Text: Dwight R. Thomas and David K. Jackson, “Chapter 02,” The Poe Log (1987), pp. 67-109


[page 67:]


Student, Soldier, and Poet

John Allan [thumbnail]

[Illustration on page 66]
John Allan


From February to December 1826 Poe attends the University of Virginia, where he excels in Latin and French. He also incurs gambling debts which John Allan refuses to pay. In Poe's absence his sweetheart Sarah Elmira Royster becomes engaged to Alexander B. Shelton. After quarrels with John Allan Poe leaves the Allan household for Boston. Here he publishes Tamerlane and Other Poems (1827) and under the alias of Edgar A. Perry he enlists in the U. S. Army. His battalion is ordered to Fort Moultrie, South Carolina, and later to Fortress Monroe, Virginia. Poe becomes reconciled with John Allan after the death of Frances Allan, obtains an honorable discharge from the Army, and publishes Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems (Baltimore, 1829). With the assistance of Allan and the recommendations of others Poe receives an appointment to West Point. In October 1830, while Poe is a cadet at West Point, John Allan marries a second time.



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~~ 1826 ~~

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[page 67, continued:]

[1826] 1 FEBRUARY. CHARLOTTESVILLE. The second session of the University of Virginia begins.

[1826] 8 FEBRUARY. BALTIMORE. The Baltimore Gazette reports: “Died this morning, William Clemm, in 47th year.”

[1826] 9 FEBRUARY. William Clemm, Jr., is buried (St. Paul's Protestant Episcopal Church record; Quinn, p. 726).

[1826] 13 FEBRUARY. Elizabeth Cairnes Poe draws up her will, bequeathing all her belongings to her daughter Maria Clemm (Baltimore Wills, 17:38-39, Maryland Hall of Records, Annapolis, Md.). [page 68:]

[1826] 14 FEBRUARY. CHARLOTTESVILLE. Poe is one of five students who matriculate at the University of Virginia on this day. He is 136th on the list of 177 who attend this year. Of the 177, six withdraw, three are suspended, three are dismissed, and three are expelled during the year (Kent, pp. 10-11).

Poe pays his fees ($60) for attendance on two professors, George Long, School of Ancient Languages (Greek and Latin), and George Blaettermann, School of Modern Languages (French, German, Italian, and Spanish).

His class schedule is: Ancient Languages: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 7:30 to 9:30 A.M. Modern Languages: Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, 7:30 to 9:30 A.M.

Mr. Brockenborough, the Proctor, makes an entry in the Matriculation Books:

Name     Date of Birth     Parent or
    Place of
Edgar A. Poe     19 Jan: 1809     John Allan     Richmond     Long Blaettermann

[George Long later recalled: “If Poe was at the University of Virginia in 1826, he was probably in my class which was the largest. ... The beginning of the University of Virginia was very bad. There were some excellent young men, and some of the worst that ever I knew. ... I remember the name of Poe, but the remembrance is very feeble; and if he was in my class, he could not be among the worst, and perhaps not among the best or I should certainly remember him” (Long to John H. Ingram, 15 April 1875, in Wilson [1923], p. 164).]

[1826] CA. 21 FEBRUARY. A week after his arrival Poe writes Allan “for some more money, and for books” (Poe to Allan, 3 January 1831).

[1826] CA. 24 OR 27 FEBRUARY. RICHMOND. A short time afterwards Allan, “in terms of the utmost abuse,” replies to Poe (Poe to Allan, 3 January 1831).

[1826] MARCH? CHARLOTTESVILLE. Poe is “tolerably regular in attendance” at classes (Wertenbaker [1868], p. 114).

[1826] 29 APRIL. William Matthews is “allowed the use of the Gymnasium ... for the purpose of giving instruction upon military tactics to such of the students as may choose to be drilled. Mr. Matthews is held responsible to the faculty for all riots, or other disturbances of the peace, happening during his attendance upon the students composing his class” (Kent, p. 12).

[1826] APRIL OR LATER? “During the year 1826, there used to come into the [page 69:] Library a handsome young student [Poe], perhaps eighteen years of age, in search of old French books, principally histories” (Wertenbaker [1879], p. 45).

[Quinn, p. 102, writes: “The library really began to function only in April, and was not properly catalogued until after Poe left college.”]

[1826] BEFORE 9 MAY. John Allan visits Poe (Poe to Allan, 25 May 1826).

[1826] BEFORE 9 MAY? Poe scuffles with Miles George, whose home address is the north side of Grace Street adjoining the Washington Tavern, Richmond. Poe moves from the Lawn to No. 13 West Range.

[Denying the account of a fellow student, Thomas Goode Tucker, that he and Poe were roommates and had a fight, Miles George wrote E. V. Valentine, 18 May 1880: “Poe and myself were at no time room mates, therefore he did not leave me, or I him — Poe roomed on the West side of the Lawn, I on the East, he afterwards moved to the Western range — I was often in both rooms, & recall the many happy hours spent therein — Of the pugilistic combat so minutely described, I have some recollection; it was a boyish freak or frolic, & both fight & the feeling in which it originated were by consent buried in oblivion never again to be revived — Poe, as has been said, was fond of quoting poetic authors and reading poetic productions of his own, with which his friends were delighted & entertained, then suddenly a change would come over him & he would with a piece of charcoal evince his versatile genius, by sketching upon the walls of his dormitory, whimsical, fanciful, & grotesque figures, with so much artistic skill, as to leave us in doubt whether Poe in future life would be Painter or Poet; He was very excitable & restless, at times wayward, melancholic & morose, but again in his better moods frolicksome, full of fun & a most attractive & agreeable companion[.] To calm & quiet the excessive nervous excitability under which he labored, he would too often put himself under the influence of that ‘Invisible Spirit of Wine’ which the great Dramatist has said ‘If known by no other names should be called Devil’ —

“My impressions of Poe do not agree with the idea that he was ‘short of stature, thick & somewhat compactly set’[.] On the contrary, he was of rather a delicate & slender mould[.] His legs not bowed, or so slightly so, as to escape notice, and did not detract either from the sym[m]etry of his person or the ease & grace of his carriage — To be practical & unpoetical I think his weight was between 130 & 140 pounds” (ViRVal. For Tucker's account, see Sherley, pp. 427-28).

Goodacre Engraving of the University of Virginia [thumbnail]

[Illustration on page 70, bottom]
The Goodacre engraving of the University

Tucker reported: “Poe's passion for strong drink was as marked and as peculiar as that for cards. It was not the taste of the beverage that influenced [page 70:] him; without a sip or smack of the mouth he would seize a full glass, without water or sugar, and send it home at a single gulp. This frequently used him up; but if not, he rarely returned to the charge” (Tucker to Douglass Sherley, 5 April 1880; Woodberry, 1:33).

James Albert Clarke described Poe as “a pretty wild young man ... [who] took much interest in athletic sports” (Richmond newspaper, 29 November 1885, VIU-I; Stovall [1967], p. 309).]

[1826] BEFORE 9 MAY? Poe and Thomas Goode Tucker read the histories of Hume and Lingard (Sherley, p. 379; Kent, pp. 14-15).

[1826] 9 MAY. Student disturbances at the University of Virginia cause the Faculty to issue a “proclamation,” which is little heeded (Poe to Allan, 25 May 1826; Quinn, p. 105 n. 15).

[1826] 10 MAY. Thomas Bolling, a University student, writes his father Colonel William Bolling: “We have lately lost a student by the name of Thomas Barclay, expelled for a very trivial offence, and suspended for the Session” (Allen, p. 714). [page 71:]

[1826] 11 MAY. James Albert Clarke of Manchester, Poe's former schoolmate at William Burke's seminary, is suspended from the University for two months and J. Armstead Carter “for the remainder of the session” (Poe to Allan, 25 May 1826).

BEFORE 24 MAY. Sterling Edmunds, a University of Virginia student, loses $240 at a single sitting playing cards and horsewhips Charles Peyton, another student who he believes has cheated him. Peyton is later expelled and Edmunds is suspended until 1 July (Quinn, p. 106).

[1826] 24-25 MAY. The University Faculty meets (Stovall [1967], p. 308).

[1826] BEFORE 25 MAY. Allan makes a second visit (“Soon after you left here”) to Charlottesville (Poe to Allan, 25 May 1826).

[1826] 25 MAY. Poe writes Allan, acknowledging the receipt of clothes, describing the disturbances at the University, and asking for “a copy of the Historiae of Tacitus — it is a small volume — also some more soap” (L, 1:4-5).

[1826] MAY? Poe meets Peter Pindar Pease.

[“As a boy old Pease was apprenticed to an itinerant saddler, Hermann Tucker by name, and shortly before the early ’30's arrived at Charlottesville, Virginia, where the worthy harnessmaker opened a shop, and my great-uncle [Pease] became his assistant.

“Trade was pretty brisk, and soon the little shop expanded into a sort of curio store filled with second-hand articles, including a library which had fallen under the auctioneer's hammer in order to satisfy a plantation debt and so came into the possession of Tucker. Among these books was a rare edition of Hogarth's prints, and this work the young assistant resolved to purchase on the installment plan from his employer.

“Two small payments had been made when Poe, then attending the college there, happened into the shop one day, noticed the book, and desired to buy it. Upon Tucker's telling Poe that his clerk was attempting to purchase the work out of his meager earnings, the poet asked to be made known to my great-uncle, and thus their acquaintance began.

“Poe immediately invited young Peter up to his room, asking him to bring the Hogarth along with him that they might look it over together, and the invitation was accepted.

“Next evening the call was made, and after some parley Poe suggested that they gamble for the book, agreeing to pay Peter the full price which Tucker asked in case he lost. If Peter lost, he was to continue paying off the debt to Tucker and Poe was to keep the Hogarth. My great-uncle had [page 72:] been brought up to fear the devil and all his works with Calvinistic severity, but he resolved to take the chance of getting the book for nothing, so the dice were thrown.

“Poe lost, and promptly paid over the money. Whatever became of the Hogarth I do not know. It is certainly not in the Pease family library and Peter probably sold it. This incident occurred some time in May, 1826, as nearly as the old Deacon remembers it” (Stearns, pp. 25-26).]

[1826] 13 JUNE. Poe withdraws from the Library the “1st. 3d. 4th vols Rollin's A. hist. [Histoire Ancienne] — [Charles Rollins, Œuvres Complètes .... Paris, 1807-10. 60 vols.]” (Cameron [1974], p. 33).

[1826] 4 JULY. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams die.

[1826] 5 JULY. CHARLOTTESVILLE. The University of Virginia bell tolls, for the first time, in honor of Jefferson.

[1826] 7 JULY. FRANKFORT, KENTUCKY. Jereboam O. Beauchamp is hanged for the murder of Solomon P. Sharp (see CA. 26 NOVEMBER 1835).

[1826] 15 JULY. PHILADELPHIA. John Lofland's poem “The Bride” with its first line “I saw her on the bridal day” appears in the Saturday Evening Post.

[This line Poe may have had in mind when he composed “Song” (“I saw thee on thy bridal day”).]

[1826] 8 AUGUST. CHARLOTTESVILLE. Poe withdraws from the University of Virginia Library: “33d. 34th vols Rollin (his. Romaine) [Charles Rollin, Histoire Romaine]” (Cameron [1974], p. 33),

[1826] 15 AUGUST. Poe withdraws from the Library: “1st & 2d vols Robertson's America [William Robertson, The History of America ... , Dublin, 1777. 2 vols.]” (Cameron [1974], p. 33).

[1826] 29 AUGUST. Poe withdraws from the Library: “1st & 2d vols Marshall's Washington [John Marshall, The Life of George Washington ... , Philadelphia, 1804-1807. 5 vols. and atlas]” (Cameron [1974], p. 33).

[1826] 12 SEPTEMBER. Poe withdraws from the Library: “9. 10. Voltaire [Either volumes 9 and 10 of the complete works, 25 volumes, in French, Paris, 1817, or volumes 9 and 10 of a collection of letters, 12 volumes, in French, Paris, 1785]” (Cameron [1974], p. 33).

[1826] 20 SEPTEMBER. Charles Wickcliffe, a student from Kentucky, is expelled [page 73:] by the Faculty for fighting, the fight having taken place before Poe's door (Poe to Allan, 21 September 1826).

[1826] 21 SEPTEMBER. Poe writes Allan that he is studying for an examination to be given from 1 to 15 December and that the Library has a “fine collection” of books (L, 1:6-7).

[1826] 17 OCTOBER. The Library is open every day from 3:30 to 5 P.M. after this date, except Saturdays and Sundays (W, 1:52).

[1826] 4 NOVEMBER. Poe withdraws from the Library: “1st and 2d Dufiefs Nature displayd [Nicholas Gouin Dufief's Nature Displayed in Her Mode of Teaching Language to Man]” (Cameron [1974], pp. 33-34).

[1826] 4? DECEMBER. James Madison (rector), James Monroe, Joseph Cabell, and John Hartwell Cocke conduct an examination in ancient languages (Kent, p. 20).

[1826] 4 DECEMBER. Poe makes some purchases.

Mr. Edgar A. Powe [sic]

In Acct. With Samuel Leitch, Jr., Dr.

Dec. 4 To 3 yds Super Blue Cloth $13.00 $39.00     
  ″ 3 ″ Linin 3 / 2 yds Cotten 1 / 6 $ 2.00     
  ″ 2 3 / 4 ″ Blk Bombazette 3 / Padding 3 / 1.88     
  ″ Staying 3 / 1 set Best Gilt Buttons 7 / 6 1.75     
  ″ 1 doz. Buttonmoulds 9d 1 Cut Velvet Vest 30 / 5.13     
  ″ 3 / 4 yd Blk Cassinette 27 / 3.38     
  ″ 1 ″ Staying 2 / 16 Hanks Silk 6d 1.63     
  ″ 9 Hanks Thread at 3c 1 Spool Cotten 1 / .44     
  ″ 1 Peace Tape 9d 1 1 / 2 doz. Buttons 6d       .25      55.46
  ″ 1 pr. Drab Pantaloones and Trimmings   13.00      13.00

[1826] 5 DECEMBER. An examination in modern languages is given at the University (Kent, p. 20).

[1826] 15 DECEMBER. The University of Virginia Faculty meets. Poe is listed in Professor George Long's “report of the examinations of the classes belonging to the school of ancient languages and the names of the students who excelled at the examination of these classes” and in Professor George Blaettermann's report of “the names of the students who excelled in the Senior French Class” (Kent, p. 21). [page 74:]

[1826] 20 DECEMBER. The University Faculty begins an investigation. Present are John T. Somes, Chairman; Dr. Robley Dunglison, Dr. George Blaettermann, Charles Bonnycastle, George Tucker, and J. Hewitt Key (Allen, p. 133).

The Chairman presented to the faculty a letter from the Proctor giving information that certain Hotel Keepers during the last session had been in the habit of playing at games of chance with the students in their Dormitories — he also gave the names of the following persons who he had been informed had some knowledge of the facts, Edgar Mason, Turner Dixon, William Seawell, E. Labranche, Edgar Poe, [Edwin C.?] Drummond [,] Emmanuel Miller, Hugh Pleasants and E. G. Crump who having been summoned to appear (Allen, p. 133).

Edgar Poe never heard until now of any Hotel-Keepers playing cards or drinking with students (Faculty Minutes of the University of Virginia, ViU; Kent, p. 22; Quinn, p. 109).

[1826] BEFORE 21 DECEMBER. RICHMOND. Allan sends Poe $100. Poe's application to James Galt for a loan is refused (Poe to Allan, 3 January 1831).

[1826] 21 DECEMBER. CHARLOTTESVILLE. Poe leaves for Richmond.

Mr. Allan went up to Charlottesville, inquired into his ways, paid every debt that he thought ought to be paid, and refusing to pay some gambling debts (which Mr. James Galt told me, in his lifetime, amounted to about $2,500) brought Edgar away in the month of December following, and for a time kept him in Ellis & Allan's countingroom (where they were engaged in winding up their old business) — thus attempting to give him some knowledge of book-keeping accounts, and commercial correspondence (T. H. Ellis, Richmond Standard, 7 May 1881).

[1826] AFTER 21 DECEMBER. RICHMOND. Poe's engagement to Elmira Royster is broken.

.... during the time he was at the University he wrote to me frequently, but my father intercepted the letters because we were too young — no other reason .... I was about 15 or 16 when he first addressed me and I engaged myself to him, and I was not aware that he wrote to me until I was married to Mr Shelton when I was 17 (E. V. Valentine's “Conversation with Mrs. Shelton,” ViRVal).

[The Royster-Shelton wedding did not take place until 6 December 1828, while Poe was stationed at Fort Moultrie.]

[1826] 1826. CHARLOTTESVILLE. Poe signs a promissory note for $41.36 made payable to Dan’1 S. Mosby & Co. (Stovall [1967], p. 311).

[1826] 1826. Poe joins the Jefferson Literary Society and becomes its secretary (Stovall [1967], pp. 312 and 314; W, 1:60). [page 75:]

[1826] 1826. Poe reads one of his stories to an audience of his friends.

On one occasion Poe read a story of great length to some of his friends who, in a spirit of jest, spoke lightly of its merits, and jokingly told him that his hero's name, “Gaffy;” occurred too often. His proud spirit would not stand such, as he thought, open rebuke; so in a fit of anger, before his friends could prevent him, he had flung every sheet in a blazing fire, and thus was lost a story of more than ordinary parts, and, unlike most of his stories, was intensely amusing, entirely free from his usual sombre coloring and sad conclusions merged in a mist of impenetrable gloom. He was for a long time afterwards called by those in his particular circle “Gaffy” Poe, a name that he never altogether relished (Thomas Goode Tucker's account recorded by Sherley, p. 431).

[1826] 1826. Poe excels in athletic exercises and has a fine talent for drawing.

I [Thomas Bolling] was acquainted with him, in his youthful days, for that was about all — My impression was and is that no one could say that he knew him — He wore ... a sad, melancholy face always, and even a smile, for I dont remember his ever having laughed heartily, seemed to be forced — and when, as he sometimes engaged with others in athletic exercises, in which, so far as jumping high or far, he I think excelled all the rest. Poe, with the same sad face, appeared to participate in what was amusement to others more as a task, than sport — Upon one occasion on a slight declivity, he ran and jumpt 20 ft. which no other could reach, though there were two or three who made 18 & 19, and Euphemon Labranche, an especial friend of mine from Louisiana, of lower stature by several inches, was his chief competitor ... educated in France, ... where gymnastic feats were taught and practised as a part of the course. (Thomas Bolling to E. V. Valentine, 10 July 1875, ViRVal. Bolling with Thomas Powell, Jesse Maury, and John Willis recalled Poe's drawings (Kent, p. 13).)

Two classmates, William Wertenbaker and William Burwell, later recorded their recollections of Poe.

I [William Wertenbaker] was myself a member of the last three classes [French, Spanish, and Italian], and can testify that he [Poe] was tolerably regular in his attendance, and a successful student. ... On one occasion Professor Blaettermann requested his Italian class to render into English Verse a portion of the lesson in Tasso, which he had assigned them for the next lecture. He did not require this of them as a regular class exercise, but recommended it as one from which he thought the student would derive benefit. At the next lecture on Italian, the Professor stated from his chair that Mr. Poe was the only member of the class who had responded to his suggestion, and paid a very high compliment to his performance.

As Librarian I had frequent official intercourse with Mr. Poe, but it was at or near the close of the Session before I met him in the social circle. After spending an evening together at a private house, he invited me, on our return, to his room. It was a cold night in December, and his fire having gone pretty nearly out, by the aid of some tallow candles, and the fragments of a small table which he broke up for the purpose, he soon rekindled it, and by its comfortable blaze I spent a [page 76:] very pleasant hour with him. On this occasion he spoke with regret of the large amount of money he had wasted and of the debts he had contracted during the Session. If my memory is not at fault, he estimated his indebtedness at $2,000, and though they were gaming debts, he was earnest and emphatic in the declaration, that he was bound by honor to pay at the earliest opportunity, every cent of them. He certainly was not habitually intemperate, but he may occasionally have entered into a frolick. I often saw him in the Lecture room and in the Library, but never in the slightest degree under the influence of intoxicating liquors. Among the Professors he had the reputation of being a sober, quiet and orderly young man, and to them and the officers, his deportment was uniformly that of an intelligent and polished gentleman. Although his practice of gaming did escape detection, the hardihood, intemperance and reckless wildness imputed to him by his Biographers, had he been guilty of them, must inevitably have come to the knowledge of the Faculty and met with merited punishment. The records of which I was then, and am still, the custodian, attest that at no time during the session did he fall under the censure of the faculty. ... I think it probable that the night I visited him was the last he spent here. I draw this inference not from memory, but from the fact, that having no further use for his candles and table, he made fuel of them (Wertenbaker [1868], pp. 114-17).

My [William Burwell's] recollection of Poe, then little more than a boy, is that he was about five feet two or three inches in height, somewhat bandy-legged, but in no sense muscular or apt at any physical exercises. His face was feminine, with finely marked features, and eyes dark, liquid and expressive. He dressed well and neatly. He was a very attractive companion, genial in his nature and familiar, by the varied life that he had already led, with persons and scenes new to the unsophisticated provincials among whom he was thrown .... What, however, impressed his associates most were his remarkable attainments as a classical scholar. ...

The particular dissipation of the university at this period was gaming with cards, and into this Poe plunged with a recklessness of nature which acknowledge[d] no restraint (Burwell, pp. 168-80).



~~ 1827 ~~

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[page 76, continued:]

[1827] 6 JANUARY. RICHMOND. The Richmond Enquirer lists John Allan as a director of the Bank of Virginia and its branches (Bondurant, p. 223).

[1827] 20 JANUARY. PHILADELPHIA. The Saturday Evening Post prints Henry Poe's poem “Jacob's Dream.”

[1827] JANUARY? RICHMOND. Perhaps Poe is employed without pay in the Ellis & Allan countinghouse (see 21 DECEMBER 1826). [page 77:]

[1827] JANUARY. Poe visits a guest of Mrs. Juliet J. Drew, an instructor in Miss Jane Mackenzie's school (Whitty, p. xxx; Phillips, 1:283).

[1827] FEBRUARY. MONTEVIDEO, SOUTH AMERICA. Aboard the U.S.S. Macedonian Henry Poe writes a travel letter (Allen and Mabbott, pp. 23, 31).

[1827] 3 FEBRUARY. PHILADELPHIA. The Saturday Evening Post prints Henry Poe's “Psalm 139th.”

[1827] FEBRUARY. GOOCHLAND COUNTY, VIRGINIA. Perhaps Poe spends a short time at the Allan plantation and studies law (Whitty, p. xxix; Phillips, 1:283).

[1827] 3 MARCH. RICHMOND. Bernard Peyton writes Messrs. John Cochran & Co., Charlottesville, about his problems with Poe:

On the $30 note of Poe, I gave credit for $15 Dolls, & I have given the note to the constable, to warrant him for the residue, who has not yet made a return upon it; — for the dft: [draft] he gave you on Allan, I have taken his bond including interest from the date of the dft:, to the date of the bond — he says if these bonds had been held up & not presented to Allan, he would have returned to the University 1st Feb & discharged them all, but being pressed on Allan, he would not send him back there, but he thinks he will do so the next session & further, that after a while, he will discharge all these debts. I mention these things that you may consider of them, and if you still wish suit instituted against him on the bond, I will hand it to a lawyer forthwith — in writing, he is approaching to 21 years, when he will probably legally bind himself for these debts. I shall promptly obey any instructions you may give touching it (ViRVal).

[In the Richmond City Directory of 1819, p. 62, Peyton is listed as a merchant whose address is “ss [southside] of D [Cary] bt [between] 12 and 13th sts. sixth from 12th st.” His name frequently appears in the pages of the Richmond Compiler in the 1820's. In 1822 Peyton was Secretary of the Board of Public Works of Virginia. In 1835 he was a Trustee of the Richmond Academy.]

[1827] 14 MARCH. Bernard Peyton writes his client, Messrs. John Cochran & Co., Charlottesville, for instructions: “The constable informs me he has judgment against Poe, can find no property to levy execution on, & Mr. Allan assures him he will not pay that, or any other debt of his — under these circumstances shall I have him put to gaol, or compel him to plead nonage?” (ViRVal).

[1827] 18 MARCH. Poe quarrels with Allan (Poe to Allan, 19 March).

[1827] 19 MARCH. Poe quarrels again with Allan, takes a room at the Courthouse [page 78:] Tavern, and writes Allan that he has resolved to leave the Allan household, and begs for money and his trunk: “My determination is ... to leave your house and indeavor to find some place in this wide world, where I will be treated — not as you have treated me. ... A collegiate Education ... was what I most ardently desired ... I have heard you say .... that you had no affection for me” (L, 1:7-8).

[1827] 20 MARCH. Poe writes Allan that he is roaming the streets. He begs for his trunk and passage money to Boston: “I sail on Saturday” (L, 1:8-9). Allan writes Poe, refusing him financial aid: “I taught you to aspire, even to eminence in Public Life, but I never expected that Don Quixotte, Gil Blas, Jo: Miller & such works were calculated to promote the end ... the charge of eating the Bread of idleness, was to urge you to perseverance & industry in receiving the classics, in perfecting yourself in the — mathematics, mastering the French” (Stanard, p. 67).

[1827] 24 MARCH. NORFOLK, VIRGINIA. Poe, perhaps accompanied by his friend Ebenezer Burling as far as Norfolk, takes passage in a coal vessel for Boston (Stanard, pp. 52-53; Mabbott [1969], 1:538; E. V. Valentine to J. H. Ingram, 10 December 1874, VIU-I; Philadelphia Saturday Museum, 4 March 1843).

[1827] 25 MARCH. DINWIDDIE COUNTY, VIRGINIA. Edward G. Crump, a classmate of Poe at the University of Virginia, writes Poe:

When I saw you in Richmond a few days ago I should have mentioned the difference between us. ... I must of course, as you did not mention it to me enquire of you if you ever intend to pay it. If you have not the money write me word that you have not, but do not be perfectly silent. I should be glad if you would write to me even as a friend. There can certainly be no harm in your avowing candidly that you have no money if you have none, but you can say when you can pay me if you cannot now. I heard when I was in Richmond that Mr. Allan would probably discharge all your debts. If mine was a gambling debt I should not think very strangely of it. But under the present circumstances I think very strangely of it. Write to me upon the receipt of this letter and tell me candidly what is the matter (DLC-EA).

[1827] 27 MARCH. RICHMOND. John Allan writes one of his sisters, giving information about the settlement of William Galt's estate, and adds that “though Mrs. Allan occupuys one of the airiest & pretty places about Richmond it seems to make no improvement in hers [health] — it is indeed a lovely spot. ... Miss Valentine is as fat & hearty as ever. Im thinking Edgar has gone to Sea to seek his own fortunes” (DLC-EA).

[1827] MARCH? Frances Allan writes Poe two letters (Phillips, 1:294). [page 79:]

[1827] MARCH? BALTIMORE. En route to Boston Poe perhaps stops off to see his brother Henry, to call upon Nathan C. Brooks, to become acquainted with Lambert A. Wilmer, and to meet Edward Coote Pinkney (Stanard, pp. 51-57; Woodberry, 1:67; Stovall [1969], p. 23; Mabbott [1969] 1:538). Poe composes “To Octavia” and writes an extract from Voltaire's Princesse de Babylone in Octavia Walton's album (Mabbott [1941], pp. xii-xv; [1969], 1:16-17; Leary, 9-15).

[1827] MARCH. BOSTON. Poe meets Peter Pindar Pease again.

It was while unloading a dray of hides on the waterfront one blustering March afternoon that my great-uncle [Peter Pindar Pease] recognized in a pale, rather stoop-shouldered clerk, emerging from a mercantile house hard by, his former acquaintance who had diced with him unsuccessfully in Virginia a year before. He was about to hail Poe when the latter, catching sight of him, turned away and hastily disappeared around the corner.

Thinking that Poe did not care to renew the friendship, Pease returned to his work, but when he had finished and was starting homeward, there was Poe waiting for him some distance down the street. He was very shabbily appareled.

Pease hailed him, but Poe hurriedly pushed him into an alleyway and begged him not to speak his name aloud, giving for his reason that “he had left home to seek his fortune, and until he had hit it hard he preferred to remain incognito.”

As my great-uncle recounted it to Judge Pease: “He [Poe] told me that he had clerked for two months in a wholesale merchandise house on the water-front at a very small salary, the most of which he had been too proud to ask for, and his employer, taking advantage of this pride and being a man of brutal and unscrupulous character, the boy was easily done out of most of the money which he had earned.

“His landlady, too, was a woman of no attainments, and had no patience with a boarder who sat up nights writing on paper which he could not afterward sell. She soon turned him into the street.

“He then tried literary work, but failed to obtain employment on any of the large journals. Finally he secured work in the office of an obscure paper as market reporter; but, the proprietor being a man of shady reputation, the office soon got into debt, and soon after Poe joined it the paper stopped publication.

“He then told me that he was resolved to enlist in the army, for his resources were utterly exhausted, and he was determined not to write to former friends for help. I believe he remained in Boston several months altogether” (Stearns, pp. 25-26; see Mabbott [1969], 1:539).

[1827] 2 APRIL. CHARLOTTESVILLE? George W. Spotswood, a hotelkeeper and a distant cousin of George Washington, writes John Allan:

My situation requires me again to request you will send the trifling sum I wrote for due by Mr Poe — for servants hire — every young man who comes to the Institution [the University of Virginia] has a servant — this of course is a necessary charge. Mr Poe did not live with me but hired my servant. ... the amt. is $6.25 (DLC-EA). [page 80:]

[1827] 24-25 APRIL. BOSTON. The Boston Courier advertises William Dimond's The Foundling of the Forest, a play in which Poe's mother once performed.

[It is purely speculative that Poe was the “young gentleman of Boston” in the cast who played the part of Bertrand in this 1827 performance. See Mabbott (1942), p. xxvii. T. H. Ellis wrote: “The occasional letters which he [Poe] wrote home ... were written while he was on the stage in Boston” (ViRVal-THE).]

[1827] 28 APRIL. RICHMOND. Bernard Peyton reports to John Cochran & Co., Charlottesville, on his collection problems with Hugh R. Pleasants, one of Poe's University of Virginia classmates, and with Poe: “Poe has gone off entirely, it is said, to join the Greeks — he had as well be there as any where else, I believe, for he appears to be worthless” (ViRVal).

[1827] APRIL OR LATER. BOSTON. Perhaps Poe meets the printer Calvin F. S. Thomas at 70 Washington Street (Woodberry, 1:38-39, 368; Wegelin, pp. 23-25; Quinn, pp. 119-22).

[1827] 1 MAY. CHARLOTTESVILLE. George W. Spotswood writes John Allan:

I presume when you sent Mr Poe to the University of Virginia you felt yourself bound to pay all his necessary expences — one is that each young man is expected to have a servant to attend his room. Mr. Poe did not board with me but as I had hired a first rate Servant who cost me a high price — I consider him under greater obligations to pay me for the price of my Servant — I have written you two letters & have never recd. answer to eather — I beg again Sir that you will send me the small amt. due. I am distressed for money — & I am informed you are Rich both in purse & Honour (DLC-EA).

[1827] 19 MAY. BALTIMORE. Samuel Sands begins the publication of the North American or, Weekly Journal of Politics, Science and Literature.

[Henry Poe's contributions to the North American included “The Pirate;” a prose sketch based on his brother's love affair with Elmira Royster, and two of his brother's poems, “The Happiest Day” and “Dreams.”]

[1827] 26 MAY. CASTLE ISLAND, BOSTON HARBOR. Poe under the alias of Edgar A. Perry enlists in the U. S. Army for five years and is assigned to Battery H of the First Artillery in Fort Independence, Boston Harbor. He gives his age as 22, his birthplace Boston, occupation clerk, and personal description: grey eyes, brown hair, fair complexion, and 5 ft. 8 in. in height (National Archives — Register of Enlistments, 37:153).

[Kent (1917), p. 522, speculated that Poe may have borrowed the last [page 81:] name Perry from a University of Virginia classmate, Sidney A. Perry, who matriculated four days before him, on 10 February 1826.]

[1827] JUNE OR JULY. BOSTON. Calvin F. S. Thomas publishes Tamerlane and Other Poems.

[TAMERLANE / AND / OTHER POEMS. / (rule) / BY A BOSTONIAN. / (rule) / Young heads are giddy, and young hearts are warm, / And make mistakes for manhood to reform. — COWPER. / (printer's device) / BOSTON: / CALVIN F. S. THOMAS. .... PRINTER. / ....   ...   ...  . ... / 1827. 40 pages. paper wrappers.

Contents: “Preface”; “Tamerlane”; “Fugitive Pieces”: “To — —” (“I saw thee on the bridal day”), “Dreams,” “Visit of the Dead,” “Evening Star;’ “Imitation,” no title (“In youth have I known one with whom the Earth”), no title (“A wilder’d being from my birth”), no title (“The happiest day — the happiest hour”), “The Lake”; “Notes.”

The greater part of the Poems which compose this little volume, were written in the year 1821-2, when the author had not completed his fourteenth year” (from Poe's Preface).

Perhaps 50 copies printed. A facsimile edition with an Introduction by Thomas Ollive Mabbott was published for the Facsimile Text Society by Columbia University Press, New York, 1941.]

[1827] JUNE. BALTIMORE? Miss E. S. B., an acquaintance of Henry Poe, dies (see 28 JULY 1827).

[1827] 28 JULY. BALTIMORE. Henry Poe's “On the Death of Miss E. S. B.” appears in the North American.

[1827] JULY. LONDON. Sir Walter Scott reviews the works of E. T. A. Hoffman in the Foreign Quarterly Review, perhaps suggesting to Poe the title Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (Quinn, p. 289).

[1827] 4 AND 11 AUGUST. BALTIMORE. Henry Poe's “Oh! Give that Smile” and “In a Pocket-Book” appear in the North American.

[1827] 18 AUGUST. The first of three installments of Lambert A. Wilmer's Merlin, a verse drama based on Poe's unsuccessful romance with Elmira Royster, appears in the North American.

[1827] 25 AUGUST. The second installment of Wilmer's Merlin appears in the North American. [page 82:]

[1827] AUGUST. BOSTON AND NEW YORK. The United States Review and Literary Gazette lists Tamerlane and Other Poems under “New Publications.”

[1827] 1 SEPTEMBER. BALTIMORE. The third and final installment of Wilmer's Merlin appears in the North American.

[1827] 11 SEPTEMBER. Henry Poe enters “Woman” in the album of Margaret Bassett, which includes Poe's undated cento, “To Margaret” (Mabbott [1969], 1:14-16, 518).

photo decription [thumbnail]

[Illustration on page 82, bottom]
Front wrapper of Tamerlane

[1827] 15 SEPTEMBER. A variant of the stanzas entitled “The happiest day — the [page 83:] happiest hour” (from Poe's Tamerlane and Other Poems) appears in the North American over the initials “W. H. P.” (Mabbott [1969], 1:81).

[1827] 21 SEPTEMBER. A pamphlet edition of Wilmer's Merlin is offered for sale (North American, 22 September).

[1827] 22 SEPTEMBER. Henry Poe's “To R” and “To Montevideo” appear in the North American.

[1827] 29 SEPTEMBER. Wilmer's “To Mary” (later printed as “To Mira” in the Southern Literary Messenger for December 1835) and Henry Poe's composition “I’ve lov'd thee” appear in the North American.

[1827] 6 OCTOBER. Henry Poe's composition of sixteen lines beginning “Scenes of my love” appears in the North American.

[1827] 9 OCTOBER. PETERSBURG, VIRGINIA. Poe's friend John Hamilton Mackenzie marries Louisa Lanier (Mackenzie Family Bible, ViHi).

[1827] 20 OCTOBER. BALTIMORE. Poe's “Dreams” (as “Extract — Dreams”), signed “W. H. P;” appears in the North American.

[1827] 27 OCTOBER. Henry Poe's “The Pirate” appears in the North American.

The North American prints a notice of the death of Elizabeth Usher: “Died ... On Friday evening, the 12th inst. Elizabeth Usher, daughter of the late Thomas Usher, sen. of the county of Antrim, Ireland, and formerly a merchant of this city.”

[According to Allen, p. 683, these Ushers, who settled in Baltimore, were friends of the Poes.]

[1827] 31 OCTOBER. BOSTON. Poe's battery is ordered to Fort Moultrie, Sullivan's Island, Charleston Harbor, South Carolina (National Archives).

[1827] OCTOBER. The North American Review lists Poe's Tamerlane and Other Poems as a recent publication.

[1827] 3 NOVEMBER. BALTIMORE. Henry Poe's “A Fragment” and “Despair” appear in the North American.

[1827] 3 NOVEMBER. BOSTON. The Boston Evening Gazette reports that the brig Waltham has “Cleared.”

[1827] 6 NOVEMBER. The Boston Palladium reports: “Brig Waltham, Webb, for [page 84:] Charleston, dropped down to Fort Independence, on Sunday [4 November], to take on board the garrison, &c. and proceed to Charleston. We learn that she returns to this port with the garrison of that place, as likewise one from another port, which she is to land at Portland” (Charleston Courier, 15 November, taken from the Palladium).

[1827] 9 NOVEMBER. The Boston Palladium reports: “Went to sea, on Tuesday afternoon [6 November] ... brig Waltham, Charleston, with a company of soldiers, in charge of Lt. Griswold” (H.C. Davis, p. 3).

[1827] 10 NOVEMBER. BALTIMORE. Henry Poe's “Recollections” and “Lines” appear in the North American.

[1827] 10 NOVEMBER. BOSTON. Captain Jacob Brown reports that the brig Waltham went to sea 6 November (H.C. Davis, p. 3).

The Boston Evening Gazette prints details of the sinking of the Aurora in a gale off the Hook (H.C. Davis, p. 3).

[1827] 17 NOVEMBER. BALTIMORE. Henry Poe's “On Seeing a Lady Sleeping” appears in the North American.

[1827] 19 NOVEMBER. CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA. Both the Courier and the City Gazette print the following “Ship News”:

Arrived Yesterday

Brig Waltham, Webb, Boston 11 days. With a company of U.S. Troops for the Garrison at Fort Moultrie. Passengers, Lieut. H. W. Griswold, U.S.A., Lady and child, Lieut. J. Howard, U.S.A., Lady and three children, and Dr. J. Dodd, U.S.A.

(Hoole, p. 78).

[1827] 20 NOVEMBER. The Charleston Courier prints a card of thanks, dated 18 November, under “Ship News”:

The undersigned, officers of the lst Regiment of Artillery, in behalf of ourselves, families, and a detachment of men, tender to Captain George Webb, our most unfeigned thanks, for his kind attention to us while on board the Brig Waltham, on her passage from the harbor of Boston to Charleston, South Carolina; more especially for his nautical abilities, under Divine Providence, in extricating the vessel under his command, from most imminent danger, when drifting on a lee shore, off the shoals of Cape Cod, as well as good management during several severe gales of wind, while on our passage. Wishing him the like success under every peril and danger, we subscribe ourselves, his most obedient and very humble servants.

H. W. Griswold, Lieut. and Adjt. 1st Regt Art’y. [page 85:]

J. Howard, Lieut 1st Regt. Art’y.

James Mann, Assistant Surgeon, U.S.A. (H.C. Davis, p. 3).

[1827] 24 NOVEMBER. BALTIMORE. Henry Poe's “Waters of Life” appears in the final issue of the North American.

[1827] 30 NOVEMBER. RICHMOND. The Richmond Enquirer reports that Charles Ellis has recommenced the drygoods business on his own account.

[1827] 1827? CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA? Perhaps Poe meets Colonel William Drayton and Dr. Edmund Ravenel, a conchologist (Quinn, pp. 129 and 130).

[1827] 1827? RICHMOND. Rosalie Poe composes two poems (Mabbott [1969], 1:521-22).

[1827] 1827. BALTIMORE. Maria Clemm is listed in Matchett's Director, a directory, as the “precepteress of school, Stiles Street, North Side near Foot Bridge.”



~~ 1828 ~~

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[page 85, continued:]

[1828] 25 JANUARY. WASHINGTON. In the rooms of the Senate Committee on Claims Duff Green accuses Edward Vernon Sparhawk, a reporter for the National Intelligencer, of maliciously misquoting the Washington Telegraph's report of a speech by John Randolph and then physically attacks Sparhawk (Telegraph, 1 and 11 February 1828; Ames, p. 161).

[Sparhawk preceded Poe as editor of the Southern Literary Messenger. See 11 JUNE 1835.]

[1828] 17 APRIL. RICHMOND. Rosanna Dixon Galt, wife of William Galt, Jr., dies (NcD-G).

[1828] 1 MAY. FORT MOULTRIE, SOUTH CAROLINA. Poe is appointed an artificer (National Archives).

[1828] 28 JUNE. CHARLOTTESVILLE. Samuel Leitch writes Charles Ellis regarding Poe's debt incurred 4 December 1826: “Please let me know if Mr. Allan [page 86:] [has] done anything with my account again[st] Mr. Poe” (DLC-EA; Quinn, p. 112 n. 26).

[1828] 31 OCTOBER. RICHMOND. The firm of William Galt and William Galt, Jr., quits the drygoods business (Compiler, 31 October).

[1828] 31 OCTOBER. FORT MOULTRIE, SOUTH CAROLINA. Poe's battery is ordered to Fortress Monroe, Old Point Comfort, Virginia (National Archives; W, 1:70).

[1828] 28 NOVEMBER. RICHMOND. The Richmond Enquirer reports that John Allan is chairman of a group of merchants protesting auction sales (Bondurant, pp. 223-24).

[1828] BEFORE 1 DECEMBER. FORT MOULTRIE, SOUTH CAROLINA. Lieut. J. Howard writes a letter which John O. Lay, a Richmond insurance agent, leaves with John Allan for his perusal (Poe to Allan, 1 December 1828).

[1828] BEFORE 1 DECEMBER. RICHMOND. John Allan writes John O. Lay, who in turn writes Lieut. Howard, enclosing Allan's “note” — a note which gives Poe “concern” (Poe to Allan, 1 December 1828).


In that note [addressed to Lay] what chiefly gave me concern was hearing of your indisposition .... at no period of my life, have I regarded myself with a deeper satisfaction .... I have been in the American army as long as suits my ends or my inclination, and it is now time that I should leave it ... I made known my circumstances to Lieut. Howard who promised me my discharge solely upon reconciliation with yourself .... He has always been kind to me, and, in many respects, reminds me forcibly of yourself. ... I ... am no longer a boy tossing about on the world without aim or consistency. ... A letter addressed to Lieut: J. Howard assuring him of your reconciliation with myself (which you have never yet refused) & desiring my discharge would be all that is necessary — He is already acquainted with you from report & the high character given of you by Mr Lay .... My dearest love to Ma (L, 1:9-11).

[1828] 3 DECEMBER. CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA. The Charleston Courier reports: “In the offing: The ship Harriet, (of Bath) Johnson, from Baltimore via Norfolk with two companies of U. S. Troops for the garrison in the harbor, anchored below yesterday” (Hoole, p. 79).

[1828] 4 DECEMBER. The Harriet clears a day after her arrival and remains in the harbor one week (Charleston Courier, 5 December; Hoole, p. 79). [page 87:]

[1828] 6 DECEMBER. RICHMOND. Elmira Royster marries Alexander Barret Shelton (Mabbott [1969], 1:65 and 539 n. 5).

[1828] 11 DECEMBER. FORT MOULTRIE, SOUTH CAROLINA. Poe's battery sets sail on the Harriet for Fortress Monroe (Hoole, p. 79).

[1828] 15 DECEMBER. FORTRESS MONROE, OLD POINT COMFORT, VIRGINIA. Poe's battery lands (Hoole, p. 79).

[1828] 20 DECEMBER. Colonel James House issues an order:

Special Order No. 91 — Private E. A. Perry of Company “H,” and Private Joseph Moore of Company “E,” are detailed for duty in the Adjutant's office until further orders. By order of Colonel House — H. W. Griswold, Adj’t. Art’y. (National Archives).

[1828] 22 DECEMBER. Poe writes Allan:

I wrote you shortly before leaving Fort Moultrie ... Perhaps my letter has not reached you & under that supposition I will recapitulate its contents. ... Lieut Howard has given me an introduction to Col: James House of the lrst Arty to whom I was before personally known only as a soldier of his regiment. He spoke kindly to me. told me that he was personally acquainted with my Grandfather Genl Poe, with yourself & family, & reassured me of my immediate discharge upon your consent. ... Richmond & the U. States were too narrow a sphere & the world shall be my theatre (L, 1:11-13).

[1828] 22 DECEMBER. CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA. The Gazette prints a notice from a correspondent: “Norfolk. December 15: The ship Harriet, Johnson, fm Charleston, with two companies U. S. Artillery, anchored off Old Point this afternoon” (Hoole, p. 79).

[1828] BEFORE 23 DECEMBER - 3 FEBRUARY 1829. RICHMOND. John Mackenzie writes Poe at Old Point Comfort (Poe to Allan, 4 February 1829).

[1828] BEFORE 23 DECEMBER - 3 FEBRUARY 1829. FORTRESS MONROE, OLD POINT COMFORT, VIRGINIA. Poe writes his friend John Mackenzie and requests that he solicit Allan's aid in obtaining a West Point appointment for Poe (Poe to Allan, 4 February 1829).

[1828] 1828. BALTIMORE. Frederick William Thomas, a young author, meets Henry Poe.

I was intimate with Poe's brother in Baltimore during the year 1828. He was a slim, feeble young man, with dark inexpressive eyes, and his forehead had nothing [page 88:] like the expansion of his brother's. His manners were fastidious. We visited lady acquaintances together, and he wrote Byron poetry in albums, which had little originality. He recited in private and was proud of his oratorical powers. He often deplored the early death of his mother, but pretended not to know what had become of his father. I was told by a lawyer intimate with the family that his father had deserted his mother in New York. Both his parents had visited Baltimore when he was a child, and they sent money from Boston to pay for his support (Thomas’ “Recollections,” Whitty, p. xxi).



~~ 1829 ~~

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[page 88, continued:]

[1829] 1 JANUARY. FORTRESS MONROE, OLD POINT COMFORT, VIRGINIA. Poe is promoted to the rank of Regimental Sergeant-Major (H. W. Griswold's note, 20 April).

[1829] JANUARY. Dr. Robert Archer, a post surgeon, attends Poe, who is ill in the military hospital (Allen, pp. 186-87).

[1829] JANUARY. BALTIMORE. Henry Poe, who is employed in the countinghouse of Henry Didier, lives with his aunt Maria Clemm in Mechanics Row, Wilks Street. Also living with Maria Clemm are her daughter Virginia and her mother Mrs. David Poe, Sr. (Allen and Mabbott, p. 31; Quinn, p. 188 n.6).


... the appointment [to West Point] could easily be obtained either by your personal acquaintance with Mr [William] Wirt — or by the recommendation of General [Winfield] Scott, or even of the officers residing at Fortress Monroe .... You will remember how much I had to suffer upon my return from the University. I never meant to offer a shadow of excuse for the infamous conduct of myself & others at that place.

It was however at the commencement of that year that I got deeply entangled in difficulty which all my after good conduct in the close of the session (to which all there can testify) could not clear away. I had never been from home before for any length of time (L, 1:13-14).

[1829] 28 FEBRUARY. Poe answers roll-call (National Archives; Cameron [1973], p. 172).

[1829] 28 FEBRUARY. RICHMOND. Frances Allan dies (Richmond Whig, 2 March 1829). [page 89:]

[1829] 2 MARCH. Frances Allan is buried at Shockoe Hill Cemetery. The Richmond Whig reports: “Died on Saturday morning last, after a lingering and painful illness, Mrs. Frances K. Allan, consort of Mr. John Allan, aged 47 [44?] years. The friends and acquaintances of the family are respectfully invited to attend the funeral from the late residence on this day at 12 o’clock.”

[“Poe spoke of the first Mrs. Allan with the tenderest affection — of the second with admiration of her beauty & an avowed feeling that the [second] marriage was one of great discrepancy. Entre nous Mr. Allan was represented to me, by him, as a man of a gross & brutal temperament though indulgent to him & at times profusely lavish in the matter of money — at others, penurious and parsimonious” (Sarah Helen Whitman to John H. Ingram, 27 March 1874; Miller [1979], p. 95).]

[1829] 2 MARCH. Poe, on leave, arrives the night after Frances Allan's burial (Poe to Allan, 3 January 1831).

[1829] 3 MARCH. John Allan is charged with a bill of drygoods sold “p[er] order to E A P,” including three yards of black cloth at twelve dollars a yard, three pairs of black hose at four shillings per pair, and one “London Hat” at ten dollars (DLC-EA; Campbell [1916], pp. 144-45; Stanard, p. 97).

[1829] 4 MARCH. John Allan writes a younger brother of Charles Ellis, Powhatan Ellis, U. S. Senator from Mississippi, in Poe's behalf. He also addresses a note to Charles Ellis: “Please to furnish Edgar A. Poe with a suit of Black Clothes 3 pair Socks or Half Hose — McCreary [McCreery] will make them / — also a pr Suspenders / and Hat — & Knife / pair of Gloves” (DLC-EA).

[1829] 9? MARCH. Poe leaves for Fortress Monroe (Poe to Allan, 10 March 1829).


I arrived on the point this morning .... Colonel [James House] has left the point this morning for Washington to congratulate ... President [elect Andrew Jackson] so I have not yet seen him. He will return on Thursday week next. In the mean time I am employing myself in preparing for the tests which will engage my attention at W. Point if I should be so fortunate as to obtain an appointment. I am anxious to retrieve my good name with my friends & especially your good opinion. I think a letter of recommendation from Judge [John S.] Barber [Barbour], Major Gibbon, & Col: Preston forwarded to Washington with a letter to Mr. Patterson requesting that if nothing would prevent I may be regarded as a Bostonian (L, 1:15).

[1829] 30 MARCH. Colonel House writes a letter in Poe's behalf to General E. P Gaines, commanding the Eastern Department, U. S. Army. [page 90:]

I request your permission to discharge from the service Edgar A. Perry, at present the Sergeant Major of the It. Regt. of Artillery on his procuring a substitute —

The said Perry, is one of a family of orphans whose unfortunate parents were the victims of the conflagration of the Richmond theatre, in 1809. — The subject of this letter, was taken under the protection of a Mr Allan, a gentleman of wealth & respectability, of that city, who, as I understand, adopted his Protegé as his son & heir — with the intention of giving him a liberal education, he had placed him at the University of Virginia from which, after considerable progress in his studies, in a moment of youthful indiscretion he absconded and was not heard from by his Patron for several years — in the mean time, he became reduced to the necessity of enlisting into the Service and accordingly entered as a soldier in my Regiment, at Fort Independence in 1827. — Since the arrival of his company at this place, he has made his situation known to his Patron at whose request, the young man has been permitted to visit him — the result is, an entire reconciliation on the part of Mr. Allan, who reenstates him into his family & favor — and who in a letter I have recieved [received] from him request[s] that his son may be discharged on procuring a substitute — An experienced soldier & approved Sergeant, is ready to take the place of Perry so soon as his discharge can be obtained — The good of the Service, therefore cannot be materially injured by the exchange (National Archives; Cameron [1973], pp. 155-56).

[1829] 4 APRIL. NEW YORK. General Gaines grants Colonel House's request. Under Special Order No. 28 “Edgar A. Perry,” on furnishing an acceptable substitute without expense to the Government, is to be discharged on 15 April (National Archives).

[1829] 15 APRIL. FORTRESS MONROE, OLD POINT COMFORT, VIRGINIA. Poe is officially discharged from the U. S. Army (Gaines to House, 4 April 1829).

[1829] 17 APRIL. Sergeant Samuel Graves of Company H re-enlists as a substitute for Sgt.-Major Perry (National Archives; Quinn, p.742).

[1829] 20 APRIL. J. Howard, Lieut. 1st Artillery, writes a letter of recommendation:

Edgar Poe, late Serg’t Major in the 1st. Arty served under my command in H. Company 1st Regt of Artillery from June 1827 to Jan’y – 1829, during which time his conduct was unexceptionable — he at once performed the duties of company clerk and assistant in the Subsistent Department, both of which duties were promptly and faithfully done. his habits are good, and intirely free from drinking (National Archives; Cameron [1973], p. 158).

H. W. Griswold, Bt. Capt. & Adjt. 1st Arty., adds:

.... I have to say that Edgar Poe was appointed Sergeant Major of the 1t Arty on [page 91:] the 1t of Jany. 1829. and up to this date has been exemplary in his deportment, prompt & faithful in the discharge of his duties — and is highly worthy of confidence (National Archives; Cameron [1973], pp. 158-59).

W. J. Worth, Lt. Col. Comd’g Fortress Monroe, writes his recommendation:

I have known & had an opportunity of observing the conduct of the above mentioned Serg’t-Maj. Poe some three months during which his deportment has been highly praise worthy & deserving of confidence. His education is of a very high order and he appears to be free from bad habits in fact the testimony of Lt. Howard & Adjt. Griswold is full to that point — Understanding he is thro’ his friends an applicant for cadets warrant, I unhesitatingly recommend him as promising to acquit himself of the obligations of that station studiously & faithfully (National Archives; Cameron [1973], p. 159).

[W. J. Worth was probably the commandant of West Point whom the cadets carried on their shoulders during a Fourth of July celebration in 1825 (Oelke, p. 2).]

[1829] AFTER 20 APRIL. RICHMOND. Poe visits the Allan home (Phillips, 1:329-30; Allen, p. 195).

[1829] 6 MAY. Both Andrew Stevenson, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Major John Campbell write Major John Henry Eaton, Secretary of War, Washington, D.C., in Poe's behalf.

I [Andrew Stevenson] beg leave to introduce to you Mr. Edgar Poe who wishes to be admitted into the Military Academy, & to stand the examination in June! He has been two years in the service of the U. States & carries with him the strongest testimonials, from the highest authority. He will be an acquisition to the service & I most earnestly recommend him to yr especial notice & approbation (National Archives; Cameron [1973], p. 160).

The history of the youth Edgar Allan Poe is a very interesting one as detailed to me [John Campbell] by gentlemen in whose veracity I have entire confidence and I unite with great pleasure with Mr. Stevenson & Col Worth in recommending him for a place in the Military Academy at West Point. My friend Mr. Allan of this city [Richmond] by whom this orphan & friendless youth was raised and educated is a gentleman in whose word you may place every confidence and can state to you more in detail the character of the youth & the circumstances which claim for him the patronage of the government (National Archives; Cameron [1973], p. 162).

[1829] 6 MAY. John Allan writes Secretary John H. Eaton:

The youth who presents this, is the same alluded to by Lt. Howard Capt. Griswold Colo. Worth our representative & the speaker the Hon’ble Andrew Stevenson and my Friend Majr. Jno. Campbell. He left me in consequence of some Gambling at the university at Charlottesville, because (I presume) I refused to sanction a rule that the shopkeepers & others had adopted there, making Debts of [page 92:] Honour, of all indiscretions — I have much pleasure in asserting that He stood his examination at the close of the year with great credit to himself. His History is short He is the Grandson of Quarter Master Genl Poe of Maryland; whose widow as I understand still receives a pension for the Services or disabilities of Her Husband — Frankly Sir, do I declare that He is no relation to me whatever; that I have many [in] whom I have taken an active Interest to promote thiers [theirs]; with no other feeling than that; every Man is my care, if he be in distress; for myself I ask nothing but I do request your kindness to aid this youth in the promotion of his future prospects — and it will offer me great pleasure to reciprocate any kindness you can skew him — pardon my Frankness; — but I address a Soldier (National Archives; Cameron [1973], pp. 164-65).

[1829] AFTER 6 MAY. WASHINGTON. Poe brings testimonials of 20 April to Secretary John H. Eaton.

John S. Barbour interests himself in Poe's behalf (Allan to Poe, 18 May 1829).

[1829] 7 OR 8 MAY. BALTIMORE. Poe reaches Baltimore and perhaps resides with his cousin Mrs. Beacham, in a house then No. 9 (now No. 28), Caroline Street, corner of Bounty Lane (Stovall [1969], p. 28; Mabbott [1969], 1:541).

[1829] AFTER 8 MAY. Poe writes “Alone” in the album of Lucy Holmes, later the wife of Judge Isaiah Balderston (Mabbott [1969], 1:145).

[1829] 11 MAY. William Wirt gives Poe advice:

It occurred to me, after you left me this morning, that I was probably losing you a day on your journey to Philadelphia, by proposing to detain your poem [“Al Aaraaf”] even until tomorrow, as I understand the day-boat has commenced her spring trips between the cities. I thought it due to your convenience, therefore, to read the poem at once, and send it tonight.

I am sensible of the compliment you pay me in submitting it to my judgment and only regret that you have not a better counsellor. But the truth is that having never written poetry myself, nor read much poetry for many years, I consider myself as by no means a competent judge [of] poems. This is no doubt an old-fashioned idea resulting from the causes I have mentioned, my ignorance of modern poetry and modern taste. You perceive therefore that I am not qualified to judge of the merits of your poem. It will, I know, please modern readers — the notes contain a good deal of curious and useful information — but to deal candidly with you (as I am bound to do) I should doubt whether the poem will take with old-fashioned readers like myself. But this will be of little consequence — provided it be popular with modern readers — and of this, as I have already said, I am unqualified to judge. I would advise you, therefore, as a friend to get an introduction to Mr. [Robert] Walsh or Mr. [Joseph] Hopkinson or some other critic in Philadelphia (Stanard, pp. 131-32). [page 93:]

[1829] 12 MAY. Poe intends to leave for Philadelphia (Wirt to Poe, 11 May 1829).

[1829] AFTER 12 MAY. PHILADELPHIA. Robert Walsh, editor of the American Quarterly Review, points out to Poe “the difficulty of getting a poem published in this country” (Poe to Allan, 29 May 1829).

[1829] 13 MAY. RICHMOND. Colonel James P. Preston, father of Poe's schoolmate John T. L. Preston, writes Secretary Eaton:

Some of the friends of young Mr Edgar Poe have solicited me to address a letter to you in his favor believing that it may be useful to him in his application to the Government for military service. I know Mr Poe and am acquainted with the fact of his having been born under circumstances of great adversity. I also know from his own productions and others undoubted proofs that he is a young gentleman of genius and talents. I believe he is destined to be distinguished, since he has already gained reputation for talents & attainments at the University of Virginia. I think him possessed of feelings & character peculiarly entitling him to public patronage. I am entirely satisfied that the salutary system of military discipline will soon develope his honorable feelings, and elevated spirit, and prove him worthy of confidence. I would not write in his recommendation if I did not believe that he would remunerate the Government at some future day, by his services and talents, for whatever may be done for him (National Archives; Cameron [1973], pp. 166-67).

[1829] CA. 14 MAY. BALTIMORE. Poe meets William Gwynn, editor of the Federal Gazette and Baltimore Daily Advertiser, to whom he shows “Al Aaraaf.” Gwynn employs Neilson Poe, Poe's second cousin, and perhaps Poe himself (W, 1:73; Woodberry, 1:55 and 368).

[1829] CA. 14 MAY. Poe writes John Allan (Allan to Poe, 18 May 1829).

[1829] 16 MAY. RICHMOND. Allan hands Poe's letter to Colonel James P. Preston (Allan to Poe, 18 May 1829).

[1829] 18 MAY. Allan writes Poe:

I duly recd. your letter from Baltimore on Saturday but seeing Col. Preston I gave it to him to read, I have not yet recovered possession .... I was agreeably pleased to hear that the Honourable Jno. J. [S.] Barber [Barbour] did interest himself so much in your favour.

He perhaps remembered you when you were at the Springs in 1812, from the interest exhibited by the Secretary of War you stand a fair chance I think of being of those selected for Sept. Col. Preston wrote a warm letter in your favour to Major Eaton since your departure. Major Campbell left this for Washington on yesterday .... I cover a Bank check of Virga. on the Union Bank of Maryland (this date) of Baltimore for one Hundred Dollars payable to your order be prudent and careful (Stanard, p. 121). [page 94:]

[1829] 18 MAY. BALTIMORE. Passages from Poe's “Al Aaraaf’ (“Extract from Al Aaraaf, An Unpublished Poem”), signed Marlow, appear in the advertising columns of William Gwynn's Federal Gazette and Baltimore Daily Advertiser (Rede, pp. 49-54).

[1829] CA. 19 MAY. Poe writes “Elizabeth” and “An Acrostic” in the album of Elizabeth Rebecca Herring (Whitty, pp. xxxiii and 284-85; Campbell [1917], p. 297; Mabbott [1969], 1:147-50).

[1829] 20 MAY. Poe writes Allan that he has received the draft for $100, that he has succeeded in finding his grandmother (Elizabeth Cairnes Poe) and other relations, and that he has introduced himself to William Wirt: “He treated me with great politeness, and invited me to call & see him frequently while I stay in Baltimore — I have called upon him several times. I have been introduced to many gentlemen of high standing in the city, who were formerly acquainted with my grandfather & have altogether been treated very handsomely” (L, 1:16-17).

[1829] BEFORE 27 MAY. PHILADELPHIA. At Heiskell's Indian Queen Hotel, 15 South Fourth Street, Poe writes Isaac Lea of Carey, Lea & Carey, publishers, regarding his manuscript “Al Aaraaf’: “If the poem is published, succeed or not, I am ‘irrecoverably a poet, But to your opinion I leave it, and as I should be proud of the honor of your press, failing in that I will make no other application ... the poem is by a minor & truly written under extraordinary disadvantages” (L, 1:18-19).

[1829] 29 MAY. BALTIMORE. Poe writes Allan:

I have been several times to visit Mr Wirt, who has treated me with great kindness & attention. I sent him, for his opinion, a day or two ago, a poem which I have written since I left home .... if once noticed I can easily cut out a path to reputation ... give me a letter to Mssrs Carey, Lea, & Carey saying that if in publishing the poem “Al Aaraaf’ they shall incur any loss — you will make it good to them .... I have long given up Byron as a model — for which, I think, I deserve some credit (L, 1:20-21).

[1829] AFTER 29 MAY. Poe's distant cousin Edward Mosher robs him of about $46 at Beltzhoover's Hotel (Poe to Allan, 25 June 1829).

[1829] 7 JUNE. NORFOLK, VIRGINIA. William Mackenzie dies.

[A brief account of Mackenzie's sudden death in the Norfolk Beacon, 8 June, was copied by the Richmond Compiler, 10 June. Surviving him were his wife Jane Scott and the following children: John Hamilton, Mary [page 95:] Gallego, William Leslie, Thomas Gilliat, Richard Neil (or Neal), Martha H. Gilliat, and Rosalie Mackenzie Poe (Poe's sister).]

Indian Queen Hotel, Philadelphia[thumbnail]

[Illustration on page 95, top]
Indian Queen Hotel, Philadelphia

[1829] 8 JUNE. RICHMOND. Allan censures Poe's conduct and refuses him any aid (L, 1:21).

[1829] 10 JUNE. BALTIMORE. Poe writes Allan (Poe to Allan, 25 June 1829).

[1829] BEFORE 25 JUNE. Edward Mosher writes Poe, acknowledging his theft (Poe to Allan, 25 June and 26 July 1829).

[1829] 25 JUNE. Poe writes Allan:

I should by no means publish it [“Al Aaraaf’] without your approbation .... The poem is now in the hands of Carey, Lea & Carey .... I have left untried no efforts to enter at W. Point .... it is only a little [money] that I now want .... A cousin of my own [Edward Mosher] robbed me at Beltzhoover's Hotel while I was asleep in the same room with him of all the money I had with me (about 46$) of which I recovered $10 — by searching his pockets the ensuing night. ... I have been moderate in my expences & $50 of the money which you sent me I applied in paying a debt contracted at Old Point for my substitute, for [which] I gave my note — the money necessary if Lt Howard had not gone on furlough would have been only 12$ as a bounty — but when he & Col: House left I had to scuffle for myself — I paid $25 — & gave my note for $50 — in all 75$ [page 96:] .... I have learnt ... that I am the grandson of General Benedict Arnold (L, 1:21-23).

[1829] 15 JULY. Poe writes Allan: “I am afraid that being up at the Byrd [plantation] you might probably not have received them [my two letters] .... I am incurring unnecessary expense as Grandmother is not in a situation to give me any accommodation .... You would relieve me from a great deal of anxiety by writing me soon — I think I have already had my share of trouble for one so young” (L, 1:23-24).

[1829] 19 JULY. RICHMOND. Allan sends Poe money (Poe to Allan, 26 July 1829).

[1829] 22 JULY. BALTIMORE. Poe receives Allan's letter of 19 July (Poe to Allan, 26 July 1829).

[1829] 23 JULY. WASHINGTON. Poe walks from Baltimore to Washington to see Secretary John H. Eaton (Poe to Allan, 26 July 1829).

[1829] 26 JULY. BALTIMORE. Poe writes Allan:

I received ... the money which you sent me, notwithstanding the taunt with which it was given “that men of genius ought not to apply to your aid” .... As regards the substitute, the reason why I did not tell you that it would cost $75 — was that I could not possibly foresee so improbable an event — The bounty is $12 — & but for the absence of Col: House & Lt Howard at the time of my discharge it would have been all that I should have had to pay — The officer commanding a company can (if he pleases) enlist the first recruit who offers & muster him as a substitute for another, of course paying only the bounty of 12$ but as Lt Howard & Col: House were both absent, this arrangement could not be effected — As I told you it would only cost me $12 I did not wish to make you think me imposing upon you — so upon a substitute, offering for $75 — I gave him $25 & gave him my note of hand for the balance — when you remitted me $100 — thinking I had more than I should want. I thought it my best opportunity of taking up my note — which I did .... As regards the money which was stolen I have sent you the only proof in my possession a letter from Mosher .... On receiving your last letter, I went immediately to Washington, on foot, & have returned the same way, having paid away $40 for my bill & being unwilling to spend the balance when I might avoid it .... I saw Mr Eaton, he addressed me by name, & in reply to my questions told me — ”that of the 47 surplus, on the roll, which I mentioned in my former letters, 19 were rejected [9] dismissed & 8 resigned — consequently there was yet a surplus of 10 before me on the roll .... if the number [of resignations] exceeded 10 I should be sure of the appt without farther application in Sepr if not I would at least be among the first on the next roll for the ensuing year. ... he regretted my useless trip to Washington .... As regards the poem, I have offended only in asking your approbation (L, 1:24-27). [page 97:]

[1829] 28 JULY. Poe writes Carey, Lea & Carey: “Having made a better disposition of my poems than I had any right to expect ... I would thank you to return me the Mss ... Mr Lea, during our short interview, at your store, mentioned ‘the Atlantic Souvenir’ and spoke of my attempting something for that work ... As I am unacquainted with the method of proceeding in offering any piece for acceptance (having been sometime absent from this country) would you, Gentlemen, have the kindness to set me in the right way” (L, 1:27-28).

[1829] 3 AUGUST. PHILADELPHIA. Carey, Lea & Carey write Poe (cited on Poe's 28 July 1829 letter).

[1829] 4 AUGUST. BALTIMORE. Poe writes Allan: “I repeat that I have done nothing to deserve your displeasure .... By your last letter I understood that it was not your wish that I should return home — I am anxious to do so — but if you think that I should not — I only wish to know what course I shall pursue” (L, 1:28-29).

[1829] CA. 7 AUGUST. RICHMOND. Allan writes Poe (Poe to Allan, 10 August 1829).

[1829] 10 AUGUST. BALTIMORE. Poe writes Allan: “I knew that I had done nothing to deserve your anger, I was in a most uncomfortable situation — without one cent of money — in a strange place .... My grandmother is extremely poor & ill (paralytic). My aunt Maria if possible still worse & Henry entirely given up to drink & unable to help himself .... they will no longer enlist men for the residue of anothers’ enlistment as formerly, consequently my substitute was enlisted for 5 years not 3 .... I left behind me in Richmond a small trunk containing books & some letters — will you forward it on to Baltimore to the care of H–W. Bool Jr & if you think I may ask so much perhaps you will put in it for me some few clothes as I am nearly without” (L, 1:29-30).

[H. W. Bool, Jr., was an eccentric auctioneer and second-hand bookdealer, whose business and residence address was 60 Baltimore Street (Jackson [1977], p. 44).]

[1829] 19 AUGUST. RICHMOND. Allan writes Poe, sending him $50 (Stanard, p. 183).

Margaret Ellis writes her husband Charles: “Mr. Allan goes tomorrow to Virginia Springs, he has been sick, complains of being weak and nervous” (Phillips, 1:442).

[1829] AUGUST? BALTIMORE. Poe writes John Neal, perhaps at the suggestion of [page 98:] his cousin George Poe, the brother of Neilson Poe (Yankee; and Boston Literary Gazette, 3 [September 1829]:168; Phillips, 1:339).

[1829] LATE AUGUST OR EARLY SEPTEMBER. PORTLAND, MAINE. In the “To Correspondents” column of the Yankee; and Boston Literary Gazette for September John Neal addresses Poe:

If E. A. P of Baltimore —— whose lines about Heaven, though he professes to regard them as altogether superior to any thing in the whole range of American poetry, save two or three trifles referred to, are, though nonsense, rather exquisite nonsense — would but do himself justice, might make a beautiful and perhaps a magnificent poem. There is a good deal here to justify such a hope.

Dim vales and shadowy floods,

And cloudy-looking woods,

Whose forms we can’t discover,

For the tears that — drip all over.

The moonlight ———————————— falls

Over hamlets, over halls,

Wherever they may be,

O’er the strange woods, o’er the sea ——

O’er spirits on the wing,

O’er every drowsy thing ——

And buries them up quite,

In a labyrinth of light,

And then how deep! —— Oh deep!

Is the passion of their sleep!

He should have signed it Bah! We have no room for others.

[1829] SEPTEMBER. WASHINGTON. The quota for West Point does not include Poe (Poe to Allan, 10 August and 30 October 1829).

[1829] 22 OCTOBER. BALTIMORE. Henry Poe is perhaps the author of the lines entitled “Life,” written in the album of Miss Mary A. Hand (Mabbott [1969], 1:519).

[1829] CA. 27 OCTOBER. RICHMOND. Allan writes Poe (Poe to Allan, 30 October 1829).

[1829] 30 OCTOBER. BALTIMORE. Poe writes Allan:

It is my intention upon the receipt of your letter to go again to Washington &, tho’ contrary to the usual practice, I will get Mr Eaton to give me my letter of appt now .... I would have sent you the M. S. of my Poems long ago for your approval, but since I have collected them they have been continually in the hands of some person or another. & I have not had them in my own possession since Carey & Lea took them — I will send them to you at the first opportunity — I am [page 99:] sorry that your letters to me have still with them a tone of anger as if my former errors were not forgiven — if I knew how to regain your affection God knows I would do any thing I could (L, 1:30-32).

[1829] OCTOBER-NOVEMBER. Poe writes John Neal about Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems: “I am young —— not yet twenty —— am a poet —— if deep worship of all beauty can make me one ... I am about to publish a volume of ‘Poems’ —— the greater part written before I was fifteen” (Yankee, VI, December 1829, 295; L, 1:32-33).

[1829] OCTOBER-NOVEMBER. Perhaps Poe writes Nathaniel Parker Willis, submitting “Heaven” (later “Fairyland”) for publication in the American Monthly.

[1829] LATE OCTOBER OR EARLY NOVEMBER. PORTLAND, MAINE. A notice appears in John Neal's Yankee for November:


Many papers intended for this number have been put aside for the next, from necessity .... Among others are .... Unpublished Poetry (being specimens of a book about to appear at Baltimore), Death of James William Miller, our late highly gifted and most amiable associate, and a long piece of poetry which may or may not appear.

[1829] EARLY NOVEMBER. BOSTON. In his “The Editor's Table” of the American Monthly for November Nathaniel Parker Willis rejects Poe's “Fairyland” and confines the manuscript to the flames:

It is quite exciting to lean over eagerly as the flame eats in upon the letters, and make out the imperfect sentences and trace the faint strokes in the tinder as it trembles in the ascending air of the chimney. There, for instance, goes a gilt-edged sheet which we remember was covered with some sickly rhymes on Fairyland .... Now it [the flame] flashes up in a broad blaze, and now it reaches a marked verse — let us see — the fire devours as we read:

“They use that moon no more

For the same end as before —

Videlicet, a tent,

Which I think extravagant.”

Burn on, good fire!

[1829] 7 NOVEMBER. BALTIMORE. The Baltimore Gazette notices a performance of Timour the Tartar (Campbell [1917], p. 148. See 12 JULY 1822).

[1829] 12 NOVEMBER. Poe writes Allan: “I wrote you about a fortnight ago and as I have not heard from you, I was afraid you had forgotten me .... I am almost without clothes — and, as I board by the month, the lady with whom I board is anxious for hey [her] money” (L, 1:33-34). [page 100:]

[1829] CA. 15 NOVEMBER. RICHMOND. Allan sends Poe $80 and states that his health has improved after a visit to the Virginia springs (Poe to Allan, 18 November 1829).

[1829] 18 NOVEMBER. BALTIMORE. Poe writes Allan, thanking him for a check for $80 and asking him to obtain from the Galt store a piece of linen so that his Aunt Maria can make it up for him “gratis.” He adds: “The Poems will be printed by Hatch & Dunning of this city upon terms advantageous to me they printing it & giving me 250 copies of the book: —— I will send it on by Mr Dunning who is going immediately to Richmond — I am glad to hear that your trip to the springs was of service in recruiting your health & spirits” (L, 1:34).

[1829] LATE NOVEMBER OR EARLY DECEMBER. PORTLAND, MAINE. In “Unpublished Poetry” in the Yankee for December John Neal gives Poe advice:

The following passages are from the manuscript-works of a young author, about to be published in Baltimore. He is entirely a stranger to us, but with all their faults, if the remainder of Al Aaraaf and Tamerlane are as good as the body of the extracts here given —— to say nothing of the more extraordinary parts, he will deserve to stand high —— very high in the estimation of the shining brotherhood. Whether he will do so however, must depend, not so much upon his worth now in mere poetry, as upon his worth hereafter in something yet loftier and more generous —— we allude to the stronger properties of the mind, to the magnanimous determination that enables a youth to endure the present, whatever the present may be, in the hope, or rather in the belief, the fixed, unwavering belief, that in the future he will find his reward. [Neal quotes Poe's letter and extracts from his poems.]

Having allowed our youthful writer to be heard in his own behalf, — what more can we do for the lovers of genuine poetry? Nothing. They who are judges will not need more; and they who are not — why waste words upon them? We shall not (see L, 1:32-33; and 19, 21, and 23 JANUARY 1830).

[1829] 10 DECEMBER. BALTIMORE. Perhaps Poe acts as Maria Clemm's agent in the assignment of a slave named Edwin to Henry Ridgway for a term of nine years (Jackson [1977], p. 44).

BEFORE 29 DECEMBER. Hatch & Dunning publish Poe's poems.

[AL AARAAF, / TAMERLANE, / AND / MINOR POEMS. / (rule) / BY EDGAR A. POE. / (rule) / BALTIMORE: / HATCH & DUNNING. / (rule) / 1829. Printed by Matchett & Woods. 71 pp.

Contents: no title (“Science! meet daughter of old Time thou art”); “Al Aaraaf’; “Tamerlane”; and “Miscellaneous Poems”: “Preface” (“Romance who loves to nod and sing”), “To — —” (“Should my early life seem”), [page 101:] “To — —” (“I saw thee on thy bridal day”), “To — —” (“The bowers whereat, in dreams, I see”), “To the River —,” “The Lake — To —,” “Spirits of the Dead,” “A Dream,” “To M—” (“Oh! I care not that my earthly lot”), “Fairyland.”

Perhaps 250 copies printed. A facsimile edition with a bibliographical note by Thomas Ollive Mabbott was published for the Facsimile Text Society by the Columbia University Press, New York, in 1933.]

[1829] 29 DECEMBER. Poe writes John Neal, forwarding a copy of Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems: “You will see that I have made the alterations you suggest ‘ventur’d out’ in place of peer-ed ... and other corrections of the same kind ... I wait anxiously for your notice of the book” (L, 1:35-36).

[Before publication Poe had revised “Al Aaraaf” (line 33, Part 1I), following a suggestion Neal made in a footnote to the excerpts in the Yankee for December. The presentation copy he sent Neal contained holograph alterations to “Tamerlane” and “To — —” (“I saw thee on thy bridal day”); see Mabbott (1969), 1:25-26, 65-66, 577.]

[1829] AFTER 29 DECEMBER? An unknown critic, possibly William Gwynn or Lambert A. Wilmer, favorably reviews Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems in a Baltimore newspaper (Church, pp. 4-7).

[1829] AFTER 29 DECEMBER? Poe gives a copy of Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems to Elizabeth Rebecca Herring, inscribed “For my cousin Elizabeth” (presentation copy in NN-B; Wakeman, item 936; Mabbott [1942], pp. xxiii-xxv).

[1829] 1829? Poe transcribes three stanzas by his brother Henry in the album of Lucy Holmes, later Mrs. Balderston. Henry writes several verses in an album belonging to Rosa Durham (Mabbott [1969], 1:518-19).

[1829] 1829? Henry Poe's poems “To —” and “To Minnie” appear in the Baltimore Minerva and Emerald, a literary weekly edited by John Hill Hewitt (Gill, pp. 43-45).

[1829] 1829. BOSTON. Poe's Tamerlane and Other Poems (1827) is listed in Samuel Kettell's “Catalogue of American Poetry,” included in his three-volume anthology Specimens of American Poetry.

[1829] 1829. NEW YORK. Lucretia Maria Davidson's Amir Khan contains a reference to “Israfil,” a probable source for Poe's 1831 poem “Israfel” (Mabbott [1969], 1:173).



~~ 1830 ~~

Scroll down, or select month:


Title page of Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane and Minor Poems [thumbnail]

[Illustration on page 102]
Title page of Poe's second volume

[page 103:]

[1830] JANUARY? BALTIMORE. “S. S.” (John Hill Hewitt) in the Baltimore Minerva and Emerald reviews unfavorably Poe's Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor poems: “The dead alive! Has the poet been struck with numb palsy? We believe not; for then it might only be said, that the poor fellow had but ‘one foot in the grave,’ where, as it appears by the above, that he has gone the whole ————, and fairly kicked the bucket, still possessing the full enjoyment of his faculties. We have done with the book; what more is to be done remains with the public” (Hewitt [1949], pp. 22-24).

[1830] JANUARY? PORTLAND, MAINE? John Neal reviews Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems in an unidentified periodical: “If the young author now before us should fulfil his destiny .... he will be foremost in the rank of real poets” (quoted in the Philadelphia Saturday Museum, 4 March 1843).

[1830] JANUARY. BOSTON. Sarah Josepha Hale publishes a review (not hers) of Poe's Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems in her American Ladies’ Magazine and Literary Gazette: “It is very difficult to speak of these poems as they deserve. A part are exceedingly boyish, feeble, and altogether deficient in the common characteristics of poetry; but then we have parts, and parts too of considerable length, which remind us of no less a poet than Shelley. The author who appears to be very young, is evidently a fine genius, but he wants judgment, experience, tact.”

[1830] EARLY JANUARY? BALTIMORE. Perhaps Poe writes Sarah Josepha Hale (L, 1:106).

Perhaps Poe accepts John Lofland's challenge to see who can write more verses in a given time and loses (Phillips, 1:457-58, 461; Mabbott [1969], 1:501-502).

Poe makes his earliest appearance in a satire in lines from The Musiad or Ninead, by Diabolus, edited by ME: “Next Poe who smil’d at reason, laugh’d at law, / And played a tune who should have play’d at taw ... ” (Stovall [1969], pp. 64-101; Mabbott [1969], 1:505, 541; VIU-I).

[That Poe was the author of this poem of eight pages is unlikely (Mabbott [1969], 1:541 n. 9).]

[1830] BEFORE 8 JANUARY. RICHMOND. Poe returns to Richmond and meets Thomas Bolling, a former classmate.

After being at College together, I never met with him [Poe] until his return [page 104:] having left Mr. A. on account of some disagreement. I happened there [at John Allan's residence] the second night after he got back —— when he gave me a history of all he had experienced while away, how he had suffered and shifted to live, when finally as the only alternative for relief, he wrote Alaura-af [“Al Aaraaf”] —— that Sanxy [Sanxay] —— who kept a book store in Richd. at that time, had it for sale —— to call on him for as many copies as I wished and should I meet with any of our old College mates, that would like to see it, give him one, as coming from me not Poe —— The next day, he went with me, gave me a copy, leaving the above instructions with Sanxy (Thomas Bolling to E. V. Valentine, 10 July 1875, ViRVal).

[1830] 8 JANUARY. Allan purchases a pair of gloves at $1.38 for Poe (DLC-EA; Campbell [1916], p. 145; Quinn, p. 166 n. 1).

[1830] 19, 21, AND 23 JANUARY. The Richmond bookseller R. D. Sanxay runs an advertisement in the Compiler:

AL AARAAF — Just received Al Aaraaf[,] Tamerlane, and other minor poems, by Edgar A. Poe.

“The following passages are from the M. S. works of a young author, about to be published in Baltimore. If the remainder of Al Aaraaf and Tamerlane are as good as the body of the extracts here given [to say nothing of the more extraordinary parts,] he will deserve to stand high —— very high, in the estimation of the brotherhood.” —— [Yankee.

For sale at the Book and Stationery store of


[The Richmond Whig printed a similar advertisement on 19 January, according to Phillips, 1:358-59. These advertisements were probably supplied by Poe himself. See LATE NOVEMBER OR EARLY DECEMBER 1829.]

[1830] 26 JANUARY. BALTIMORE. Neilson Poe writes his cousin Josephine Emily Clemm, later his wife: “Edgar Poe has published a volume of Poems one of which [‘Tamerlane’] is dedicated to John Neal the great autocrat of critics — Neal has accordingly published Edgar as a Poet of great genius etc. — Our name will be a great one yet” (Quinn, p. 165).

[1830] 30 JANUARY. RICHMOND. John Allan purchases for Poe “1/2 doz. Ret. L. Wool Hose. 4.50” (DLC-EA; Quinn, p. 166 n. 1).

[1830] 2 FEBRUARY. William Galt, Jr., marries Mary Bell Taylor, daughter of Thomas Taylor and Lucy Harrison Singleton Taylor (NcD-G).

[1830] 13 MARCH. WASHINGTON. Senator Powhatan Ellis of Mississippi writes Secretary of War John H. Eaton a letter in Poe's behalf: “I have recd. a letter from a young gentleman in Richmond by the name of Edgar A. Poe [page 105:] stating that he was an applicant for a situation in the Military Academy at West Point. He requested me to ask you, if there was any probability of his receiving a warrant to enter that institution. I am not personally acquainted with Mr. Poe — but from information I would say his capacity & learning eminently qualify him to make in a few years a distinguished officer” (National Archives; Cameron [1973], p. 168).

[1830] 31 MARCH. RICHMOND. Allan writes Secretary John H. Eaton: “As the Guardian of Edgar Allan Poe I hereby signify my assent to his signing articles by which he shall bind himself, to serve the United States for five years, unless sooner discharged, as Stipulated in your Official Letter appointing him a Cadet” (National Archives; Cameron [1973], p. 170).

[1830] BEFORE MAY. FORTRESS MONROE, OLD POINT COMFORT, VIRGINIA. Sergeant Samuel (“Bully”) Graves writes Poe regarding Poe's debts to him and to Sergeant Griffith (Poe to Graves, 3 May 1830).

[1830] CA. 1 MAY. Sergeant Graves writes Poe again (Poe to Graves, 3 May 1830).

[Poe apparently had paid the $75 bounty due Graves for re-enlisting as his Army substitute on 17 April 1829 (see Poe to Allan, 25 June 1829). Graves may have been referring to other debts.]

[1830] 3 MAY. RICHMOND. Poe writes Sergeant Graves:

I have just received your letter which is the first I have ever got from you .... As to what you say about [Thomas] Downey Mr A[llan] very evidently misunderstood me, and I wish you to understand that I never sent any money by Downey whatsoever — Mr A is not very often sober — which accounts for it — I mentioned to him that I had seen Downey at Balto., as I did, & that I wished to send it on by him, but he did not intend going to the point.

I have tried to get the money for you from Mr A a dozen times — but he always shuffles me off — I have been very sorry that I have never had it in my power as yet to pay either you or St Griffith .... I told St Benton why I never had it in my power .... Give my respects to the company to St Benton & wife & sister in la[w] .... remember me to Mrs Graves St Hooper & Charley — Duke &c (L, 1:36-37).

[1830] 13? MAY. Allan buys “4 blankets, [$]5.34. 7[?] Hckfs. 4.63” for Poe (DLC-EA; Quinn, p. 166 n. 1. Campbell [1916], p. 145, has 12 May).

[1830] BEFORE 21 MAY. Poe leaves Richmond for West Point (Stanard, p. 231; Stovall [1969], pp. 43-44).

[1830] 21 MAY. RICHMOND. Allan writes Poe and encloses $20 (Poe to Allan, 28 June 1830). [page 106:]

[1830] AFTER 21 MAY. BALTIMORE. Poe stops in Baltimore and promises Nathan Covington Brooks a poem for his forthcoming annual (Woodberry, 1:67).

[1830] CA. 20 JUNE. WEST POINT. Poe reaches the Military Academy (L, 1:38).

[1830] 25 JUNE. Poe receives John Allan's letter dated 21 May and forwarded by Henry Poe from Baltimore (Poe to Allan, 28 June 1830).

[1830] 28 JUNE. Poe writes Allan:

I received it [your letter of 21 May] 3 days ago — it has been lying some time in the W. P post office where it was forwarded from Balto by Henry. As to what you say about the books &c I have taken nothing except what I considered my own property. Upon arriving here I delivered my letters of recommn & was very politely received by Capn [Ethan Allan] Hitchcock & Mr Ross — The examination for admission is just over — a great many cadets of good family &c have been rejected as deficient. Among these was Peyton Giles son of the Governor — James D Brown, son of Jas Brown Jr has also been dismissed for deficiency after staying here 3 years .... Of 130 Cadets appointed every year only 30 or 35 ever graduate — the rest being dismissed for bad conduct or deficiency the Regulations are rigid in the extreme .... I am in camp at present — my tent mates are Read [Reid?] & [John Eaton] Henderson (nephew of Major Eaton) & [William Telfair] Stockton of Phild (L, 1:37-38).

[1830] JULY. PHILADELPHIA. Godey's Lady's Book commences publication.

[1830] 1 JULY. WEST POINT. Poe's name appears for the first time on the muster rolls of cadets. His age is recorded as nineteen years and five months (Cadet Alphabetic Cards, USMA).

[1830] CA. 1 JULY RICHMOND. Twins are born to Mrs. Elizabeth Wills and John Allan, who is courting Louisa Gabriella Patterson, of Elizabethtown, New Jersey. “ ... it was when on a visit to her aunt Mrs. John Mayo that she [Louisa Patterson] first met Mr. Allan” (W 1:78; see 15 MARCH 1833).

[1830] JULY AND AUGUST. WEST POINT. Poe takes part in the encampment at Camp Eaton (Poe to Allan, 28 June 1830).

[1830] 25 AUGUST. Cadet Jacob Whitman Bailey from Rhode Island writes his brother William and describes the masquerade ball at the end of Poe's summer camp (Oelke, p. 2).

[1830] 30 AUGUST. The cadets move from camp to barracks (Oelke, p. 2). Poe rooms with Thomas W. Gibson (Indiana), Timothy Pickering Jones (Tennessee), [page 107:] and perhaps John Eaton Henderson (Tennessee), Room 28 South Barracks.

[1830] 31 AUGUST. The cadets receive their assignments (Oelke, p. 2).

[1830] 1 SEPTEMBER. Classes begin at West Point. Poe takes two courses, French and mathematics (Oelke, p. 2).

[1830] 11 SEPTEMBER. PHILADELPHIA. Poe's “Sonnet — To Science” appears in the Saturday Evening Post.

[1830] EARLY OCTOBER. Poe's “Sonnet — To Science” appears in the Casket for October.

[1830] 5 OCTOBER. NEW YORK. John Allan marries Louisa Patterson (W, 1:78; transcript from Allan Family Bible, ViRVal).

[1830] 6 NOVEMBER. WEST POINT. Poe writes Allan:

I was greatly in hopes you would have come on to W. Point while you were in N. York, and was very much disappointed when I heard you had gone on home without letting me hear from you. I have a very excellent standing in my class .... the study requisite is incessant, and the discipline exceedingly rigid. I have seen Genl [Winfield] Scott ... he was very polite and attentive ... I am very much pleased with Colonel [Sylvanus] Thayer .... Mr. [Edward] Cunningham was also on here some time since, and Mr J Chevalie (L, 1:38-39).

[Allan B. Magruder, a classmate from Virginia who left the Academy in 1831, later recalled:

He [Poe] was very shy and reserved in his intercourse with his fellow-cadets — his associates being confined almost exclusively to Virginians .... He was an accomplished French scholar, and had a wonderful aptitude for mathematics, so that he had no difficulty in preparing his recitations in his class and in obtaining the highest marks in these departments. He was a devourer of books, but his great fault was his neglect of and apparent contempt for military duties. His wayward and capricious temper made him at times utterly oblivious or indifferent to the ordinary routine of roll-call, drills, and guard duties. These habits subjected him often to arrest and punishment, and effectually prevented his learning or discharging the duties of a soldier (Woodberry, 1:70).

Timothy P. Jones recalled:

Poe and I were classmates, roommates, and tentmates. From the first time we met he took a fancy to me, and owing to his older years and extraordinary literary merits, I thought he was the greatest fellow on earth. From much that he told me [page 108:] of his previous life, he was dissipated before he ever entered for the West Point cadetship. He was certainly given to extreme dissipation within a very short time after he entered school. At first he studied hard and his ambition seemed to be to lead the class in all studies .... it was only a few weeks after the beginning of his career at West Point that he seemed to lose interest in his studies and to be disheartened and discouraged ....

There was one of the teachers there, Prof. Locke, who hated Poe, and the spirit of uncongeniality was mutual ....

Poe had evidenced considerable literary genius before he left West Point, and probably before he came there. He would often write some of the most forcible and vicious doggerel, have me copy it with my left hand in order that it might be disguised, and post it around the building. Locke was ordinarily one of the victims of his stinging pen. He would often play the roughest jokes on those he disliked. I have never seen a man whose hatred was so intense as that of Poe (New York Sun, 10 May 1903; 29 May 1904; Woodberry, 1:369-72).

Thomas W. Gibson recorded:

Number 28 South Barracks, in the last months of the year of our Lord 1830, was pretty generally regarded as a hard room. Cadets who aspired to high standing on the Merit Roll were not much given to visiting it, at least in daytime. To compensate in some measure for this neglect, however, the inspecting-officer was uncommonly punctual in his visits, and rarely failed to find some subject for his daily report of demerit ....  .

Edgar A. Poe was one of the occupants of the room. “Old P—” and the writer of this sketch completed the household. The first conversation I had with Poe after we became installed as room-mates was characteristic of the man. A volume of Campbell's Poems was lying upon my table, and he tossed it contemptuously aside, with the curt remark: “Campbell is a plagiarist;” then without waiting for a reply he picked up the book, and turned the leaves over rapidly until he found the passage he was looking for ....

Poe at that time, though only about twenty years of age, had the appearance of being much older. He had a worn, weary, discontented look, not easily forgotten by those who were intimate with him. Poe was easily fretted by any jest at his expense, and was not a little annoyed by a story that some of the class got up, to the effect that he had procured a cadet's appointment for his son, and the boy having died, the father had substituted himself in his place. Another report current in the corps was that he was a grandson of Benedict Arnold. Some good-natured friend told him of it; and Poe did not contradict it, but seemed rather pleased than otherwise at the mistake.

Very early in his brief career at the Point he established a high reputation for genius, and poems and squibs of local interest were daily issued from Number 28 and went the round of the Classes. One of the first things of the kind that he perpetrated was a diatribe in which all of the officers of the Academy, from Colonel Thayer down, were duly if not favorably noticed. I can recall but one stanza. It ran thus:

“John Locke was a very great name; [page 109:]

Joe Locke was a greater in short;

The former was well known to Fame,

The latter well known to Report.”

Joe [Joseph Lorenzo] Locke, it may be remarked by way of explanation, was one of the instructors of tactics, and ex-officio Inspector of Barracks, and supervisor of the morals and deportment of cadets generally ....  .

The studies of the Academy Poe utterly ignored. I doubt if he ever studied a page of Lacroix [Elements of Algebra], unless it was to glance hastily over it in the lecture-room, while others of his section were reciting ....

I don’t think he was ever intoxicated while at the Academy, but he had already acquired the more dangerous habit of constant drinking ....

Upon the whole the impression left by Poe in his short career at West Point was highly favorable to him. (Gibson, pp. 754-56).

Russell (p. 13 n. 23) points out that Gibson was “sixteen and a half years old when finally dismissed in 1832 after his second court-martial having been convicted of setting fire to a building near the barracks.”]

[1830] 15 NOVEMBER. Before a general court-martial Timothy P. Jones is found guilty for gross neglect of his academic and military duties (Allan, p. 451).

[1830] 27 NOVEMBER. RICHMOND. The Richmond Whig reports that John Allan has been elected Secretary of the Amicable Society Club (Allen, p. 684).

[“The AMICABLE SOCIETY was instituted in 1788, with the benevolent object of relieving strangers and wayfarers, in distress, for whom the law makes no provision” (Mordecai, p. 255). Its membership included Michael B. Poitiaux, Robert Greenhow, William Lambert, William Galt, Jr., Robert Gwathmey, T. Gwathmey, and W. Munford (Mordecai, pp. 257-58).]

[1830] 27-28 DECEMBER. Allan writes Poe (Poe to Allan, 3 January 1831).

[1830] 31 DECEMBER. WEST POINT. Timothy P. Jones, one of Poe's roommates, is dismissed from the Academy (Allan, p. 451).






[S:1 - TPL, 1987] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Bookshelf - The Poe Log (D. R. Thomas and D. K. Jackson) (Chapter 02)