MAJOR GENERAL FRANCIS P. BLAIR JR. - DOCUMENT SIGNED 01/15/1865 CO-SIGNED BY: MAJOR GENERAL MORTIMER D. LEGGETT, MAJOR WHEELOCK PRATT - HFSID 276888
FRANCIS BLAIR JR. A slave-owner who supported Lincoln, expended his fortune in the Union cause and won Grant and Sherman's praise for his generalship, he opposed Reconstruction and ran for Vice President as a Democrat. Document Fragment signed: "Frank P Blair Jr/Maj Gen" as Commander of the XVII Corps.
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FRANCIS BLAIR JR.
A slave-owner who supported Lincoln, expended his fortune in the Union cause and won Grant and Sherman's praise for his generalship, he opposed Reconstruction and ran for Vice President as a Democrat.
Document Fragment signed: "Frank P Blair Jr/Maj Gen" as Commander of the XVII Corps. Also signed "M. D. Leggett Brig Genl/Commanding 3 Div. 17 C", and by an unidentified ordnance officer. 1p, 8¾x3½. No place, circa 1865. Signature portion of a requisition form, with receipt of the items acknowledged by Captain Wheelock Pratt, 1865 January 15. Francis Preston Blair Sr., a close friend and advisor of President Andrew Jackson, rallied to the support of President Lincoln, becoming known as "Lincoln's conservative." One of his sons, Montgomery Blair, became Postmaster General in Lincoln's Cabinet. His older son, FRANCIS P. BLAIR JR. (1821-1875), intermittently occupied a seat in Congress while rising to a corps command in the Union Army. The Blairs, influential in the border states of Kentucky and Missouri, were slave-owners, but opposed the extension of slavery to the territories. Frank Blair Jr. played a key role in organizing loyal militia in Missouri, thus playing a vital role in keeping that state in the Union. Having raised seven regiments of volunteers, he was made a Brigadier General in August and a Major General in November of that year. Blair's was no mere paper commission. While continuing to occupy intermittently a seat in Congress, he commanded an army division under General Grant at Vicksburg (1863) and a corps under Sherman in the Georgia campaign of 1864-1865, winning the praise of both of the Union's greatest generals. Meanwhile, however, Frank Jr., the most hot-tempered of the always quarrelsome Blairs, complicated President Lincoln's life by openly criticizing other members of the Cabinet, especially Treasury Secretary Salmon Chase. After Lincoln's assassination, Blair, who had spent all of his personal fortune to support the war effort but who favored a gradual approach to emancipation, and readmission of the southern states under lenient conditions, rejoined the Democratic Party. In 1868, he was the Democratic nominee for Vice President, running unsuccessfully with Horatio Seymour against his former commander, Ulysses S. Grant. Blair is one of two Missourians enshrined in the Hall of Statuary of the U.S. Capitol. MORTIMER D. LEGGETT (1821-1896) led a Brigade in the Vicksburg campaign and rose to divisional and temporary corps commands in Sherman's Atlanta campaign. A key position defended by his unit became known as Leggett's Hill. After the war, he was a lawyer and successful businessman. President Grant appointed him Patent Commissioner in 1871. More research on WHEELOCK PRATT might be warranted. In 1863 he commanded Company C of the 55th Massachusetts Regiment, a black regiment with white officers, the sister regiment of the 54th, remembered in the film Glory. He participated in the bitter campaign to capture Fort Wagner in Charleston Harbor, a struggle also recalled in that film. Lightly soiled. Pencil notation (unknown hand) pointing to Blair's signature. Otherwise, fine condition.
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