Text: Robert Thomas Pichett Allen, “Edgar Allan Poe,” Scribner’s Monthly Magazine, November 1875, vol. XI, no. 1, 11:142-143


­[page 142, column 2, continued:]

Edgar Allan Poe.

FARMDALE, KY., September 10, 1875.

I NOTICE in your September number fac-simile of a poem by Poe, dated in March, 1829, and said to have been written after he left West Point. E. L. D. ­[page 143:] is in error. Poe was a member of my class at the Military Academy — which entered the Academy in June, 1830, and he left the Institution sometime in 1831. I remember him well. While at the Academy he published a small volume of poems which were not thought to have much merit. He was too much occupied with his poetry to attend to the severe studies of the course at the Academy, and hence resigned, in order to devote his whole time to poetry.

The writer, having graduated, left the Academy in 1834, and, while visiting a friend in Baltimore in the fall of that year, was asked by a casual acquaintance if he knew Edgar Allan Poe, who had informed the gentleman alluded to that he was acquainted with me. On responding in the affirmative, I was told that Poe was then working in a brick-yard in Baltimore, being engaged in wheeling clay in a wheel-barrow. This may throw light on that part of his history immediately after his leaving the Academy.

R. T. P. A.

(R. T. P. Allen, of the Class of 1834, late Superintendent of Kentucky Military Institute.)



Robert Thomas Pichett Allen (1813-1888) was born in Baltimore, MD. He graduated at West Point in 1834. He variously served as an artillery officer, a civilian engineer, a teacher of Mathematics and Engineering, and eventually superintendent of the Kentucky Military Academy, which he founded in 1845. During the Civil War, he fought for the Confederate side, although he was not popular with his men, and was considered something of a “martinet.” After the war, he returned to the Kentucky Military Academy, where he remained until 1874, when he retired. He drowned while swimming in Florida.

E. L. D. was Eugene L. Didier, who printed a slightly modified facsimile of Poe’s manuscript for the poem now called “Alone”, which appeared in Scribner’s Monthly Magazine for September 1875. His changes to the facsimile were not acknowledged, and caused some scholars to unnecessarily question the authenticity of the manuscript.


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