Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Robert Allen was born in West Point, Columbiana, Ohio March 15th 1811. After a public education, he received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he graduated in 1836. Allen was assigned to garrison duty in the 2nd United States Artillery. He saw his first combat at the Battle of Cerro Gordo during the Mexican American War. Allen received a brevet to Major for his actions during this battle. Following the war he transferred to the Quartermaster’s Corps, and was asigned to be the chief quartermaster for the Department of the Pacific.
Allen was promoted to Colonel at the beginning of the Civil War and made the chief quartermaster of the Department of the Missouri. His abilities soon saw him promoted to chief quartermaster of the entire Mississippi Valley. Allen made his headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky. He secured railcars from Northern railroads, ferried them across the Ohio River for use in transporting food and supplies to the Union army, using railways formerly held by the Confederates. His grasp of logistics ensured the Union Army was better fed and equipped then the Confederate Army. He was in charge of the supplies that went to General Ulysses Grant at Vicksburg, and Major General William Tecumseh Sherman’s Atlanta campaign. Allen was promoted the Brigadier General and ranked only under Quartermaster General Montgomery C Meigs. He received a brevet to Major General in March 1865.
Allen stayed in the Untied State Army following the end of the war. He retired in 1878. Allen was traveling in Europe when he died August 5th 1886. He is buried in the Chene - Bougeries Cemetery in Geneva, Switzerland.