Text: Arthur Hobson Quinn, “Appendix 06,” Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography (1941), pp. 742-744


[page 742:]

VI. Poe's Record In the Army and at West Point


The Adjutant General's Office


December 15, 1939

Dear Sir:

Receipt is acknowledged of your letter of December 6, 1939 in which you request the complete military record of Edgar Allan Poe, known in the Army as Edgar A. Perry.

The records show that Edgar Allan Poe enlisted May 26, 1827 at Boston, Massachusetts, under the name of Edgar A. Perry, and was assigned to Battery H, 1st U. S. Artillery, then stationed at Fort Independence, Boston Harbor. The battery changed station about October 31, 1827 to Fort Moultrie, South Carolina, and remained there until October 31, 1828, when it changed to Fort Monroe, Virginia. Perry served as an artificer from May 1, 1828 to the date of his appointment as sergeant major January 1, 1829, at Fort Monroe, Virginia. On the muster, roll of the battery dated February 28, 1829, he is reported present for duty at Fort Monroe, Virginia, and on the muster roll of the battery next on file, he is reported as discharged April 15, 1829, by substitute, under S. O. #28 from Eastern Department dated April 4, 1829. On a return of the 1st Regiment U. S. Artillery for the month of April, 1829, Sergeant Samuel Graves of Company H, is shown to have enlisted April 17, 1829 and to have “Re-enlisted substitute for Sgt. Major Perry.” However, no record of any financial arrangement between the two men has been found, and if such a financial transaction was made it was no doubt a private affair between the two men of which no record would be kept by the military authorities.

At date of enlistment May 26, 1827, Perry gave his age as 22 years; birthplace, Boston, Massachusetts; occupation, clerk; height, 5 feet 8 inches; eyes, grey; hair, brown; and complexion, fair.

The records further show that Edgar A. Poe was admitted to Military Academy July 1, 1830, and was dismissed March 6, 1831 by  sentence [page 743:] of Court Martial per Military Academy Orders No. 7, Engineer Dept., February 8, 1831.

The copies of application for discharge and recommendations, herewith returned, have been compared with the originals, and are correct as to wording.

Very truly yours,

Major General,
The Adjutant General.

Records of the trial of E. A. Poe and of the approval by the Secretary of War of the action of the Court Martial.

Engineer Department  
Washington, February 8, 1831.

Military Academy Order, No. 7.

3. The Court next proceeded to, the trial of Cadet E. A. Poe of the U. S. Military Academy on the following Charges and Specifications.

Charge 1st. ... Gross neglect of duty.

Specification 1st ..... In this, that he the said Cadet Poe did absent himself from the following parades and roll calls between the 7th of January and 27th January 1831, Viz. absent himself from evening parade on the 8, 9, 15, 20, 24 & 25 January 1831; absent from reveille roll call on the 8, 16, 17, 19, 21, 25 & 26 Jan’y 1831, absent from Class parade on the 17, 18, 19, 20, 24 & 25 Jan’y 1831, absent from guard mounting on the 16 Jan’y 1831, and absent from Church parade on the 23d. Jan’y 1831; all of which at West Point N. Y.

Specification 2d ... In this, that he the said Cadet E. A. Poe, did absent himself from all his Academical duties between the 15th & 27 Jan’y 1831, viz, absent from Mathematical recitation on the 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25 & 26th Jan’y 1831, all of which at West Point N. Y.

Charge 2d. ... Disobedience of Orders.

Specification 1st. ... In this, that he the said Cadet Poe, after having been directed by the officer of the day to attend church on the 23d January 1831, did fail to obey such order, this at West Point.

Specification 2d ..... In this, that he the said Cadet Poe did fail to attend the Academy on the 25 Jany. 1831, after having been directed to do so by the officer of the day: This at West Point N. Y.

To which charges and specifications the prisoner pleaded as follows, to the 1st specification of the first charge “Not Guilty”, to the 2nd specification of the 1st charge “Guilty,” and “Guilty” to the second charge and specification. [page 744:]

The court after mature deliberation on the testimony adduced find the prisoner “Guilty” of the 1st specification of 1st charge and confirm his plea to the remainder of the charges and specifications, and adjudge that he Cadet E. A. Poe be dismissed the service of the United States.

7. ... The proceedings of the General Court Martial of which Lieut. Thomas J. Leslie of the Corps of Engineers is President in the cases of Cadets L. Jones, H. Swartwont, E. A. Poe, Thomas W. Gibson, W. A. Parker, and Henry Minor have been laid before the Secretary of War and approved.

Cadet E. A. Poe will be dismissed the service of the United States and cease to be considered a member of the Military Academy after the 6th March 1831.(1)


[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 744:]

(1)  From the Records of the War Department, Office of the Adjutant General, which are now in the National Archives. From photostat sent through the courtesy of Dr. P. M. Hamer, Chief, Division of Reference. January 4, 1940.



In the original, the section title is given in all capitals. For the sake of conformity, it has been rendered here in upper and lower case.


[S:1 - EAP:ACB, 1941] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Articles - E. A. P.: A Critical Biography (A. H. Quinn) (Appendix 06)