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William Henry Allen
Lieutenant William Henry Allen, USN
Born (1784-10-21)October 21, 1784
Died August 18, 1813(1813-08-18) (aged 28)
Place of birth Providence, Rhode Island
Place of death Plymouth, England
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1800–1813
Rank Lieutenant
Commands held USS Argus (1803)

William Henry Allen (21 October 1784 – 18 August 1813) was an American naval officer during the War of 1812.

Early life

Allen was born in Providence, Rhode Island and was appointed a midshipman in the United States Navy on 28 April 1800. Between 1800 and 1807, he served successively in George Washington and Philadelphia. In 1807, he transferred to Chesapeake and, on 21 June, participated in the Chesapeake-Leopard Affair. Allen was credited with firing the only gun discharged in her own defense by the American ship.

His father, William Allen, on the breaking out of the American Revolution, was appointed a first lieutenant in the army. He continued in the army until the restoration of peace, and commanded the Rhode Island line of troops at the battle of Saratoga, when he was advanced to the rank of major. William Allen was present and actively engaged in most of the battles which were fought during our revolutionary war; and in 1786, was appointed by Congress, senior officer of the legionary corps raised in Rhode Island. In the year 1799, he was appointed by the legislature of that State, brigadier general of militia. The mother of William Henry Allen, was the sister of the (October 1843) Governor of Rhode Island.[1]

War of 1812

By 1812, he was first lieutenant in United States and took part in the engagement with HMS Macedonian. At the conclusion of that capture, he was named to command the prize crew which took Macedonian into New York.

In 1813, he took command of the brig Argus. On 14 August, he led his ship in the engagement with HMS Pelican during which he received mortal wounds. A round shot cut off his right leg, but he remained at his station until he fainted from blood loss. After Argus' surrender, Allen was taken to the hospital at Plymouth's Millbay Prison where he died on 18 August 1813. Allen was buried with full military honors in the churchyard of St Andrew's, Plymouth, England.[2]


  • Various ships USS Allen
  • Allen Street in Manhattan, New York City[3]


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.
 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Naval History & Heritage Command.
  1. Frost, John, LL.D., "The Pictorial Book Of The Commodores; Comprising Lives Of Distinguished Commanders In The Navy Of The United States." Nafis & Cornish, New York, 1845. p. 247
  2. Roosevelt, Theodore: The Naval War of 1812; G. P. Putnam's Sons [1882] Naval Institute Press [1987]:
    ISBN 0-87021-445-4: pp. 125–126; 198-200; 203; 399.
  3. Moscow, Henry: The Street Book; Fordham University Press 1978: ISBN 0-8232-1275-0 p. 22.

External links

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