Mary Berkeley Minor Blackford to John Barbee Minor, January 18, 1861, Minor and Wilson Family Papers, Special Collections, University of Virginia
Mary Berkeley Minor Blackford, of Lynchburg, had a long history of antislavery sympathies and early in 1861 wrote to her cousin, John Barbee Minor, about her anguish at the prospect of Civil War. "To see my sons arrayed against one part of their country, our own 'Star spangled banner,'" she wrote, "and in such a cause, is a sorrow that makes me feel that the grave is the only place for me. You did not know, my dear John, the pains I took to train my five sons in sentiments of patriotism." Her sons all fought in the Confederate army.