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E.J. Allen

E.J. Allen

Federal (USV)


Edward Jay Allen

(1830 - 1915)

Home State: Pennsylvania

Education: Duquesne College

Command Billet: Commanding Regiment

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 155th Pennsylvania Infantry

Before Antietam

From a prominent Pittsburgh family, "[i]n 1852, Edward Jay Allen traveled west over the Oregon Trail, and settled in Olympia. Although his time in the Northwest was very short, he made his mark on the newly formed Washington Territory. Allen established a land claim, surveyed and subsequently built the Naches Pass Emigrant Road, took a whaleboat voyage around Puget Sound, and was in the first party to ascend Mount Adams." He returned to Pittsburgh in 1855, and was reportedly a "stationmaster" on the underground railroad.

He served as a volunteer aide on General Fremont's staff April - June 1862. He then helped recruit and organize the 155th Pennsylvania around Pittsburgh in August 1862, and mustered as Colonel on 5 September 1862 as the unit arrived in Washington DC for Federal service.

On the Campaign

His regiment arrived on the field at Antietam with the Division early in the morning of 18 September 1862, and he did not see action there.

The rest of the War

He led the regiment at Fredericksburg in December, and though ill, was present at Gettysburg. He left the regiment on 4 July 1863, and was discharged from the Army on a Surgeon's Certificate on 21 July, having been away from the regiment, sick with rheumatism, most of the period since February 1863.

After the War

By about 1867 he was an organizer and Secretary of the Pacific & Atlantic Telegraph Company; fellow Pittsburgher Andrew Carnegie was principal shareholder. By 1874 the company was primarily owned or leased by Western Union, and later rolled into AT&T.

References & notes

The quote at the top is by Karen Johnson. Basic military service from Hunt1 and Bates2. Details of service with the 155th from Under the Maltese Cross3 - as is the image of him above.

More on the Web

His 1852-1855 letters from the West were published in the Pittsburgh Daily Dispatch, and are available online [search] from the collection of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale. Allen published a book of light poetry Hiou tenas iktah (A Lot of Trifles) in 1900 which includes a photo of him in that year. See also a piece in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette of November 1913 describing Allen's pre-war relationship with George McClellan.


04/27/1830; New York, NY


12/26/1915 Pittsburgh, PA; burial in Homewood Cemetery, Pittsburgh, PA


1   Hunt, Roger D., Colonels in Blue: Union Army Colonels of the Civil War - Mid Atlantic States, Mechanicsburg (PA): Stackpole Books, 2007, pg. 26  [AotW citation 1060]

2   Bates, Samuel Penniman, History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg: State of Pennsylvania, 1868-1871, Vol. 4, pg. 806  [AotW citation 1061]

3   Porter, John T. , Financial Secretary, and Charles F. McKenna, compiler & editor, Under the Maltese Cross, Antietam to Appomattox, the Loyal Uprising in Western Pennsylvania, 1861-1865: Campaigns of the 155th Pennsylvania Regiment, Pittsburgh: 155th Regimental Association, 1910, pp. 56, 59, 72-75, 146, 193, 194  [AotW citation 1062]