Item description: Letter, 24 January 1863, from Benjamin Lewis Blackford to his mother, Mary Berkeley Minor Blackford (1802-1896).
[Item transcription available below images.]
Jany 24. 1863.
My dearest Mother –
I have been very badly hurt, but am all right now. My horse ran away (she always does) I was riding with a large party of ladies and gentlemen, the road was narrow and just as the point when I overtook a barouche containing a lady and gentleman, there was a huge tree on the road edge; there was scarcely room to ride between the barouche & tree without grazing the vehicle. I endeavored to guide my horse to the left of the tree. she refused the bit and dashed me violently against the tree, which knocked me out of the saddle on the ground. When I partially recovered my sense which was in about 20 minutes, I was in a charming situation; one beautiful girl supported my head in her lap, three others were chafing and bathing my hands and face, and there was weeping and wailing, for they had taken it into their pretty little heads that I was dead. All this was on Friday. Surgical examination discovered that I had been in the great mercy of God spared fatal or even dangerous injury. I was dreadfully bruised on hip, chest, thigh and arms. and my face much cut & disfigured I was brought home in a carriage (to [Scott’s?] rooms) and became very wild by reason of the blows on my head. They tell me since, that I took a bearded and buttoned up officer for you and addressed him with m any tears. The kindness I have received in these last two days exceed anything I ever met before. Enough dainty meals are sent me to support a battalion. Wine, brandy, oranges, lemons, jellies, flowers, cream, team, and all sorts of delicate eatables make up the lists. Yesterday I received over 20 little presents of this [?]. The Kidders are the kindest of the kind. Mrs. Kidder & Willy Scott (who is a noble and generous fellow) have nursed me most tenderly. And Miss Sue who is an angel of purity and goodness, sends me sweet little notes and flowers & delicacies. To-morrow, or the next day, I am to be moved to their house. I am not broke anywhere and will be well in a week; I am free from fever this evening for the first time, and all danger is over. I am gratefully and humbly thankful for my almost miraculous escape. I thank you and Pa, with my dear love, for recent letters. I delivered your note to Mrs. K. who was much pleased; it was a beautiful and tasteful note, I am so glad you wrote it. Pickled oysters, &c. have just come in from Mrs. Gibbes, formerly Miss Jenny Mason of Falmouth. I can never forget all this kindness, or the kind, pale pretty faces bent over me when I opened my eyes the other evening. My best love to everybody. Did you and Mary get the things by Express? I have a a quantity of pictorial papers, Lady’s books &c to send her from Miss K. I have very much to write, but I am weary and the Doctor stops me.