Hard to believe that Edgar Allen Poe, author of “The Pit and the Pendulum, The Tell-Tale Heart” and other horror stories, went to the United States Military Academy at West Point, an institution absent from any of the top party schools.
Poe wanted out of West Point, and in 1831, he succeeded. The rumor is that the final straw came when he reported for drill wearing his cartridge belt, a smile and nothing else!
As Naked As A Jaybird! In my words!
But is this actually true?
Poe’s time at West Point (July 1830 to February 1831) was “short and tumultuous,” according to, “Edgar Allen Poe: The Army Years,” a publication from West Point’s library.
“He had emotional and personal problems, such as his constant need for funds and a lack of time to devote to his poetry. His cadetship was not cut short because of any deficiency in military aptitude, the library publication said.
But there are no records of Poe ever showing up for drill naked. Instead, he was court-martialed after he stopped going to class, parade, roll calls and the chapel in January 1831.
He was then dismissed in February.
The earliest references to Poe pulling “The Fully Monty” while on parade date back to the 1920s, said Christopher Semtner, curator of The Edgar Allen Poe Museum in Richmond, Va.
In reality, Poe’s meltdown was triggered in part by his strained relationship with his foster father, John Allen, who had remarried and cut him out of any family inheritance, Semtner said in an e-mail. Things finally came to a head when one of his outstanding debts came to haunt him.
The true story about why Edgar Allen Poe left West Point is sad and short, like his life, but the legend of him appearing
Naked As A Jaybird?
Will it ever die?