United States Congressman & Senator from Missouri
He was instrumental in preventing Missouri from joining the Confederacy in 1861
The Blair family were close friends of President Abraham Lincoln
(1821-75) Born in Lexington, Kentucky, he was the son of an advisor to presidents, and the brother of Montgomery Blair, President Abraham Lincoln's first postmaster general. From secession to reconstruction, Francis P. Blair, Jr. made a series of major contributions to the Union cause. No man did more to block Missouri's joining the Confederacy in 1861 than Blair, Jr. As a U.S. Congressman he battled for Lincoln's early war programs; he was a distinguished divisional and corps commander in the Vicksburg and Atlanta campaigns; and as a post war senator battled the Radical Republicans in an attempt to bring reconstruction to a shattered nation. After the Mexican War started he joined the expedition of General Stephen W. Kearny in Santa Fe, who then appointed Blair as attorney general for the New Mexico Territory after it was secured. Blair was instrumental in appointing Nathaniel Lyon as the new military commander of the Western Department of the U.S. Army. He assisted Lyon in securing help of the St. Louis Home Guard in moving over 20,000 rifles and muskets from the St. Louis Arsenal to Illinois. The Blair family were unwavering supporters of Abraham Lincoln during his rise to the presidency, and during his years in office, and in return they enjoyed his political patronage. In December 1863, President Lincoln said, "The Blair's have to an unusual degree the spirit of clan. Their family is a close corporation. Frank, Jr. is their hope and pride. They have a way of going with a rush for anything they undertake, and especially have Montgomery and the Old Gentleman." Blair was appointed a colonel of Missouri volunteers in July 1862, and was promoted to rank of brigadier general of volunteers in August 1862, and major general in November. He subsequently commanded a division in the Vicksburg campaign, and in the fighting about Chattanooga. He also saw action during the Yazoo expedition, in Sherman's March to the Sea, and in the 1865 Carolina's campaign. Both Generals' Grant and Sherman who were highly critical of most "political generals" rated Blair as one of the most competent military leaders of the Civil War. He was one of General Sherman's top corps commanders in the final campaigns in Georgia and the Carolina's. He died on July 8, 1875, from serious head injuries that he received after a fall. He is interred in Bellefontaine Cemetery, in St. Louis, Mo. After hearing about Blair's death, General William T. Sherman said, "I always regarded him as one of the truest patriots, most honest and honorable men, and one of the most courageous soldiers this country ever produced." General Ulysses S. Grant wrote about Frank Blair, Jr. in his memoirs that, "There was no man braver than he, nor was there any who obeyed all orders of his superiors in rank with more unquestioning alacrity. He was one man as a soldier, another as a politician."
Wet plate, albumen carte de visite photograph, mounted to 2 3/8 x 3 7/8 card. Seated view wearing a double breasted frock coat with shoulder straps and rank of colonel, and holding his sword. Back mark: E. Anthony, 501 Broadway, N.Y. The card mount is very slightly trimmed. Very nice image.