Monday August 18th 1862
Camp of the Rockbridge Artillery 1st Brigade 1st Division Jackson's
9 miles below Orange C.H. Va., near the Fredericksburg Plank Road
Mrs. Wm M. Blackford-Lynchburg
My Dear Mother--My last letter home was dispatched
on Saturday morning last , but supposing you may have heard some
thing of late movements of the army and are therefore more than
usually solicitous about me, I take an early occasion to write again
I will state at the outset that my address is, as before, Gordonsville
Friday afternoon while writing the letter above referred to an or-
der came to cook 2 days rations: later, another directing our brigade
to move in the morning at dawn. this we did and came on
at an ordinary rate of speed most of the way by cross country
or plantation roads to within a mile of Orange C. H. where we
made a long halt to allow Gen. a. P. Hill's Division to pass us.
Shortly before we came to this halt my attention had
been attracted by an uncommonly handsome country seat
on the left of the road, which upon inquiring of some negroes, I learned
to be the residence of Co. Willis. Remembering the message sent
by the Misses W., now at our house, to bro. Charles and myself
to find out their mother's residence and visit her, if it came
in the line of our marches, and forgetting that Col. Geo. Willis
was no longer alive, I determined to go up to his handsome
home and introduce myself not doubting it was the home
of our guests. When I entered the porch there were several la-
dies sitting there: I inquired of them if this was Col. Willis' and if
Mrs. Willis was at home. I was immediately referred to one of the
group as Mrs. W., and to her mentioned my name, residence,
and supposed claim to her acquaintance. She received me very courteously,
recognized my name and family connections immediately, had often
heard of you &c, but told me that she was not the lady
for whom I took her but the wife of Col. John Willis, the owner
of the estate. she added however that Mrs. Geo. Willis her kinswo-
man was at that very time her guest, but unfortunately was not
just then in the house having gone to the top of a neighbouring
mountain with others to get a fine view, then afforded of the dis-
tant Yankee camps across the Rapidan & sat a half an hour chat-
ting very pleasantly with the ladies, was offered and gladly par-
took of some refreshments, and then went on my way, leaving
behind a cordial invitation to repeat my visit whenever I had
opportunity, and a message for bro. Charles to come & see them too
I found Mrs. Willis was a sister of the wife of my particular
friend Wm Pope Dabney of Powhatan. I know Mrs. D. and like
her very much. she and her sister are the daughters of the widow
Madison of "Woodbury Forest," Madison Co., and are blood kin of ours. Mr.
Robt. Marye (son to Mr. Jno. L. M. of Fred.) married one of the daughters
but she is no longer living. They are nieces or grandnieces of the President.
After A.P. Hill's Division passed us and went on to Orange C.H.
our division (Jackson's own) turned to the right and by various roads
and a route somewhat circuitous & after travelling some 6 or 8 miles
I suppose, reached the Fredericksburg Plank Road at a point 5 miles
below Orange C.H. Here we found that Hill's Division had proceeded us,
having come on through Orange C.H., and down the road from there direct.
We waited sometime to let their wagon train get by and then pur-
sued our journey. Ewell's Division came on just behind us. Late Saturday
afternoon we halted here, in a wide extent of fields, skirted by woods
and will suited in most respect for camps. We are now lying here
quietly awaiting orders, having had none since our arrival, much
to the surprise of every one. The Division are encamped quite
near each other. A.P. Hill's occupies the advance: ours is close
to his, Ewells next to us and Longstreet's in the rear. The
last I heard of them the whole division was in the road
a few miles back, with arms stacked, waiting orders. This was
yesterday evening. My informant represents them as extending 3 or 4 miles.
As to what will be done now we are of course as much in the
dark as you are. Gen. Lee is here, and with Jackson, Longstreet,
Ewell, and A.P. Hill to take counsel with, there is no reasonable
fear that what is best will not be done. I feel quite easy on this
score myself, as I consider the best talent of the whole army is now
on the ground here. I take much comfort too in recollecting that
we are under the guidance of such God fearing men as Lee & Jackson.
Gen. Jackson issued a general order last Thursday for the suspension of all
military exercises, and the observance of the day as one of thanksgiving
for the victory of the 9th Inst. I attended suitable divine service in
the afternoon in the 2d. Va. Inf. in this brigade. They have an excellent
chaplain (Presby) Rev. A. C. Hopkins, late of Martinsburg, formerly of Powhatan.
where I first knew him. He is a young man, and generally respected & liked
Col. Botts is now of course the full colonel of the 2d Inf. The Colonel's
health is very bad and it is supposed he will resign. I should regret this
very much as the Col. is a good friend of mine and has been particularly
courteous and attentive to me ever since I knew him. Besides, he is
an excellent officer and would reallybe a great loss to the service
Yesterday morning I occupied myself reading the Morning Prayer & Litany
privately, as I frequently, indeed generally, do, when I have no services to attend
on Sunday. This is a great pleasure and comfort. In the course of
the morning I discoveed that Gregg's So. Ca. Brigade, A.P. Hill's Division,
was encamped next us, and of it the 1st So. Ca. Regt. next our battery.
In this regt is my friend (Capt.) Wm. T. Haskell, whom I sought out
and dined with. I enjoyed the meeting him very much, not having
had that pleasure before since the war began, except for a bout
an hour last week. You know how highly I esteem him. He has
changed very little since we parted two years ago at the university
In the afternoon there was a very pleasant service in the 1st. S.C. by the
chaplain, Rev. Mr. Williams of Va. He had preached in the morning but
in the evening only read the service. I attended and enjoyed the oc-
casion very much. The Major now commanding the regt., is an E-
piscopalian and led in the responses. Haskell, David Barton & myself, out
of my Prayer Book helped out considerably in this particular.
I mentioned to you when at home how greatly affected my friend DuBose
has been recently. I give below an extract from a letter I recd from
him dated 6 miles out of Richmond, Aug. 9th. (Holcombe Legion Evans' Brigade Longstreet's Div.)
"I have indeed suffered during the past few months. On the very day that Mother
died, a fvery months after Father, one of my brothers-in law, (Beverley Means)
was killed and the other (Col. Bratton 6th Regt. S.C.V.) dangerously wounded and
taken prisoner & it was weeks before the fate of either was positively known at
home, the grave of the former having not yet been discovered. It was in the battle
of Seven Pines. Col. B. is better but I have been unable to hear anything of his
exchange. Our House has indeed been one of mourning but God has not withheld
his sanctifying grace"---Is not this a sad recital? Du Bose is now in
this army, but I have been unable as yet to see him. He is an adjutant.
Your affectionate son
L. M. Blackford
[cross hatched in left hand margin of page 4]
I was anxious to hear something of Eugene--I trust he is doing well.
My love to my dear sister Mary Isabella and to sister Sue and Nannie.
Also always to Fanny Cazenove, and y kind regards to the servants,
especially Peggy--I have had no letter from home for a long time.
We are having delightful weather now for campaigning
This camp is only some 6 or 8 miles from Fredericksburg.
Lancelot Minor Blackford, Rockbridge Artillery and University of Virginia alumnus