Detail from letterhead

The following five letters from the Blackshear, Pittman, White, Dickens and Drew Families Papers (N2005-9) all contain references to Lincoln.

The five letters from the Blackshear, Pittman, White, Dickens and Drew Families Papers (N2005-9) all contain references to Lincoln.

John Dawson Pittman (1843-1862) was a student at the University of Virginia in 1860-1862. His parents, Col. James J. Pittman and Martha W. Pittman (nee Dickens), lived in Jackson County, where they raised John and his siblings (only one of the 10 children was still alive after 1862). John left the University of Virginia in the spring of 1862 to join the Confederate Army. He enlisted in Marianna, Florida in May 1862, served in Company E of the Eighth Florida Infantry Regiment, and was killed on August 31, 1862, during the Battle of Second Manassas (Second Bull Run) in Virginia.

The Pittman papers include 10 letters from John D. Pittman to his mother, Martha. John wrote the letters from the University of Virginia. His earliest letter is from October 4, 1860. The last letter is dated March 21, 1862.

E. J. Blackshear (Edward Jefferson Blackshear) was married to Mary Jane Pittman, who was the sister of John D. Pittman. The Blackshears lived at Froglevel, a plantation in Laurens County, Georgia. E. J. Blackshear was a successful businessman, county judge, and state senator in Georgia. Mary Jane Blackshear died in 1852 as a result of complications following the birth of her fourth child, Edward Jefferson Jr. After Mary's death, E. J. Blackshear corresponded regularly with Mary's mother.

As the first half of the letter deals only with family matters, the transcription begins near the end of the second page, which is where E. J. Blackshear begins to discuss the secession crisis. Georgia seceded on January 19 and its secession convention delegates signed the state's ordinance of secession on January 21, the day Blackshear began his letter.