David Allen was an ordinary man of his times. His life was extraordinary by our standards. Born in Clinton County Indiana on March 15, 1843, Allen was 18 when he enlisted in the 10th Indiana Infantry at the beginning of The Civil War. He served through the three-month call-up and then reenlisted for the duration in the same regiment.
Allen served as an aide-de camp to Generals Steadman, Scoefield, and Brannon. He was severely wounded at Chickamauga as a second lieutenant of Company C, 10th Indiana.
The next 30 years saw Allen succeed in business; he helped found a bank and a railroad. He dabbled in politics. When the War with Spain loomed he began organizing the men of Clinton County. They formed a militia and then got themselves assigned to the 2nd Regiment, Indiana National Guard. When the telegram was sent from President McKinley calling out the National Guard, Allen was ready; his men jumped aboard the Monon train to Indianapolis by 6:00 am, arriving at Camp Morton (the current State Fairgrounds) before anyone else. The men climbed the fence and were setting up their tents when the Colonel of the 2nd, Harry Smith, arrived. The Unit was mustered into US service as the 158th Indiana Volunteer Regiment. Allen was named captain of Company C. The troops were sent to Camp Thomas at Chickamauga. The 158th were slated for the invasion of Puerto Rico, but scrubbed at the last minute. The troops mustered out and went home when the Spanish surrendered.
Less than a year later, as the Philippine Insurrection continued, Allen led 200 men from his native county to Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis. There he was told that the long-standing practice of forming regiments and companies from geographical areas was being abandoned. Allen was livid, he made a nuisance of himself until a company of his contingent was mustered as Company I 38th US Volunteers. This was the last time a company would be formed from local men. Those from AllenÂs group of more than 200 men enlisted in other regiments or companies. Many were sent to China to quell the Boxer Rebellion.
Allen and the 38th Infantry saw significant action in the Philippines. They fought several actions around Batangas Province, and battledinsurgentss andguerrillass. Allen and the rest returned in 1901. Major Allen died in 1911, a veteran of three wars. David F. Allen of Frankfort, Clinton County, Indiana was a true hero.
My great-grandfather, whose portrait in his Span Am uniform graces the wall of my office, was one of the men who traveled with Allen to St. Louis and served in Company I, 38th United States Volunteer Infantry.