The Children of Bladensfield

LIFE & LETTERS

PLA

by Evelyn D. Ward.Sand Dune/Viking, $14.95. Evelyn Ward was a child at the time of the Civil War, one of a huge family living on a modest plantation called Bladensfield. Years afterward, she wrote about those times for the children of later generations, preserving her juvenile perspective and creating a vivid picture full of the sort of detail that adult historians ignore, like the dazzling impact of the first oil lamps or the ultimate fate of rifle crates. Peter Matthiessen, one of the later children, has added an attractive essay on the subsequent history of the place. It is good to know that the family still sits on those rifle crates. Illustrations.