On May 26, 1827, Edgar Allan Poe, under the alias of Edgar A. Perry, enlisted as a private in the United States Army (Howard 2003, 55). Thus began a curious, lesser known, chapter in the life of one of America’s greatest writers. In less than a year, serving in the 1st Artillery Regiment, Poe was promoted to the unit’s artificer. As artificer, “both officers and gun crews relied on him to craft the artillery bombs properly and oversee the ammunition supply for the battery” (Hecker 2005, xxxiv). Within seven months, Poe would be selected “from the regiments nearly 500 authorized enlisted men to become” (Howard 2003, 56) sergeant major.
The letter written by Father Deshon in regards to Ulysses S. Grant highlights the character of our 18th President and provides anecdotal information on how he viewed West Point and how he interacted with his fellow cadets. It also gives historical reference to life at the United States Military Academy. Continue reading →