The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

,Cewis Ilartie /Blair, texas travds, 1851-1855
Edited by CHARLES E. WYNES
S EVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD LEWIS HARVIE BLAIR LEFT RICHMOND,
Virginia, by ship, for Texas via New Orleans early in March,
1851. The boy's father, John G. Blair, who had long been
cashier of the Farmers' Bank of Virginia in Richmond, had just
died. William Blair, an older brother of Lewis, recently had been
promoted to the rank of captain in the United States Army and
assigned to San Antonio, Texas, as chief commissary of the Eighth
Military Department. He appointed Lewis his clerk, at the then
magnificent salary of $75 a month-a plain sinecure by Lewis
Blair's own admission. For the next four-and-one-half years, Blair
lived first in San Antonio and then in Corpus Christi-where he
did the little work which was expected of him-read, hunted, and
met many of the junior officers who later were to achieve general-
rank on both sides in the Civil War-James Longstreet, George E.
Pickett, Joseph E. Johnston, Don Carlos Buell, Alfred Gibbs, and
William F. Smith. Sixty years after leaving Texas, Blair, at the
age of eighty-one, wrote in his unpublished autobiography a re-
markably vivid and accurate description of the parts of Texas
which he traversed and lived in between 1851-1855. He recounted
how he arrived at Galveston, then a mere village but one noted
for its oleanders and roses; how he proceeded south down the
coast to Indianola, unattractive and sand-flea ridden, he said;
next overland to San Antonio, with a brief description of that
lusty town and its river; and then to Corpus Christi on the Gulf
and the real body of his travel memoirs.
In 1855, Blair returned to Richmond, Virginia-by ship to New
Orleans and up the Mississippi and Ohio rivers to Wheeling, and
*This article and another to be published elsewhere, also concerning Blair, are
the result of two summer research grants, one each from the American Philosophi-
cal Society (372-Johnson Fund), and the Agricultural and Mechanical College of
Texas Fund for Organized Research. To the Society and the Agricultural and
Mechanical College of Texas the editor expresses his gratitude.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101196/. Accessed October 22, 2014.