Elijah Wilson Flake (1841-1918) fought in the historic battle between the Merrimac and the Monitor. William J. Flake, his cousin, was a prominent member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Elijah W. Flake enlisted in Anson County, North Carolina on Sept. 5, 1861 at the age of 20. He joined the 14th North Carolina Regiment, Company C. While stationed near Smithfield, Virginia, not very far from Portsmouth, where the Merrimac was being made ready for the upcoming conflict, he was transferred to the Navy and assigned to the CSS Virginia (Merrimac) on Feb. 15, 1862. Merely one month later he would be battling the USS Cumberland and USS Monitor in one of the most historic naval encounters of the civil war. This account was later written down in his book, Battle Between the Merrimac and the Monitor.
After the Merrimac was scuttled he enlisted in the 26th Regiment Company K on Feb. 1, 1863 and fought under Lee until he was wounded at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863. At Gettysburg he served under Colonel Henry King Burgwyn, Jr. Company K apparently distinguished itself on the field of battle while sustaining a large number of casualties. By his side were his brother John Flake and his cousin Philip H. Flake, all members of Company K. On July 1, 1863, Elijah Flake's brother died in the battle of Gettysburg. Two days later his cousin Philip was mortally wounded and Elijah lay injured on the field of battle. During his recovery at the hospital, Elijah was listed as a hospital steward through Feb. 1865. When he returned to his company the war was coming to an end. His last official military act was surrendering, with 134 members of he 26th regiment, at the Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865.