United States Army Officer. A graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, Class of 1831, he was posted as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 4th United States Infantry. After serving in the Seminole Wars and as an instructor at West Point, he was detailed as an Aide-de-camp to Major General Winfield Scott. His tenure as a staff officer began on September 3, 1840, and ended on June 14, 1842, when he was promoted to Captain and sent back to his regiment for duty in the field. After service commanding his detachment of the 4th Infantry in Texas for three years, he was assigned back to West Point as the Commandant of Cadets, upon the endorsement of General Scott. He served in that duty from December 14, 1845 to November 1, 1852, during which time 263 cadets were graduated that would go on to become Generals during the Civil War (the include such figures as Union Generals George B. McClellan, John Buford, Gouverneur K. Warren and John Gibbon, and Confederate Generals Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, Henry Heth, George E. Pickett and Charles W. Field). Sent to the Pacific Coast in 1853, he was given command of Fort Jones, located in Northern California. When Indians along the Rogue River in southeastern Oregon threatened an uprising, Captain Alden led an expedition of his Regular troops plus an regiment of volunteers the from local populace (who elected him "Colonel" even though that rank was unofficial and honorary). In severe fighting on August 24, 1853 at the Rogue River, his command defeated the Indians, but he received a gunshot wound through the shoulder that permanently disabled him, and forced him to resign on September 24, 1853, a month later. His post-military career included travels in Europe, and was one of the first men to drill for oil in the fields of western Pennsylvania in the late 1850s. During the Civil War his great desire to serve was thwarted by his disability, and efforts to raise a regiment of volunteers and to serve as a staff officer both were unsuccessful due to his injuries. He eventually succumbed to his wounds on September 10, 1870 at Newport, Rhode Island.