Friday, November 16, 2012

Chesley Blake And Maine's Bloody Ninth

From Historical collections, Volume 22, a vignette about Captain Chesley Blake:

When the war of 1812 broke out he entered a Maine regular regiment, the bloody Ninth, so called, was made sergeant and, at the fearful battle of Lundy's Lane, in 1813, where Scott charged up the hill time and again, and then retreated down before the British fire, and where, finally placing himself at the head of that Maine regiment and mounting his white horse with a long white plume, he said: "Boys, follow me. I have faith that this bloody Ninth will carry and hold those heights. Wherever you see this white horse and this long white plume you will know where I am."

And they did follow him until they saw white horse and plume and Scott all tumbled to the earth; whence he was carried off with Worth and Wool and Brady.  But on kept the bloody Ninth and old Blake, one of its ordinary sized men, until the heights were taken and held, and until that regiment, going into battle nearly 500 strong, had a mere handful left and were marched off the field by Blake as their sergeant, all its commissioned officers having been killed or wounded, and for which Chesley Blake was made then and there first lieutenant for gallantry on the field.

Chesley Blake died in Milwaukee on 3 October 1849, of cholera.  From History of the Great Lakes:

Cholera Breaks Out. - The cholera was alarmingly prevalent in 1849 at nearly all the lake ports, and many deaths occurred on ship board. Among those carried off was Captain Chesley Blake, long in the employ of Oliver Newberry, Detroit. This veteran sailor, who had been on the lakes since 1818 and was well known as an able commander, died at the American House, Milwaukee, October 3. He was taken with cholera on board of the steamer St. Louis, on her trip up to Chicago, while on Lake Michigan.

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