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Hagerstown in Washington County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Hagerstonians in the Civil War

Commander Donald McNeill Fairfax, USN

— 1821 - 1894 —

 
 
Hagerstonians in the Civil War Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), March 1, 2020
1. Hagerstonians in the Civil War Marker
Inscription.  A native of Virginia, Fairfax served 48 years in the U.S. Navy, including service in the Mexican and Civil Wars. He retired as a Rear Admiral in 1881 and lived here at "The Columns". He rests in Rose Hill Cemetery. Highlights of his career include:

1860 - Executive Officer (second in command but day-to-day commander) of USS Constellation when it captured the slave ship Cora and liberated 705 slaves being transported to the Americas.

1861 - Executive Officer of USS San Jacinto, when Captain Charles Wilkes ordered the British mail ship Trent stopped and boarded. They found John Slidell and James Murray Mason; Confederate diplomats on route to England and France. On Wilkes' order, Fairfax personally arrested the two and took them aboard San Jacinto. Known as the "Trent Affair", this international incident nearly led to war with Britain until the Lincoln Administration apologized for the breach of maritime law and released the diplomats.

1862 - Commanded USS Cayuga on the Mississippi River and fought the Confederate ironclad CSS Arkansas.

1863
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Commanded the ironclad USS Nantucket and USS Montauk in attacks on Charleston and Fort Wagner, South Carolina.

Late 1863 to 1865 - Commandant of Midshipmen at the US Naval Academy (temporarily relocated to Newport, Rhode Island for the duration of the War).

Fascinating Fact
Fairfax was a cousin of the famed artist James McNeill Whistler; meaning he was the nephew of "Whistler's Mother"; the subject of the famous painting. When he was stationed at the Navy Yard in Baltimore in 1855, his aunt fell on hard times and lived with Fairfax and his wife in an apartment there.
 
Erected by Maryland Heritage Area Authority.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Cemeteries & Burial SitesWar, Mexican-AmericanWar, US CivilWaterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1881.
 
Location. 39° 38.466′ N, 77° 43.594′ W. Marker is in Hagerstown, Maryland, in Washington County. Marker is on South Prospect Street, 0.1 miles north of West Baltimore Street, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 163 South Prospect Street, Hagerstown MD 21740, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. 165 South Prospect Street (a few steps from this marker); 169 South Prospect St.
Hagerstonians in the Civil War Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), March 1, 2020
2. Hagerstonians in the Civil War Marker
The plaque is in front of "The Columns."
(a few steps from this marker); 175 South Prospect Street (within shouting distance of this marker); 202 South Prospect Street (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Vietnam War Veterans Monument (about 400 feet away); 125 South Prospect Street (about 400 feet away); The Italian Villa (about 500 feet away); 113 South Prospect Street (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hagerstown.
 
Plaque on the building image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), March 1, 2020
3. Plaque on the building
This property has been
placed on the
National Registe
of Historic Places

by the United States
Department of the Interior
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 2, 2020. It was originally submitted on March 2, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 208 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on March 2, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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Apr. 22, 2024