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Collection Number: 04790-z

Collection Title: Margaret E. Blackwell Papers, 1861-1865

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the section for more information.


Funding from the Watson-Brown Foundation, Inc., supported the encoding of this finding aid and microfilming of this collection.

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Size 29 items
Abstract Margaret E. Blackwell of Murray's Ferry, S.C., tended the home front while her husband and sons fought in the Civil War. The collection consists primarily of letters, 1861-1865, received by Margaret E. Blackwell from family members in Pontotoc County, Miss., during the Civil War. Letters discuss home front conditions in Mississippi; the occupation of Fort Sumter; the fall of Vicksburg, Miss.; and the battle at Gettysburg, Pa. Members of the Blackwell family serving in the 2nd Mississippi Regiment and their role at Gettysburg are mentioned. Other letters discuss plantation management, and one letter from 1865 describes the treatment, especially medical care, of slaves and freedmen working on family plantations.
Creator Blackwell, Margaret E.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Margaret E. Blackwell Papers #4790-z, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
Microfilm copy (filmed 2005-2006) available.
  • Reel 1: Entire collection
Acquisitions Information
Received from Donald D. France of Bahama, N.C., in December 1995 (Acc. 96001).
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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Margaret E. Blackwell of Murray's Ferry, S.C., tended the home front while her husband and sons fought in the Civil War.

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Primarily letters received by Margaret E. Blackwell of Murray's Ferry, S.C. Her most frequent correspondent was M. J. Blackwell, apparently her brother-in-law, of Pontotoc County, Miss. Other correspondents included her cousin Captain Samuel H. Blackwell and her brother James M. Burgess. Correspondence between family members A. Pinckney Blackwell and E. B. Blackwell is also included.

Letters chiefly contain news of home front conditions faced by the family in Mississippi. M. J. Blackwell described his family's hardships in Pontotoc County, Miss., and related news of the war. Several family members, including Blackwell's children, fought as part of the 2nd Mississippi Infantry Regiment. A 20 February 1862 letter describes the terrible conditions in Mississippi, and M. J. Blackwell laments that there seems to be "no way of saving the Mississippi Valley." In a 8 January 1863 letter, M. J. Blackwell stated that Margaret's husband, M. J.'s brother, was captured. In this letter, M. J. advised Margaret on how to manage the plantation in his brother's absence. A 15 July 1863 letter discusses the surrender of Vicksburg, Miss., and mentions the battle of Gettysburg. More news of Gettysburg and the role of the 2nd Mississippi is included in a letter of 17 July 1863. The condition of Vicksburg is also mentioned. A 30 July 1863 letter relates family casualties at Gettysburg--one member dead and another severely wounded.

Other correspondence includes a letter, 12 March 1861, from Margaret's brother James Burgess discussing the occupation of Fort Sumter by Federal forces. There is also a letter, 28 September 1865, from Margaret Blackwell's family physician to Judge Watson in Holly Springs, Miss., in which the doctor defended Margaret's treatment of slaves and free blacks working on her plantation. Also present is a 12 May 1865 pass to visit Tennessee for a member of the 2nd Mississippi.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Papers, 1861-1865.

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Processing Information

Processed by: Tim Pyatt, January 1996

Encoded by: Nancy Kaiser, April 2005

Funding from the Watson-Brown Foundation, Inc., supported the encoding of this finding aid and microfilming of this collection.

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