My Dear Mother
I should have
written before to you after the receipt
of yours announcing the safety of
my brothers in the battle of Sunday
but my time has been exceedingly
occupied in the Hospital here, where
for some days I have been chiefly
spending my time. The preservation
of my dear brothers amid the dan-
gers of the terrible battle of Stone
Bridge has filled me with deep
gratitude and joy. Though I have
as yet none but negative evidence
of Eugene's safety I presume it is con-
clusive though I would be glad to hear
positively. It was a mistake that
the Conrads of Martinsburg were only
wounded. I have the best reason
to believe they were both killed, falling
side by side upon the field. Also their
cousin Mr. Peyton Harrison of Martinsburg,
2nd Lt. of the company. These were
nearly all the deaths in the Border Guard.
I mourn the loss of my friends the
Conrads, deeply. What a fearful blow
for their parents, though they have
the unspeakable double consolation
(1) that they died Christians & (2) that
they fell in the discharge of a sacred duty.
I am told it was early in the en-
gagement that they fell, that they
had neither fired a shot. Besides them
andother one of my old college mates
fell on Sunday, viz Edmund Fontaine Jr
of Hanover, son of the President of the V[irginia]C[entral] R[ail] R[oad]
One or two of the Barbours of Winchester
were wounded. I know not how badly.
I do not now remember any other
persons killed or wounded whom I
knew or felt a particular interest in.
I lament much the death of Major Harrison
You all, like every body else, are
doubtless entirely engrossed with
the Battle and its dreadful con-
sequences, though it is considered
one of the most brilliant victories
on our part, of modern warfare.
I rejoice over the success but with
a joy greatly chastened, if not
almost neutralized, by the dread-
ful suffering I have witnessed
here among the wounded. I have
not in my whole previous life together
witnessed as much physical anguish
as I have in the last four days.
At the great C.S.A. Military Hospital
at this point in addition to the
1000 or 1200 sick, there are 400 woun-
ded, not less than 1500 patients in all.
At the University alone, in the Pub-
lic Hall, Chapel, and on the Lawns,
there are about 200 wounded men.
A few of them are desperate, a few more slight,
most of them serious, & many intensely painful.
The War Department has manifested
the most criminal neglect, I think,
in respect to this Hospital. There are
1500 patients and two or possibly three commissioned
surgeons. Without volunteer aid, by
which, owing to their numbers the
most of the work is done, the
case would be desperate. The con-
sequence is that Drs. Davis & Cabell
are worked half to death, hundreds
of dollars worth of practice is done daily
by volunteer physicians, who will
never receive a cent therefore I suppose,
-every medical man is as busy
as possible--and yet there is, at
lest among the wounded, often
much distress for surgical aid
I should say that there are a few
army surgeons here who came up with
wounded men for their special service.
In addition to the want of surgeons
there has not been sent here, so
far as I am aware, a single nurse or
attendant been sent here by the Dept.
and the sick have been sent in so
suddenly & rapidly as to make it ex-
ceedingly difficult to prepare properly
for their reception here. Nurses are
sadly needed--perhaps more in town
than here, but everywhere, at night
particularly, and among both the
sick & wounded. Male nurses are spe-
cially in demand I believe. Dr. Davis,
whose special charge is in the old Mon-
ticello House in Charlottesville, has 300
patients to see daily: this is just their
average hospital duty. Dr. Orlandoo Fair-
fax (an Alexandria refugee who with his
family sojourned here) is in charge chiefly
of the wounded at the University. He
has the efficient aid of some medical
students, and some from other physicians.
He has high reputation for skill &
efficiency, & is a most estimable gentleman
I have myself rendered a good deal
of service in the Hospital this week,
and for several days hence propose
to give most of my attention to
the wounded, to the neglect of
military duty. By next week things
will be sufficiently organized to ren-
der the present great demand for
and Monday nights I sat up with
sick soldiers, on Wednesday night I
was up with the wounded in the
Hall, not sitting once, except on
a bed side in the 7 or 8 hours spent there.
Yesterday and to day I have done
a great deal of nursing, and to night
I shall be up until the "wee hours"
with the wounded. I have become
somewhat accustomed to seeing the
fearful sights, mutilations etc. already,
but some of the worst cases I can
not--nor ever can I believe--look upon
with anything like professional stolidity
I could tell you many interesting
things about these unfortunate poor
fellows, with whom I have asso
ciated and talked a good deal in
my nursing hours. the most note
worthy thing about the patients
is the almost uniform fortitude
and in some cases heroic resig-
nation which the sufferers manifest.
There are here 8 wounded prisoners,
who are in rooms on the lawn &
in every respect treated just as the
others, unless it be that they have
more attention and consideration. I
have been especially attentive my-
self to four of them, two of whom
have bullets through the body, dan-
gerous wounds. Another poor fellow
who is lie to die daily is very care-
fully nursed. His wound is fearful.
Drs. McGuffey and Howard are his
special attendants, though they are
generally active too.
[Lancelot Minor Blackford]
[remainder of letter missing]
The Conrad brothers and Edmund Fontaine were all alumni of the University of Virginia.
Dr. John Staige Davis, 1824-1885, was married to Lancelot's older sister Lucy. He taught anatomy, materia medica (pharmacology), and botany at the University of Virginia.
Dr. J. L. (James Lawrence) Cabell, 1813-1889, taught anatomy, physiology, and surgery at the University of Virginia. He was the author of "The Testimony of Modern Science to the Unity of Mankind," 1858, and was the physician in charge of the Confederate military hospitals during the Civil War. When yellow fever broke out in Memphis, Tennessee, after the war he was appointed chairman of the National Sanitary Conference and devised a plan that checked its spread. For the last ten years of his life he was president of the National Board of Health.
William Holmes McGuffey, 1800-1873, taught moral philosophy (ethics) at the University of Virginia from 1845-1873. He is remembered for the famous McGuffey's Readers which were used to teach several generations of school children to read.
Dr. Henry Howard, 1792-1874, taught in the School of Medicine at the University of Virginia from 1859-1867.
Dr. Orlando Fairfax, 1806-1882, an alumnus of the University of Virginia, later served as a Confederate surgeon in Richmond, Virgina.