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Lieutenant Joseph Blair 26th & 202nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry

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Item No. CV2210MF Categories , Tag


Standing view of 1st Lieutenant John F. Blair of the 26th and 202nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. John is shown here dressed in his infantry frock and lieutenant’s shoulder boards. Initially, John would muster with “I” Company of the 26th Pennsylvania Emergency Militia as a private in mid June of 1863. The regiment would be hastily raised in response to Lee’s invasion north and into Pennsylvania. They would hold the distinction of being the first regiment to engage Confederate troops, led by Jubal Early, just outside of Gettysburg beginning on June, 26th. The affair would not end well for the green members of the 26th with the vast majority being captured. They were later released by Early who admonished the young boys with a stern lecture and telling them to return home to their mothers rather than the battlefield. The boys did however delay the Confederate attack on Gettysburg itself nearly a day buying crucial time for Federal forces.  Discharged at the end of July, he would next be commissioned into “C” Company of the 202nd in September, 1864 when the regiment was raised at Harrisburg. They would be sent to the Manassas Gap Railroad to guard it against the attacks of Confederate partisan rangers under John Mosby. Following the Union victory at Cedar Creek, the regiment helped break up the now un-needed railroad and moved to Alexandria to guard the railroad there. Following the end of the war, the regiment was sent to the Coal Region of Pennsylvania to suppress labor unrest. John and the remainder of the 202nd were  mustered out in August,1865. This view exhibits a period ink signature on the reverse reading “Compliments Lt. J. F. Blair Co. C. 202 P.V.”. A different view of John can be found for sale on the Excelsior Brigade’s website. Back marked out of Harrisburg where the regiment was both raised and mustered out of service.

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