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Blake, Orwell


Age: 25, credited to Eden, VT
Unit(s): 8th VT INF, 75th USCI
Service: enl 10/16/61, m/i 2/18/62, PVT, Co. A, 8th VT INF, disch 11/25/62 for pr as QMSGT, later 2LT, 75th USCI

See Legend for expansion of abbreviations


Birth: 02/25/1836, Phillips, ME
Death: 09/02/1905

Burial: Woodland Cemetery, Des Moines, IA
Marker/Plot: Not recorded
Gravestone researcher/photographer: Katie Lou
Findagrave Memorial #: 74810134


Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Yes, 8/15/1873; widow Martha J., 10/3/1905, IA
Portrait?: Unknown
College?: Not Found
Veterans Home?: Not Found
(If there are state digraphs above, this soldier spent some time in a state or national soldiers' home in that state after the war)

Remarks: Brother of Charles Wesley and Joseph Stillman Blake


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Copyright notice


Woodland Cemetery, Des Moines, IA

Check the cemetery for location/directions and other veterans who may be buried there.

Orwell Blake





As you see, by the place of my date, we have moved. We started from Ship Island the 7th of May, and arrived here yesterday. It may seem strange to you that we were so long coming, but we laid at anchor, at the mouth of the Mississippi river, from the eve of the 7th, (Wednesday), until the next Sunday morning; waiting for a steamer to tow us up to the city. We came on the James Henry---the whole regiment on the same vessel. You may think we enjoyed the journey. We endured it, if we did not enjoy it. The steamer Mississippi came Sunday morning, to tow us up the river, and you may well judge that the circumstances gladdened the heart of many an anxious soldier. We started about 10 o/clock, and got here about one. We should have arrived earlier in the day, but had to cast anchor about 2 o'clock in the night on account of fog. We came off the ship last night, about dark, and are quartered in large shed, which have been used for housing cotton, but we expect to move soon to other quarters.

I will give you a slight description of the country from the mouth of the river, as it may be somewhat interesting to you. You will see, by looking on the map, that there are 3 principal passes or outlets to the river. We entered the most westerly one. It is called The South West Pass. This pass is interspersed with small islands which are covered with a growth of tall coarse grass and weeds, and some small bushes. On one of the islands on the mouth of the pass is a small town, called Pilot Town. On another is a lighthouse and keepers residence, which is a very small little house, with a verandah on front. Up as far as Fort Jackson and St. Philips the islands are very sparsely settled. There being occasionally a hut or small cottage, occupied by a coarse set of people. As we neared the city, from the forts, the country is finer and more densely populated. The plantations are large and nice. It was a splendid treat for us to view them as we passed. The river is very high now, and the land is lower than the surface of the river. This may sound incredible, but there is an embankment built on the shore which prevents the river from overflowing.

The principle production, as far as we came, is sugar cane, which is now 6 to 10 inches high. I noticed some small pieces of corn about as high as a mans waist. The trees are covered with foliage, and some are in full blossom. The homes are very nice, most of them built in good taste. Some are very large and some are rather small; but there is occasionally a dilapidated looking one; showing that the owner is either running out, or is sloven. The inhabitants did not show themselves much as we passed, except a few slaves and low whites

Business is very dull here. If it was in a northern city, nothing more going on than there is here, I should think it was Sunday.

Provisions are very high and hard to get by the citizens. They are truly in a starving condition. The propagators of the rebellion seem to have squandered everything for the support of their villainous project. The pressure is so great when the distribution of provisions is made, among the suffering poor, that a strong guard has to be stationed, to prevent the starving crowd from pressing upon the distributing officer. Kent has been out as one of this guard to-day, and came in a few minutes ago. He says it is the most distressing sight he ever saw. Beef is 50 cts. per lb; eggs 50 cts. doz, flour $20 pe bbl. Native products seem to be quite cheap. Sugar is from 6 to 7 cts. per lb.

I have not had time to post myself much yet, but will write again soon. I am very well. Your affectionate Son, Orwell Blake.

Submitted by: Deanna French.

8th Vermont Infantry Regimental History