The Richard Blackburn journal includes an account of his journey from Virginia, through Pittsburgh, to Lexington, Kentucky, from March 26-May 3, 1789. The journal consists of brief entries describing the course of travel, the landscape and towns, and occasionally the people he encountered. Included are interesting descriptions of Marietta, Ohio, and other small settlements along the Ohio River established by Revolutionary War veterans from the Virginia Line, as well as descriptions of Lexington, Kentucky. Blackburn stopped writing in the journal before departing Lexington for New Orleans.
The copybook portion of the journal includes over ninety copies of letters written by Blackburn to military officials. Many of the letters from Dumfries and Fort Washington are concerned with administrative matters, often provisioning, but a few from Georgia document special military discipline problems posed by life on the frontier and the proximity of the border with Spain. In his first two months at Fort Washington, Blackburn lost 10 men to Florida by desertion.