Susan Leigh Blackford, née Colston, was born to a prominent Virginia family. She married Charles Minor Blackford, a Virginia aristocrat and lawyer. When he enlisted in the Confederate Army at the outset of the Civil War in 1861, they agreed to keep all the letters they wrote to each other. During the war, she helped run a Ladies’ Hospital for injured soldiers, and sewed uniforms and flags for the Army. Many years later, the couple edit the letters they had exchanged during the war and published them privately as Letters from Lee's Army or Memoirs of Life In and Out of the Army of Virginia During the War Between the States (1894), republished in 1947.