Edgar Allan Poe (poet)
(AKA - Edgar Allan Perry)
b. 1809 – d.
US Army, 1827-1829
On May 26, 1827, already a published poet ,and finding himself in serious debt and poverty, Edgar Allan Poe, enlisted in the United States Army as Edgar A. Perry at the age of 18, lying on the application stating that he was 22. Poe must have been an exemplary soldier for he was promoted sergeant-major on the 1st of January 1829.
In 1830, after serving two years, he applied to West Point Military Academy with the support of his commanding officer and foster father. He was court martialed out of school after only eight months in January 1831 for missing drills, parades, classes and church. Although his time was short, his legend was long-lasting.
Professor Bill Hecker had stated that there had been an Edgar Allan Poe Society at the Academy until just before the Second World War. After the War, the dedication of time and energy to the Society had been diverted to other, more pressing activities of the staff and Corps of Cadets. Those with access to the Library Archives will find materials on this subject in Poe's "Vertical File."
Hecker was killed in Iraq in 2006, but had completed a compilation of Poe’s poems that were written during his time at West Point. Private Perry and Mister Poe: The West Point Poems, 1831 is available at Amazon.
Source Painting Source: Edgar Perry, Sergeant Major, Fort Monroe, Virginia, is courtesy of Mr. Paul Morando, Archives Director, of the Casemate Museum, Fort Monroe, Virginia