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LTC James Allen
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Birth: Feb. 15, 1806
Ohio, USA
Death: Aug. 23, 1846
Fort Leavenworth
Leavenworth County
Kansas, USA

Son of James Allen & Jane Heathwood

Captain James Allen was given the responsibility of recruiting the Mormons for service in the Mexican War. He had been a Captain in the U.S. Army since 1837, and had graduated from West Point Military Academy in 1829. He had accompanied Henry R. Schoolcraft in his 1832 expedition to find the headwaters of the Missouri Rivers. He had acquired considerable experience in Iowa Territory by the early 1840s and in 1842 was assigned to Ft. Atkinson in Iowa Territory to supervise the Sac and Fox Indian agency. In 1846 he was sent by Brigadier General Stephen Kearny, recently appointed Commander of the Army in the West, to meet with the Mormons. Thomas L. Kane had already hand delivered to him the instructions from President James K. Polk concerning the formation of the Mormon Battalion.


A few biographical details about Captain Allen:
1806. Born of Irish parents in Ohio.

1825. Entered the Military Academy at West Point as a cadet from the State of Indiana.

1829. Graduated from West Point 35th in a class of 46. A fellow classmate was Robert E. Lee. Assigned to duty as second lieutenant at Fort Brady, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan Territory.

1832. Ordered to head a military escort for Henry Schoolcraft on an expedition to the Indians in the northwest regions of Michigan Territory. While on this expedition, Allen produced the first correct map showing the true relationships of the lakes and streams at the ultimate source of the Mississippi River. On the return journey, the military escort fell behind and suffered numerous hardships along the St. Croix and Brule Rivers. The text of Allen's journal is reproduced here, and his map of the St. Croix/Brule portage area is shown here as Map 4.1.

1833. Attached to the First Regiment of Dragoons near St. Louis.

1835. Transferred to Fort Leavenworth in Kansas and promoted to First Lieutenant. Served as an engineer in the exploration of the Indian country of the Southwest.

1837. Promoted to Captain and given command of Company I, First United States Dragoons.
1842. Assigned to supervise the Sac and Fox Agency (named "Fort Sanford" by Allen) near the present site of Ottumwa, Iowa.

1843. Established and commanded Fort Des Moines on the Des Moines River at the mouth of the Raccoon River. Fort was necessary to protect the Sac and Fox from continuous, aggressive intrusions by settlers, traders and the Sioux. The city of Des Moines was established on this site after the dissolution of Fort Des Moines in early 1846.

1846. In July, enlisted over 500 Mormon men in Council Bluffs, Iowa for an expedition to California to provide a reserve force in the Mexican War which became known as the "Mormon Battalion." This expedition was basically intended to facilitate the Mormons' westward migration. There is much on the web that tells of Allen's organization and command of the Mormon Battalion, and a Google search can be quite productive. A couple notable pages can be found here and here.

August 23, 1846. Allen, by now promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, died en route at Fort Leavenworth. Buried at Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery.

MORMON BATTALION

In July 1846, under the authority of U.S. Army Captain James Allen and with the encouragement of Mormon leader Brigham Young, the Mormon Battalion was mustered in at Council Bluffs, Iowa Territory. The battalion was the direct result of Brigham Young's correspondence on 26 January 1846 to Jesse C. Little, presiding elder over the New England and Middle States Mission. Young instructed Little to meet with national leaders in Washington, D.C., and to seek aid for the migrating Latter-day Saints, the majority of whom were then in the Iowa Territory. In response to Young's letter, Little journeyed to Washington, arriving on 21 May 1846, just eight days after Congress had declared war on Mexico.

Little met with President James K. Polk on 5 June 1846 and urged him to aid migrating Mormon pioneers by employing them to fortify and defend the West. The president offered to aid the pioneers by permitting them to raise a battalion of five hundred men, who were to join Colonel Stephen W. Kearny, Commander of the Army of the West, and fight for the United States in the Mexican War. Little accepted this offer.

Colonel Kearny designated Captain James Allen, later promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, to raise five companies of volunteer soldiers from the able-bodied men between the ages of eighteen and forty-five in the Mormon encampments in Iowa. On 26 June 1846 Allen arrived at the encampment of Mt. Pisgah. He was treated with suspicion as many believed that the raising of a battalion was a plot to bring trouble to the migrating Saints.

Allen journeyed from Mt. Pisgah to Council Bluffs, where on 1 July 1846 he allayed Mormon fears by giving permission for the Saints to encamp on United States lands if the Mormons would raise the desired battalion. Brigham Young accepted this, recognizing that the enlistment of the battalion was the first time the government had stretched forth its arm to aid the Mormons.


Captain James Allen was given the responsibility of recruiting the Mormons for service in the Mexican War. He had been a Captain in the U.S. Army since 1837, and had graduated from West Point Military Academy in 1829. He had accompanied Henry R. Schoolcraft in his 1832 expedition to find the headwaters of the Missouri Rivers. He had acquired considerable experience in Iowa Territory by the early 1840s and in 1842 was assigned to Ft. Atkinson in Iowa Territory to supervise the Sac and Fox Indian agency. In 1846 he was sent by Brigadier General Stephen Kearny, recently appointed Commander of the Army in the West, to meet with the Mormons. Thomas L. Kane had already hand delivered to him the instructions from President James K. Polk concerning the formation of the Mormon Battalion.

"Circular to the Mormons"
(Presented by Brigham Young and Captain James Allen on July 1, 1846 at Council Bluffs, Iowa)

"I have come among you, instructed by Col, S.F. Kearney of the U.S. Army, now commanding the Army of the West, to visit the Mormon camp, and to accept the service for twelve months of four or five companies of Mormon men who may be willing to serve their country for that period in our present war with Mexico; this force to unite with the Army of the West at Santa Fe, and be marched thence to California, where they will be discharged. "They will receive pay rations, and other allowances, such as other volunteers or regular soldiers receive, from the day they shall be mustered into the service. They will be entitled to all comforts and benefits of regular soldiers of the army. When discharged as contemplated, at California, they will be given gratis their arms and accoutrements for which they will be fully equipped at Fort Leavenworth. This is offered to the Mormon people now. This is an opportunity of sending a portion of their young and intelligent men to the ultimate destination of their whole people, and entirely at the expense of the United States, and this advanced party can thus pave the way and look out for the land for their brethren to come after them. "Those of the Mormons who are desirous of serving their country, on the conditions here enumerated, are requested to meet me with out delay at their principal camp at Council Bluffs, whither I am going to consult with their principal men, and to receive and organize the force contemplated to be raised. "I will receive all healthy, able-bodied men from eighteen to forty-five years of age."

J. Allen, Captain 1st Dragoons

James Allen wrote the letter of Mormon application to reside on Indian lands in Iowa. At Mt. Pisgah (Grand River) Union Co., Iowa, the Mormons were met by Captain James Allen, under the command of Colonel Stephen W. Kearny, commander of the U.S. Army of the West stationed at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He brought orders authorizing him to enlist 500 volunteers for a year, in a campaign to secure California in the war with Mexico. On July 20, 1846, the battalion started their march from Council Bluffs, Iowa, to Fort Leavenworth. At this time Captain Allen was promoted to Colonel and Kearny was promoted to General.

When the battalion reached Fort Leavenworth August 1st, there were 22 officers and 474 enlisted men for a total of 496. There were also 34 women and a number of children.

The Mormons found Allen easy to work with and Allen did his task well, but died on 23 August 1846.

Capt. Allen's Burial

Missouri Republican 31 August 1846

It is with sincere regret that I inform you of the death of Lt. Col ALLEN. He died this morning at 3 o'clock, of congestive fever, after an illness of ten days, in his 38th year of age.

He, you know, was Capt. of 1st Dragoons, and was deputed by Gen KEARNEY [sic], to muster into service of the United States, the Mormons as Infantry. Of this battalion, he was elected Lt. Colonel. He has endured great fatigue, and hardships, since his election, and his constitution, which was much impaired before, was unable to endure so much. His death has thrown a gloom over every thing at the Fort to day, and every face indicates sincere distress. I understand that he was a noble soldier, and, universally beloved by all who knew him. His battalion (which has been gone ten days) perfectly idolized him, and his death will be a severe blow to them. He was much attached to the soldiers in his command, had brought them under very superior discipline, and said before his death, that he had never commanded a finer, or more orderly company. Indeed every one here (ladies too) speak highly of this battalion.

Lieutenant Colonel ALLEN was without a family but he did not go to the tomb unwept. When he was a young lieutenant, a dying mother, who knew him, and appreciated to the kindness of his nature, placed under his charge, a little orphan daughter. This child he took, and rearing with all the tender affection of fond father, adopted her as his own, and gave her a fine education. She is now grown, the wife of one of the officers at this station. At her house he died, and from her he received the most constant and affectionate attention during his illness. His death deeply distressed her.

His faithful servant, Levi Wells, to whom he was much attached, and who has lived with him for years, hung over his body, and wrung his hands in an agony of grief.

He was buried this afternoon, at five o'clock, with military honors, by company A of the first Infantry, Lt. Wm E. Prince commanding. This company made a fine appearance on parade. The flag of the United States was folded and laid over his coffin, which was proceeded to the grave by the company of Lieut. Prince and, one of the finest bands of music I have ever heard, belonging to the first regiment of dragoons.

Capt. HOLT, Lieut. SMITH, Dr. SANDERSON, and Lieut BUCHANAN acted as his pallbearers. His body was conducted to a high bluff overlooking the broad Missouri , whose waters lave its base, and thence deposited forever.

In the procession immediately following his body, was his beautifully spotted horse, led by his servant, Wells, caparisoned as if for battle. His boots and spurs were at the stirrups, his sword hanging at the side of the horse, and his pistols, bare and of dazzling brightness, hanging at, the pommel of the saddle.

But alas, the hand that might have wielded that sword in glorious conflict with the enemies of his country, was powerless in death, and the voice that might have cheered on his victorious comrades upon some ensanguined battle-field, was silenced forever. "What shadows we are, [and] what shadows we pursue." [Edmund Burke")

Lieutenant Colonel Allen is the first officer who has died at Fort Leavenworth since its establishment, a period of nineteen years. This is a remarkable fact.



From Gen. George Cullum's Biographical Register (1891):

Born O JAMES ALLEN Ap'd Indiana, Military History Cadet at the Military Academy, July 1 1825, to July 1 1829, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to BVT SECOND LIEUT 5TH INFANTRY JULY 1 1829; SECOND LIEUT 5TH INFANTRY, JULY 1 1829. Served on frontier duty at Ft Brady, Michigan, 1829-33. SECOND LIEUT IST DRAGOONS, MAR. 4 1833, Dearborn, Ill., 1833-34, on Engineer duty Jan 10, 1834, to Oct 15; FIRST LIEUT IST DRAGOONS, MAY 31, 1835-1836, on frontier duty at Ft Leavenworth, Kan., 1837. CAPTAIN, IST DRAGOONS, JUNE 30. 1837. Frontier duty at Ft Leavenworth, 1839-42; Ft Gibson IT 1842; March to Ft Atkinson Io. 1842; Ft Sandford, Io 1842 Raccoon Fork, Io. 1843; Ft Des Moines, Io. 1843-44; Raccoon Fork, Io., 1844; Ft Des Moines, Io., 1844-45; Expedition to Lac Qui Parle 1845 and Ft Des Moines, Io. 1845-46 and in the War with Mexico, 1846 as Lient. Colonel commanding Mormon Battalion of Missouri Volunteers on the march to New Mexico July 16 to Aug 23 1846. DIED AUG 23 1846 AT FT LEAVENWORTH, KAN AGED 40.

* Mormon Battalion members
 
 
Inscription:
Lieutenant Colonel, Mormon Battalion, Missouri Volunteers, Indian War, Mexican War
 
Burial:
Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery
Fort Leavenworth
Leavenworth County
Kansas, USA
Plot: Secton A-OFF, site 289
 
Maintained by: Schott Family
Originally Created by: US Veterans Affairs Offi...
Record added: Feb 25, 2000
Find A Grave Memorial# 272165
LTC James Allen
Added by: Schott Family
 
LTC James Allen
Added by: SMG
 
LTC James Allen
Added by: John Sandercox
 
 
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What's the name of the orphan girl he adopted? Im trying to find my Allen relatives that lived in Leavenworth or adjacent county. Her name is Margaret Allen DOB not known. She gave up her child Iva Pearl Allen Ely Breneman 1888-1960 for adoption to George...(Read more)
- Jeff Cofran
 Added: Sep. 20, 2014

- Bradley
 Added: Mar. 2, 2014
The oldest known military grave is that of Captain James Allen, First... U S Dragoons, who died in August 1846. Rest in Peace.
- SMG
 Added: Sep. 8, 2011
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