Are Houses Associated With Washington's Civil War Era Heroes In Harm's Way?
If General Harrison Allen had awakened this morning, he might have imagined himself bivouacked on the battlefield beneath rippling fabric. For the past year, the General's long-vacant home at 1017 K Street NW was been shrouded by a high-tech fabric billboard.
Pennsylvania-born Harrison Allen was one of the Union' Army's "young guns". While in his mid-twenties he helped raise the 10th Pennsylvania Reserves, for whom he served as Major. He was then elected Colonel and commander of the 151st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, whom he led at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville.
Colonel Allen, who had been on furlough, rejoined the 151st Volunteers on the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg and helped pursue Lee back to Virginia. Mustered out in 1863, he was retroactively promoted to Brigadier General, United States Volunteers for "faithful and meritorious services" in 1865.
After the war, General Allen entered politics, serving as a delegate to the 1868 Republican Convention, Pennsylvania State Auditor General, and State Senator. In 1882 he was appointed United States Marshal for the Dakota Territory, where he remained active in Republican politics while pursuing stage coach robbers and horse thieves.
In 1889, the Dakotas became states, and Benjamin Harrison, a champion of the Civil War veteran, occupied the White House with the powerful backing of Pennsylvania Republican boss Matthew Quay. General Allen came to Washington in search of a national role. Although the General was still "a splendid looking swarthy man of fine physique" with "a mass of grey black hair roll[ing] over his coat collar", this chapter of his political career proved frustrating.
After an unsuccessful attempt to win the Republican nomination for governor, General Allen was mentioned in connection with a North Dakota Senate seat. However, his candidacy was not universally embraced. The Philadelphia Record cited General Allen by name when it remarked that "a new state could make no worse beginning than by sending to Congress worn-out hacks who have gone to the Territories because there was no room for them in the states".
In the end, Republicans Lyman Casey and Gilbert Pierce became North Dakota's first senators, to what must have been the general's vast disappointment.