b. 04/11/1895 Person County, North Carolina. d. 11/10/1918 St Souplet, France.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 11/10/1918 St Souplet, France.
He was born in the vicinity of Hurdle Mills, in Person County, North Carolina, to James B. and Eugenia Blackwell. Robert’s father was originally from nearby Orange County, and was a Confederate Civil War veteran; his mother died when he was young. Blackwell was raised on his family’s farm, and entered the Army from Hurdle Mills.
He was assigned to Company K, 119th Infantry, 30th Division. He was one of two soldiers from North Carolina to be awarded the Medal of Honor for service in the First World War.
He is buried in Somme American Cemetery and Memorial, Somme Picardie, France. His grave can be found in plot D, row 20, grave 2. Robert’s father received the medal May 6, 1919, from North Carolina Governor Thomas Bickett in a ceremony in the North Carolina State Capitol. The family later donated the medal to what is now the North Carolina Museum of History.
When his platoon was almost surrounded by the enemy and his platoon commander asked for volunteers to carry a message calling for reinforcements, Pvt. Blackwell volunteered for this mission, well knowing the extreme danger connected with it. In attempting to get through the heavy shell and machinegun fire this gallant soldier was killed.
BURIAL LOCATION: SOMME AMERICAN CEMETERY, SOMME PICARDIE, FRANCE.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: NORTH CAROLINA MUSEUM OF HISTORY, RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA.