Saturday, January 20, 2007

Edward Jay Allen

Edward Jay Allen
April 27, 1830 - ?
. . .
Born in New York City in 1830, Edward Jay Allen was the son of Edward and Amelia (Bindley) Allen, both of English descent. He was a lover of books and received a good English education in the schools of Pittsburgh, whither his parents had removed, and a classical training at Duquesne College.

Edward Jay Allen served in the Union forces during the Civil War. His first military duty was as a volunteer aid to General Fremont, at the battle of Lewisburg, Virginia, May 25th, 1862.

The 155th Pennsylvania Volunteers, a new regiment that had been recruited at Pittsburgh towards the close of the summer of 1862, was organized in September, and Allen was selected its Colonel. South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club member John Ewing also served with the 155th.

At Fredericksburg, the command of the brigade devolved upon Colonel Allen, who won by his gallantry the earnest praise of General Humphreys. Soon after the close of this campaign he was prostrated by a rheumatic attack, and though he remained nominally at the head of the regiment until after the battle of Gettysburg, he performed no further field duty, and on the 25th of July was obliged to resign.

The 155th served at the battles of Wilderness and Petersburg as well as Antitem, and were present at Lee's surrender to Grant at Appomattox. It was through the ranks of the 155th that the message came that the surrender was about to occur.

Following the war, Colonel Allen helped to form the Pacific and Atlantic Telegraph Company of which General Edmund Kirby Smith served as president from 1866 to 1868. This company merged with SFF&HC member Andrew Carnegie's Keystone Telegraphy Company in 1867.

Colonel Allen was married in 1857 to Miss Elizabeth W. Robison. They were the parents of the following (and this list may be incomplete):

- Elizabeth Robinson Allen (Baylies) 1905-1947

- Winthrop Allen

- Hervey Allen

- Helen Allen (Hunt) 1901-1970

- Edward Jay Allen, Jr.

- Amelia Frances Allen (married SFF&HC member William T. Dunn)

Col. Allen was a poet of some note. On July 30, 1896 at Clarion, Pennsylvania, the 155th held a grand reunion, which more than 120 veterans attended, including Col. Ewing. Col. Allen was unable to attend; however, he sent his greetings in a letter written from Beach Haven, New Jersey, accompanied by a poem he wrote for the occasion, entitled, "Fall In! Comrades".

Here is part of the poem:

Fall In! Comrades
. . .
Here are the old boys together again, the Boys in Blue.
God bless you all, comrades, old friends, here's both hands to you.
I seem to hear the bugle call, and martial music sweet.
And see the flash of the gun, and hear the tramp of the marching feet.
. . .
It is but a moment's glow, We are old, we Boys in Blue.
We close up our lines with stout hearts, but our numbers grow few.
We feel that the years speed away, and our marches are done,
We dream of the past and live in the days that are gone.
. . .
When we furled the flag and broke the ranks, we Boys in Blue.
The paths we trod led away from the old friends we knew.
For life's struggles are single, each must bear his won brunt.
The combat is not as in war, with a company in front.
. . .
And the buying and selling we do, is but selfish at best.
The care for our own, leaves small time for a thought of the rest.
And there often comes to us all, a memory of simpler ways.
The kindly deed, the generous trust, of good old soldierly days.
. . .
O comrades, dear comrades, O Boys of the Blue,
We are gray, ware old, but here's both hands to you,
"Fall in!" "Dress the line!" for the final review,
When their bugle calls "Forward!" the tears of the man of the Blue.
. . .
(I have the entire poem and if you wish it, contact me and I will send it to you)
* * * * *
Col. Allen's grandson, Hervey Allen wrote a poem called "When Shady Avenue was Shady Lane" about the changes in Shadyside in the fashionable East End of Pittsburgh, which were brought about by Col. Allen and his fellow members of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club.
. . .
A three-quarter length portrait of Col. Edward Jay Allen is in the collection of the Smithsonian and can be seen if you do a google search of his name or by visiting this site:
Edward Jay Allen was 59 at the time of the Johnstown Flood.

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