Robert Blake was born into slavery in Virginia. After escaping, he enlisted in the US Navy from Port Royal, Virginia and served on USS Marblehead during the Civil War. While off Legareville, Stono River, South Carolina, on 25 December 1863, Blake bravely served the rifle gun as Marblehead engaged Confederates on John's Island. The enemy eventually abandoned its position leaving munitions behind. For his bravery in this action, Blake was awarded the Medal of Honor.
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Photo #: NH 103762
Contraband Robert Blake
U.S. Navy poster photographed in 1970. Robert Blake, an escaped slave, received the Medal of Honor for bravery while serving the rifle gun as USS Marblehead engaged Confederates off Legareville, South Carolina on 25 December 1863.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
Online Image: 57KB; 740 x 615 pixels
Medal of Honor citation of Contraband Robert Blake (as printed in the official publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy", pages 15-16):
Page made 24 April 2006