FRAMED PHOTO OF MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT WILMON W. BLACKMAR WITH UNION VETERANS IN ARKANSAS - INCLUDING THREE MEN FROM THE US COLORED TROOPS

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Item Code: 945-582

The actual photo meas. approx. 9.00 x 7.00 inches and shows a group of approx. 41 Union veterans posed on the stairs of a large stone building. The image sits on a black mat with a faint gray border. The framed mount and image meas. approx. 13.00 x 11.00 inches. The mount is marked at bottom with “PHOTO BY MCLEOD OF HAPPY HOLLOW HOT SPRINGS, ARK.”

Many of the men wear dark coats with reunion ribbons or GAR membership medals visible while some have “GAR” wreaths on their hats. Wilmon Blackmar stands front and center wearing a dark slouch hat with “GAR” wreath pinned to the front, a dark double-breasted frock coat that is buttoned up with matching dark trousers. Clearly visible on his chest is his GAR membership badge and a reunion ribbon.

Upon close inspection a fellow at the back of the group can be seen doffing his bowler to the camera and just in front of him three African-American veterans can be seen.

This photo was taken when Blackmar was serving as Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic. He made rounds of the various Departments within the GAR and was in Hot Springs, Arkansas for a reunion on Friday, April 28, 1905.

Image has excellent clarity and contrast and is clean. Black wood frame looks to be the original but it is coming loose at the corners. Reverse has original wood backing that needs to be tightened a bit.

Born in 1841 in Bristol, Bucks County, PA Blackmar was a 21 year old resident of Boston, MA when he enlisted on 8/30/1862 at Philadelphia, PA as a Corporal. On 8/30/1862 he mustered into "K" Co., 15th PA Cavalry. He was discharged for promotion on 3/18/1864. On 3/18/1864 he was commissioned into Co. H, 1st WV Cavalry. He was Mustered Out on 7/8/1865.

Promotions: Sergt 3/1/1863, 1st Sergt 5/5/1863, Lieut 3/18/1864 (As of WV 1st Cav), Capt 3/17/1865.

MEDAL OF HONOR ACTION

At the battle of Five Forks, Va., April 1, 1865, Lieutenant Wilmon W. Blackmar, of Company H, First West Virginia Cavalry was brigade provost-marshal on the staff of General Capehart, commander of the third Brigade of General Custer's Cavalry Division.  General Capehart's Brigade had been ordered to join in the general charge and follow what seemed to be the main body of the Confederates.  The order was carried out.  Presently Lieutenant Blackmar saw the flankers being driven in and riding to their assistance made the startling discovery that the brigade was in pursuit of a small detachment only, the main body of the enemy being posted in another direction.  He also observed that the enemy were about to take advantage of the mistake and by a bold move push their troops between the cavalry and infantry in the Union line of battle.  He rode rapidly after and overtook his brigade commander, hastily told what he had discovered and was ordered to ride back at once and form the brigade in line of battle  (facing the enemy's position)  as rapidly as it should be turned back to him.  He formed a new line of battle on the edge of a deep ditch facing in the new direction.  The situation was highly critical, and no one realized the danger more keenly than Lieutenant Blackmar.  He had no authority to give orders to advance, nevertheless he assumed the responsibility, not waiting for the arrival of the larger portion of the brigade now moving rapidly toward the new line, and with the brigade colors and that portion of the brigade which had arrived, he ordered a charge, jumped the ditch and a most brilliant and impetuous charge was thus begun.  The charge was made so irresistibly that the Confederates fled in great confusion ; the brigade pursued for more than five miles, picking up prisoners, cannon, wagons and ambulances from the utterly demoralized enemy.

General George A. Custer, happened to be an eye-witness of this incident and riding to Lieutenant Blackmar's side he laid his hand on his shoulder and called him captain, at the same time joining in the charge.  Recommendations from Generals Custer and Capehart promptly brought Lieutenant Blackmar commission as captain of cavalry.

Following the war, Blackmar was a member of GAR Post # 113 (Edward W. Kinsely) in Boston, MA. He held GAR Offices: National Commander-in-Chief from 1904 to 1905, Dept of MA Commander for 1902, Dept of MA Sr Vice-Commander for 1901, Dept of MA Jr Vice-Commander for 1900, Post Trustee Relief Fund from 1876 to 1878 # 113, Post Commander for 1870 # 113. He was also appointed Judge Advocate General of Massachusetts, with the rank of Brigadier General, 04 June 1873; serving 10 years under four different Governors.

He died on 7/16/1905 in Boise, ID and is buried in Cedar Grove Cemetery, Dorchester, MA.  [ad] [ph:m]

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