurses and have done
a great deal already, though of course there
will be some time before all can be
treated. I have seen something now
of the "horrors of war"; alas! alas!
Though I have made of course the most
diligent inquiries I am still in
painful anxiety about my brothers and
many of my friends. I have seen this eveg.
several of the "Barbour Greys" who came up
from Culpeper where they had been some days
on the sick list. They have made inquiries
and seem satisfied that Eugene is safe &
his men. I cant learn whether he was
in the fight, or not, nor can indeed get
any certain information. Of bros William
& Charles I know & can hear nothing direct
though inclined to think they are unhurt,
if they were in the engagement.
I beg you will write to me by the next
mail and tell me all you can of
my brothers and friends--even of it but
a few lines. Randolph McKim who belongs
to a company of the Md Line in Johnson's
command was probably in the battle.
I am sadly shocked and grieved to hear
that Holmes & Tucker Conrad, who belonged to the
Berkeley Border Guards, were both
killed in a charge yesterday...also another
Conrad, one of their cousins from Winchester.
I write in great haste as I am going
down to the Delavan Hospital to night
to stay with a patient there who is
ill of pneumonia. I was with him
last night. He is from Arkansas--
I received the fatigue-shirt & thank
you for it. I will try & write again
soon, though now very much engaged
with varied calls on my time
Your affectionate son
L[ancelot] M[inor] Blackford
All five Blackford brothers 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.
Randolph Harrison McKim, 1842-1920, another University of Virginia alumnus later confessed to being one of the students who raised the Confederate flag over the Rotunda. He memoirs were entitled A Soldiers Recollections: leaves from the diary of a young Confederate.
University of Virginia alumni brothers Henry Tucker Conrad, 1839-1861, a seminary student and his brother Holmes Addison, Conrad, 1837-1861, principal of the Martinsburg Academy, from Martinsburg, Va., were both killed in the battle.