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Civil War Soldiers - Blair

Blair, Francis P., Jr., major-general, U.S. Army, was born in Lexington, Ky., Feb. 19, 1821, son of Francis Preston Blair, statesman. He was graduated from Princeton in 1841, admitted to the bar in 1843, practiced two years in St. Louis, and then spent two years in the Rocky mountains for his health. He served as a private in the Mexican war, then returned to St. Louis, where he took an active part in politics as a Free Soil Democrat, and represented his district in the state legislature from 1852 to 1856, after which he spent several terms in Congress. In 1861, at a meeting of Republican leaders in St. Louis, Mr. Blair urged the necessity of saving from the state authorities the St. Louis arsenal, containing 65,000 stands of arms belonging to the government, and he became the head of the military organization then formed, which guarded the arsenal from that time. Under his direction, the state troops under Gen. Frost were captured in May, 1861, and it is claimed that this act, done though it was without authority from Washington, saved Missouri and Kentucky to the Union. He then joined the Union army as colonel of volunteers and was promoted to brigadier-general, and, on Nov. 29, 1862, was made major-general of volunteers. He commanded a division in the Vicksburg campaign, led his men at Lookout mountain and Missionary ridge, and was at the head of his troops, the 17th corps, during Sherman's campaigns in 1864-65, including the march to the sea. His opposition to reconstruction policies after the war led to his rejection by the senate, when nominated by President Johnson as revenue collector at St. Louis, and also as United States minister to Austria. He returned to the Democratic party and was its candidate for the vice-presidency in 1868. In Jan., 1871, he again entered the Missouri state legislature, was elected to the United States senate to fill an unexpired term, but failed at re-election in 1873. At the time of his death, which occurred in St. Louis in 1875, he was state superintendent of insurance.

Source: The Union Army: A History of Military Affairs in the Loyal States 1861-1865, Volume 8 Biographical, 1908

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