IMG_6303IMG_6305IMG_6306IMG_6307Trunk with Personal Belongings of Lt. Pickering D. Allen, Co. L, 3rd Mass. Vol. Cavalry, KIAIMG_6311IMG_6312IMG_6313IMG_6314IMG_6315IMG_6316IMG_6317IMG_6318IMG_6319IMG_6320IMG_6321IMG_6322IMG_6323IMG_6324IMG_6326IMG_6327IMG_6329IMG_6330IMG_6331IMG_6332IMG_6334Screen Shot 2019-12-28 at 11.01.07 AMScreen Shot 2019-12-28 at 11.01.43 AMScreen Shot 2019-12-28 at 11.02.05 AM

Trunk with Personal Belongings of Lt. Pickering D. Allen, Co. L, 3rd Mass. Vol. Cavalry, KIA


Trunk with Personal Belongings of Lt. Pickering D. Allen, Co. L, 3rd Mass. Vol. Cavalry, KIA – A fine example of a Civil War officer’s traveling trunk, with the original owner’s name, rank and regiment stenciled on the top of the trunk. The trunk is a typical small, traveling trunk of the period (dimensions: L – 18” W- 10” D – 7”) constructed of a light wood, covered with black painted canvas, with decorative brass tacks and a top side handle. The trunk’s interior is lined in a floral pattern, wallpaper. The trunk retains its original lock and is in overall very good condition. As found in trunk is a large grouping of Allen’s personal belongings, carried and owned by him, during his service, until he was killed in action, June 2, 1863, at Brashear City, Louisiana. The group of items include the following: Allen’s Smith & Wesson Number 2 Army revolver, serial number 13891 (Civil War period production); a CDV of Lt. Allen, labeled below the image in period ink – “Lieut. Pickering D. Allen / Killed in Gunboat near New Orleans / June 2d, 1863”; a primitive picket pin; a Bible inscribed to Allen; Allen’s 2nd Lt., Smith’s patent style, cavalry officer rank straps; Allen’s  cavalry officer style, faux embroidered, sheet brass, hat insignia (crossed sabers): bone tooth brush; lap desk with Allen’s initials penciled on the underside of the writing surface; carved figural bowl pipe; grooming kit; “doughnut” type brass candle sticks; 3 patriotic envelopes and scrap stationery; tin containing several rounds of .32 cal. Smith and Wesson pistol cartridges; tin soap container with lye soap; japanned container with period collapsible pewter cup; period shaving brush; candle wick trimmer; field telescope; box of full set of bone and ebony dominoes; housewife; Allen’s wallet with his name scratched into it; 1/9 plate cased tintype with the image of an attractive young woman; a letter on patriotic stationery accompanied by a patriotic cover, addressed to “Mr. and Mrs. Allen”  – the letter was written by a comrade and friend of Allen’s in the 3rd Mass. Cavalry (Amos Henfield – his record of service included below) and written to Allen’s parents,  after his death – this is an extremely heart rending and poignant letter, mentioning Henfield’s endearing friendship with Lt. Allen, stating that he can hardly believe that his friend is gone; he mentions how much Allen missed “Libby” (apparent girl friend) , as well as closing his missive by stating he felt it his duty to send their son’s trunk with his personal belongings, back home. This is truly one of the best personal groupings we have had, and Lt. Allen’s comrade’s letter to his grieving parents highlights the overwhelming tragedy that encompassed so many Civil War period Americans.

The Smith & Wesson revolver is in very good condition with a substantial amount of its original bluing still intact; some of the other items have wear from use, but remain in overall good condition.


Transcription of Letter Written by Miles Henfield, 3rd Mass. Cavalry to Lt. Allen’s Parents:


Mr. and Mrs. Allen

I can only say the sadness I felt when hearing of the loss of your son Pickering. He was my friend. We had many good times together and I do have the fondest thoughts.

On occasion when we camped near, he would sometimes talk of home and how lucky he was to have such loving (sic) parents. He would hold the picture of Libby and say how much he missed her and home

His pride and devotion to duty and the love of his country was always on his mind. The indignities and horror of war he felt were not Gods (sic) will. I cannot bring myself to believe he is gone. I share the grief and with you all and I do not know how Libby will get along without him.

You must have been so proud of him.

I felt it my duty to send his trunk of personal things home with him.



Amos Henfield”


2nd Lt. Pickering D. Allen, Company L, 3rd Mass. Vol  - Civil War Union cavalry officer, aide-de-camp, U.S. Volunteers. Killed in action at Brashear City, now Morgan City, Louisiana, aged 25 years, 13 days. He was the son of J.F. and Lucy Dodge Allen. He enlisted October 27, 1861, and was immediately authorized to raise 30 men for the cavalry under General Benjamin Butler. He was commissioned lieutenant of 1st Unattached Cavalry and on February 20, 1862, was made aid-de-camp on General Godfrey Weitzel’s staff. Note the enumeration of Allen’s death listed below, that we found while completing additional research (this may explain why the CDV notation indicates he died on board a gunboat). We cannot find why the death description mentions the term “imprisonment”.

Amos Henfield
Residence Salem MA; a 43 year-old Wheelwright.  Enlisted on 7/5/1861 as a Sergt Major.  On 7/5/1861 he mustered into Field & Staff MA 1st Heavy Artillery  He was discharged for promotion on 10/4/1862  On 10/27/1862 he was commissioned into “F” Co. MA 3rd Cavalry  He was discharged for disability on 7/12/1864   Promotions: * 2nd Lieut 10/4/1862 (As of Co. F 3rd MA Cav) * Capt 2/21/1863    Other Information: Member of GAR Post # 34 (Phillip H. Sheridan) in Salem, MA died 12/19/1895  After the War he lived in Salem, MA


Lieut Pickering Dodge Allen

BIRTH 20 May 1838Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA
DEATH 2 Jun 1863 (aged 25)Morgan City, St. Mary Parish, Louisiana, USA
BURIAL Harmony Grove CemeterySalem, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA
PLOT 960 Beech Path



  Lieut Pickering Dodge Allen


BIRTH 20 May 1838Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA
DEATH 2 Jun 1863 (aged 25)Morgan City, St. Mary Parish, Louisiana, USA
BURIAL Harmony Grove CemeterySalem, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA
PLOT 960 Beech Path

Lucy Pickering Dodge Allen

BIRTH 17 Mar 1810Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA
DEATH 6 Aug 1840 (aged 30)Richmond, Richmond City, Virginia, USA
BURIAL Harmony Grove CemeterySalem, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA
PLOT 960 Beech Path

John Fiske Allen


14 Jul 1807

Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA


18 Oct 1876 (aged 69)

Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA


Harmony Grove Cemetery

Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA


960 Beech Path

Morgan City, Louisiana

Morgan City is a city in St. Mary Parish in the U.S. State of Louisiana. The population was 12,404 at the 2010 census.

Morgan City sits on the banks of the Atchafalaya River. The town was originally named “Tiger Island” by surveyors appointed by U.S. Secretary of War John Calhoun, because of a particular type of wild cat seen in the area. It was later changed for a time to “Brashear City,” named after Walter Brashear, a prominent Kentucky physician who had purchased large tracts of land and acquired numerous sugar mills in the area. It was incorporated in 1860.


Capture of Brashear City

During the American Civil War, the Star Fort of Fort Brashear was the larger of two works erected by the Union Army occupying the city to defend a Federal military depot and the town. During the Bayou Teche Campaign, on the night of June 22, 1863, 325 Confederates of Gen. A. A. Mouton’s command, led by Major Sherod Hunter, landed their skiffs and flats in the rear of the town. Attacking the next day, they surprised and captured the city, taking 1,300 Union prisoners, 11 heavy siege guns, 2,500 stands of rifles, immense quantities of quartermaster, commissary and ordnance stores. They also captured 2,000 African Americans, between 200 and 300 wagons and tents, all while suffering losses of only 3 killed, 18 wounded.

The Battle of Brashear City

June 23, 1863 in Brashear City, Louisiana

Union Forces Commanded by:










Confederate Forces Commanded by:
Maj. Gen. Richard Taylor









**Missing and Captured
Conclusion: Confederate Victory



The only remaining Confederate strongholds on the Mississippi were at Vicksburg and Port Hudson.  Port Hudson, approximately 20 miles north of Baton Rouge, had been invested by Union forces under command of Maj. Gen. Nathaniel Banks since May 22, 1863.   The longest military siege on the North American continent had begun.  If Port Hudson fell to the Federals, total Union control of the River would be one step closer to reality.
In order to divert Union attention away from Port Hudson, Maj. Gen. Richard Taylor planned an offensive into the Lafourche district. The district, which included the parishes southwest of New Orleans and south of the Mississippi, had been occupied by Union forces since late October, 1862.  Many of the Union troops had been diverted to Port Hudson in May, 1863 when the siege of that Confederate strong-hold began.  If Taylor could reoccupy the Lafourche district, he could then threaten New Orleans and force Banks to divert his army at Port Hudson, in order to protect the Union occupied Crescent City.
Taylor’s plans called for a 2- prong invasion of the Lafourche district.  His primary mission was to seize control of Brashear City (present day Morgan City), and the capture of the large military stores within the village.  With that accomplished, Taylor could then threaten New Orleans.
Brig. Gen. Alfred Mouton, with Taylor, attacked and captured the Union garrison at Brashear City on June 24th, by way of the Teche Country.  To cut off the Union retreat, Col. James P. Major, leading an all Texas cavalry brigade traveled down the west bank of the Mississippi to Donaldsonville.  He then traveled down Bayou Lafourche to Thibodaux where a small Union garrison was captured on June 20th.
To occupy the Union’s attention away form Brashear City, a detachment of Texas Cavalry from Major’s brigade attacked a Union position at Lafourche Crossing on June 21-22.  The battle ended in a Union victory, but it served the Confederate purpose by keeping Union forces from reinforcing Brashear City.
The Confederates successfully captured Brashear City from the small Union garrison. Along with the town, they also captured approximately $2 million of Union supplies.

The following Battle Report comes from the Official Records of the Battle of Brashear:

Report of Maj. Sherod Hunter, Baylor’s (Texas) Cavalry, commanding Mosquito Fleet, of the capture of Brashear City.

BRASHEAR CITY, June 26, 1863

GENERAL: I have the honor to report to you the result of the expedition placed under my command by your order June 20. In obedience to your order, I embarked my command, 325 strong, on the evening of June 22, at the mouth of Bayou Teche, in forty-eight skiffs and flats, collected for that purpose. Proceeding up the Atchafalaya into Grand Lake, I halted, and muffled oars and again struck, and, after a steady pull of about eight hours, reached the shore in the rear of Brashear City. Here, owing to the swampy nature of the country, we were delayed some time in finding a landing place; but at length succeeded, and about sunrise commenced to disembark my troops, the men wading out in water from 2 to 3 feet deep to the shore, shoving their boats into deep water as they left them. Thus cutting off all means of retreat, we could only fight and win. We were again delayed here a short time in finding a road, but succeeded at length in finding a trail that led us by a circuitous route through a palmetto swamp, some 2 miles across, through which I could only move in single file. About 5:30 we reached open ground in the rear of and in full view of Brashear City, about 800 yards distant. I here halted the command, and, after resting a few minutes, again moved on, under cover of a skirt of timber, until within 400 yards of the enemy’s position, where I formed my men in order of battle. Finding myself discovered by the enemy, I determined to charge a once , and dividing my command into two columns, ordered the left (composed of Captains [J.P.] Clough, of [Thomas] Green’s regiment, [Fifth Texas Cavalry]; [W. A.] McDade, of Waller’s battalion; [J.T.] Hamilton, of [L.C.] Roundtree’s battalion, and [J.D.] Blair, of Second Louisiana Cavalry) to charge the fort and camp below and to the left of the depot, and the right (composed of Captains [James H.] Price, [D. C.] Carrington, and [R.P.] Boyce, all of [G.W.] Baylor’s Texas cavalry) to charge the fort and the sugar-house above and on the right of the depot; both columns to concentrate at the railroad buildings, at which point the enemy were posted in force and under good cover, each column having nearly the same distance to move, and would arrive simultaneously at the point of concentration. Everything being in readiness, the command was given, and the troops moved on with a yell. Being in full view, we were subjected to a heavy fire from the forts above and below, the gun at the sugar-house, and the gunboats below town, but, owing to the rapidity of our movements, it had but little effect. The forts made but a feeble resistance, and each column pressed on to the point of concentration, carrying everything before them. At the depot the fighting was severe, but of short duration, the enemy surrendering the town. My loss is 3 killed and 18 wounded; that of the enemy, 46 killed, 40 wounded, and about 1,300 prisoners. We have captured eleven 24 and 32 pounder siege guns; 2500 stand of small-arms (Enfield and Burnside rifles), and immense quantities of quartermaster’s, commissary, and ordnance stores, some 2,000 negroes, and between 200 and 300 wagons and tents. I cannot speak too highly of the gallantry and good conduct of the officers and men under my command. All did their whole duty, and deserve alike equal credit from our country for our glorious and signal victory. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

SHEROD HUNTER, Major, Baylor’s (Texas) Cavalry, Commanding Mosquito Fleet. Brig. Gen. Alfred Mouton, Commanding South Red River