Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 7.djvu/406

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Major-General William Wirt Allen was born at New York city in 1835. His father, Wade Allen, went from South Carolina to Alabama in 1818 and became a planter near Montgomery. His mother was a Miss Sayre, sister of Daniel Sayre, a prominent citizen of Montgomery county. With a preparatory education in the schools of his own city, young Allen entered Princeton college, New Jersey. After graduation he studied law, but with no view of practicing. He preferred the life of a planter, and in that employment was engaged when the South's call to arms aroused her sons from the seaboard to the mountains. The enthusiasm with which our people, from beardless youths to grayhaired sires, responded to that call has seldom, if ever, been equaled in the history of this world. Without the least hesitation young men of education and fortune marched and fought in the ranks by the side of the poor and ignorant, and were proud of the sacrifice thus made, submitting without complaint to the hardships of a soldier's life, and obeying without a tinge of shame the orders of men who at home were their companions, and, in some instances, their inferiors in social rank. Some of them, of course, were fortunate enough to be elected by their comrades to positions of command, but in the large armies brought into the field, the greater part were privates from first to last. Young Allen was one of the first to respond, and had the good fortune to be elected first lieutenant of the company of which General Clanton went out as captain. When the First Alabama cavalry was organized he was elected its major. This was some time after the company had enlisted, for many of the companies of cavalry at