Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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BLAKE, Homer Crane, naval officer, born in Cleveland, Ohio, 1 February 1822; died 21 January 1880. He was appointed to the navy as a midshipman, 2 March 1840, and served on the frigate "Constellation," of the East India squadron, 1841-'3; the sloop "Preble," 1843-'5; at the naval academy in 1846, when he was made passed midshipman ; and again on the "Preble" until 1848. Until 1856 he served on receiving-ships at New York and Boston, with the exception of two years in the Pacific, and in 1.855 was commissioned lieutenant. From 1857 till 1859 he served on the "St. Lawrence," of the Brazil squadron, and from 1861 till 1862 on the "Sabine," of the home squadron. He was then made lieutenant-commander and given the command of the "Hatteras," of the western gulf blockading squadron, formerly a merchant steamer. On 11 July 1868, the "Hatteras," while at anchor off Galveston, Texas, was ordered to chase a suspicious vessel, which proved to be the confederate cruiser "Alabama," and after a short action Commander Blake was obliged to surrender, as the "Hatteras," no match for her adversary, was disabled and sinking. The crew was taken off, and the "Hatteras" went down in ten minutes. Blake was carried to Jamaica, where he was paroled, returned to the United States, and was soon exchanged. From 1863 till 1865 he commanded the steamer "Utah," of the North Atlantic blockading squadron, where he did good service, shelling three divisions of the confederate army on the James in 1864, and assisting to repel an attack on the Army of the James on 23 January 1865. He was made commander, 3 March 1866, commanded the "Swatara" and the "Alaska," and became captain, 25 May 1871. From 1873 till 1878 he was in command of the naval rendezvous at New York, and in 1880 was promoted to commodore.
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