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Seth Blake

            On September 7, 18__ a future civil war veteran was born to Seth Blake and Mary J. Emerson.  This boy was given the name Seth as well, in the footsteps of his father.  Seth Blake Jr. was born out of wedlock, and his parents never take vows of marriage.

            When he grew older he enlisted into the Eighteenth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry in the spring of 1861.  The regiment was a three-year enlistment. During the spring and early summer of 1861 the eighteenth regiment was taught the correct procedures of war in Norfolk, MA.  It was in company I that Seth Blake resided as a private.  The regiment traveled around the Washington, D.C. area performing picket and outpost duties between August 1861 and March of 1862.  On August 30 of 1862, regiment 18 experienced their first major battle at the Second Battle of Bull Run, also known as the Second Manassas.  During the battle General John Pope led the Union Army; the infamous Gen. Robert E. Lee led the Confederates.  Due to John Pope’s lack of realizing Lee’s maneuvering the battle was marked as a Union loss and Pope was fired from his position.  Along with the loss as a battle, the Second Battle of Bull Run also led to 1,747 Union soldiers killed, 8,452 of them wounded, and 4,263 Union men captured or missing.  Among those Union soldiers captured was Private Seth Blake.

            After succumbing to the Confederate Army forces, Blake was sent to Camp Sumter in Georgia, better known as Andersonville prison.  The prison was constructed in the shape of a parallelogram with 15-foot high log stockade.  Perhaps the most dreadful of prisoner treatment occurred in this camp.  The Union soldiers residing in Andersonville were living on top of each other, with 33,000 men in a 26 acres area.  There was no shelter from the Georgia sun, heat, and rain.  Prisoner’s drinking water and sewer coincided in the same water stream.  In the camp, there existed a 19 feet radius from the wall in which prisoners were threatened with death if they crossed into the territory, for this reason the radius was known as the “Deadline”.  During the short period of 14 months that Fort Sumter existed almost 1/3 of the men that entered the prison died.  Luckily, for months after being captured a brought to Andersonville, Seth Blake was released and returned to the Eighteenth Massachusetts Regiment in early January 1863.   The Eighteenth Regiment was involved in several small battles until early July.  Six months after being released, Seth Blake and his regiment were sent to aid at Gettysburg on July 2nd and 3rd; miraculously the regiment experienced no severe losses at this bloody battle.

            In early 1864, the regiment’s three-year voluntary enlistment time had ended.  Along with those to reenlist into the army was Private Seth Blake.  On May 5th of 1864 the 18th Massachusetts and the 83rd Pennsylvania opened the battle of the Wilderness.  Heavy losses were experienced in this battle, including Colonel Hayes.

            Seth Blake remained in the army when his 18th MA regiment consolidated into the 32nd MA on October 21, 1864. He remained in the army until the end of the war and was one of the lucky men to have not lost his life in the bloody war that was fought on the United States homelands.

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