From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall
Allen Byrens '47

Date of birth: ~1822

Date of death: February 14, 1860

Age: 38


Allen died at "Hospital, Warrington, Florida" on February 14, 1860 of consumption (per The Clarke County Democrat on February 23, 1860). He was 38 years old.

He is buried in Florida.

He was born in, and appointed to the Naval Academy from, Ohio.

From researcher Kathy Franz:

In August 1850, Allen was on the Vandalia in Valparaiso when Commander W. H. Gardner ordered him back to New York per the surgeon’s recommendation. He took the steamer New Orleans for Panama. Although he missed the steamer to New York from Chagres, he took one to New Orleans arriving in October. In early 1851, he was unable for sea service, but he did serve for a short time on the St. Lawrence. However, he needed to be detached again by October.

In 1854 he lived in New York City at Le Roy Place on Bleecker Street, between Greene and Mercer, and feeling better, he was ordered to the Independence. However, again he became ill and wrote the Navy it would be fatal for him to go to the Pacific again. In 1855, he was on the Dolphin assigned to patrol and suppress the slave trade in Africa.

Of note, Allen always signed his letters with his initials A.T.

A naval court of inquiry met in early November 1857 regarding Allen’s health. For the Government: Lieutenants Otway H. Berryman and T. Harman Patterson; Drs. Benjamin Tinslar, Philip Lansdale, and E. F. Drayton. For the defense: Passed Assistant Surgeon Robert Carter, Captains William H. Gardner and R. B. Cunningham, ex-Lieutenant A. C. Rhind, Lieutenant Stephen Luce, Mr. Abercrombie, Rev. Mr. Pyne, P. B. Key, Esq., Joseph C. Berrett, Esq., and Mr. T. M. Blount was Allen’s counsel.

Allen was on board the Saratoga in mid-1859 when she was in Vera Cruz, Mexico. The newspaper had a naval dispatch from September 24 that the crew was ill and that Allen had lost his eyesight. When Commander Thomas Turner returned to Pensacola, he wrote that he needed 3-4 weeks to repair the ship and for the crew to get well. They had suffered from chills, fever, boils, and cutaneous diseases from the heat. When they sailed on November 18, Allen needed to be left behind at the Warrenton Hospital, but he hoped to join the ship again at New Orleans. Much of the crew had deserted for higher wages elsewhere, and the Saratoga would get another crew at New Orleans.


From the Naval History and Heritage Command:

Midshipman, 26 February, 1841. Passed Midshipman, 10 August, 1847. Dropped 13 September, 1855. Lieutenant, 15 September, 1855. Died 14 February, 1860.

In 1842 he wrote the Secretary of the Navy and requested orders to Constitution. He was denied.

He completed a voyage in the schooner Onkahye in March 1848.

His journal is in the collection of the University of Michigan:

The A. T. Byrens journal, dating from December 1844 to August 1845, regards the voyage of the US Sloop Jamestown from Norfolk, Virginia, to Africa and its subsequent patrol of the West African coast (under the command of Robert B. Cunningham).

The journal includes a list of the officers assigned for the voyage and the US Sloop Jamestown 's dimensions. Byrens documented the daily activities of the crew, weather, visits from naval figures, and arrivals of various ships while they waited to depart Norfolk. They went to sea January 26, 1845, and Byrens commenced a sea log, recording weather, sailing details, and meteorological and navigational data. They harbored at Porto Praya, Cape Verde, on February 17 to resupply, and Commodore Matthew C. Perry (1794-1858) visited the ship before they continued on to Cape Mesurado.

On March 3, a group of Krumen served on the coast at Cape Mesurado and Commander Cunningham debarked to visit the "Governor of Monrovia," likely Joseph Jenkins Roberts (1809-1876). Stopping at Cape Palmas on March 14, Governor John Brown Russworm (1799-1851) and a "Chief of the Native Tribes on the cape" visited the Jamestown. Byrens recorded other African political figures' visits to the ship, including King Freeman when they stopped at Half Cavalley, Governor Roberts when they returned to Mesurado, and an unnamed "Governor of the Island" when they harbored at Porto Grande.

Throughout the journal, Byrens documented the places the ship harbored, including Porto Praya, Funchal, Palmas, and Porto Grande. As the Jamestown sailed along the African coast, Byrens also noted American, British, French, Danish, Spanish, and Portuguese vessels, and Africans travelling in canoes up to the ship. He made references to the punishment of crew members and the transfer of several Krumen to his ship, mentioning the later death of one of their number, "Jack Musquito." Byrens also recorded that the Jamestown fired "minuit guns as a tribute of respect to the memory of Andrew Jackson Ex President of the United States who died at his residence in Tennessee" (August 11, 1845). The journal closes with references to a court martial aboard the US Ship Yorktown at Porto Grande before Byrens, ill, was sent back to America.

Navy Directories & Officer Registers

The "Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps" was published annually from 1815 through at least the 1970s; it provided rank, command or station, and occasionally billet until the beginning of World War II when command/station was no longer included. Scanned copies were reviewed and data entered from the mid-1840s through 1922, when more-frequent Navy Directories were available.

The Navy Directory was a publication that provided information on the command, billet, and rank of every active and retired naval officer. Single editions have been found online from January 1915 and March 1918, and then from three to six editions per year from 1923 through 1940; the final edition is from April 1941.

The entries in both series of documents are sometimes cryptic and confusing. They are often inconsistent, even within an edition, with the name of commands; this is especially true for aviation squadrons in the 1920s and early 1930s.

Alumni listed at the same command may or may not have had significant interactions; they could have shared a stateroom or workspace, stood many hours of watch together… or, especially at the larger commands, they might not have known each other at all. The information provides the opportunity to draw connections that are otherwise invisible, though, and gives a fuller view of the professional experiences of these alumni in Memorial Hall.

September 1842
Midshipman, Sloop Marion
January 1843
Midshipman, waiting orders
October 1843
Midshipman, waiting orders, Norfolk
January 1844
Midshipman, waiting orders, (invalid.)
January 1847
Midshipman, Sloop Dale
January 1848
Midshipman, Schooner Onkahye
January 1849
Midshipman, Naval School

January 1850
Passed Midshipman, Sloop Vandalia
January 1851
Passed Midshipman, waiting orders
January 1852
Passed Midshipman, waiting orders
January 1853
Passed Midshipman, waiting orders
January 1854
Passed Midshipman, furloughed
January 1855
Passed Midshipman, furloughed
January 1856
dropped, on act of Congress, September 13, 1855
January 1860
Lieutenant, Sloop Saratoga

Memorial Hall Error

Illness is not a criteria for inclusion in Memorial Hall.

Class of 1847

Allen is one of 32 members of the Class of 1847 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

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