Downtown Silver Spring in Montgomery County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The Blair Family and the Civil War
In his declaration of war on April 15, 1861, President Lincoln made an urgent request:
“I appeal to all loyal citizens to favor, facilitate and aid said effort to maintain the honor, the integrity, and the existence of our National Union, and the perpetuity of popular government; and to redress wrongs already long enough endured.”
Every member of the Blair family earnestly answered this call to duty.
When President Lincoln filled his Cabinet positions, he appointed Montgomery Blair U.S. Postmaster General. Until his resignation in September 1864, Blair was responsible for ensuring that postal routes remained open in southern post offices still loyal to the Union, as well as facilitating the establishment of free city postal delivery, the adoption of a money order system, and the use of railway mail cars during the Civil War. His placement in the Cabinet was strategic, as Blair was instrumental in keeping Maryland in the Union.
Montgomery Blair, a West Point graduate, had hoped to serve as Secretary of War. Such a title might put him in closer contact with his younger brother, Missouri Congressman
Throughout his tenure as President, Lincoln relied on Francis P. Blair, Sr. as his “private counselor.” In an attempt to bring the rebellion to an end, “Father Blair” went on an authorized mission to Virginia, twice, to secure a peace treaty from Jefferson Davis. The results of these operations were less than successful: “Francis P. Blair, Sr., returned from Richmond, and brought with him precisely what sensible men expected — that is just nothing.” In his own words, Blair concurred — calling himself a ‘total failure.’
Only a few months after Blair Sr. returned, General Robert E. Lee would surrender in Appomattox and the war would conclude on April 9, 1865. The sweet taste of victory was short-lived as Lincoln was assassinated less than a week later. In her mourning, former First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln sought solace from Elizabeth Blair Lee and her family: “Remember me most truly, to your brother, Judge (Montgomery) Blair, and your dear father & mother & all friends.”
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Government & Politics • War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #16 Abraham Lincoln, and the Former U.S. Presidents: #18 Ulysses S. Grant series lists. A significant historical date for this entry is April 15, 1861.
Location. 38° 59.121′ N, 77° 1.452′ W. Marker is in Silver Spring, Maryland, in Montgomery County. It is in Downtown Silver Spring. Marker can be reached from Jesup Blair Drive east of Georgia Avenue (U.S. 29), on the right when traveling east. In Jesup Blair Park behind (east of) Jesup Blair House. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 900 Jesup Blair Drive, Takoma Park MD 20912, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Blair Family and their Silver Spring Homes (here, next to this marker); Silver Spring Experienced by a Mother and Child, 1861-1865 (here, next to this marker); Jesup Blair House (within shouting distance of this marker); William L. Chaplin Arrested! (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Civil War in Silver Spring (about 700 feet away); Original Federal Boundary Stone, District of Columbia, Northeast 1 (approx. 0.2 miles away); Living in Takoma ParkThe Metropolitan Branch & Takoma Park (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Silver Spring.
Credits. This page was last revised on May 25, 2023. It was originally submitted on April 5, 2015, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 852 times since then and 171 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. submitted on April 5, 2015, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.