[letter of Launcelot Minor Blackford begun on the 10th continues]
Bivouack in Pendleton Co.--50 miles from Staunton --on the road to Mooreville
Sunday Morning May 11th, 1862
I was unable to finish this letter yesterday and so take
occasion to make it a little longer now. I had opportunity
to write what I did yesterday by being on the "baggage guard,"
(as I am again to day) and so not having to leave the ground
where we stand until some hours after the battery did.
This guard is composed of men who from any case are disa-
bled from keeping up with the battery on the march, and whose
condition renders it necessary they should ride in the wagons
the whole or part of the way. I am just now of this class
owing to the ulceration above my ancle before alluded too.
I hope to morrow to march as usual with the others
Upon reading over what I wrote of the Battle of Bull Pasture
Mountain yesterday I was really ashamed to have undertaken
an account of what my information was so vague. I give you
in it only what I myself believe true and not the rumours.
In my next letter I shall probably be able to give you fuller
particulars, as I shall certainly endeavour to gain the
A few miles back of this point we passed a fork of the road
of which the left branch heads to Monterey. We did not
take this as I supposed we should but the right branch.
There are no Yankees at Monterey, we hear, nor anything
left by them of much value. This road leads to Franklin
the county seat of Pendleton, and also to Moorefield which
is Hardy C. H. The enemy are said to be at the former
place, 14 miles from here. Most of the road we traversed
yesterday was very bad, and if it continues so we shall
hardly reach Franklin to day. What I can gather seems to
indicate that the enemy are still retreating, whether or
to what end I do not know. The impression among some is
that Gen. Jackson designs to go round through hardy into the
Valley again to flank the enemy there. Of course this is all
guess work. Later advices since I wrote yesterday indicate
it as probable that the enemy's loss in the late fight cd.
not have been less than ours and was probably greater.
They seem to have taken good pains to conceal it, whatever it was.
For the last 4 or 5 days we have been living harder in respect
of rations than we have ever done since I have been in the
service. Coffee has for some weeks been denied us, and sugar
until the time of reaching Staunton. In place of coffee we get
wheat which does tolerable well, though we cant drink it
well without sugar as we can coffee. I think I can manage
without coffee or sugar however better than I once thought I could.
Our rations now consist of nothing but bacon, sugar, salt &
hard crackers--this is of course due to our marching so constantly
The C. S. crackers are very poor, something like ship biscuit, but
the last issue of rations was of Yankee crackers which were
far better. The amount of both bread and meat given us
is rather scant,which is hard considering the marching we do.
We have not done any cooking except frying meat & occasionally making wheat coffee since leaving
Staunton, and our whole supply of victuals is carried in haver-
sacks, being generally issued in 2 days rations at a time.
I believe however I bear the hard living better than you wd.
think. There is nothing so good to teach philosophy in these
things as having a good appetite for anything,and with it the
conviction that what we bear cannot be helped.
I received a week ago the coy of the Lynchburg Republican of April 7 con-
taining the copy of my letter about the Battle of Kernstown. It was forwarded
from New Market or rather arrested short of it. Also father's letter of the 16th
also containing stamps, for which I thank him. I believe now everything
you have sent from home has come to hand. Please write to me as often
as you can and tell Mary Isabella to write. I have not time to answer
her late kind letter individually but mine written home must be consid-
ered as cyclical. Address me care of Major A. W. Harman, A.M. Dept., Staunton,
with the request he will forward the letter, and I think it will reach me.
I have been rather troublesome with my requests for additions
to my comfort lately, but I trust you will pardon it if it has
seemed so, for the life we lead here is hard enough to make such things
pardonable I am particularly sollicitous about the oil cloth haver
sack and the tarpaulin, for which I presume the "specifications" have been recd.
The weather with us continues beautiful. I will write again before long.
My love to father, Mary Isabelle: also to sisters Mary & Sue and their little ones.
Kind regards to the servants particularly Peggy. My love to all at Uncle Thomas's
Your affectionate son--L.M. Blackford.
[cross hatched on the bottom half of the page]
Whenever you get the haversack, tarpaulin, etc ready
to send me, please make them ready for transportation
and let me know of it so I can tell you where
they will be most likely to reach me. Probably
sending them to Rev. J. A. Latane in Staunton will
be best but of this I can speak better when I see
our future movements. I am getting exceedingly
tired of moving about so much. We have been
marching almost without cessation for 15 days.