Edgar Allan Poe was a West Point cadet. Edgar joined the US Army under the name Edgar A. Perry in May 1827.
Edgar is the detective in the Netflix mystery film The Pale Blue Eye. He claimed fake age of 22 years old but was 18 when he joined the US Army.
Poe appears as one of the characters in a new movie named The Pale Blue Eyes. The novel of the same name inspires the mystery thriller. Louis Bayard wrote it in 2003.
The film premiered in a few selected cinemas on December 23, 2022, before it was released on Netflix on January 6, 2023. It features Christian Bale and Harry Melling as Landor and Poe, respectively.
Some viewers are curious about Poe's actual career and life because of how he is portrayed in the movie. Some wonder if he was a detective in real life.
Was Edgar Allan Poe A West Point Cadet?
Edgar Allan Poe was a West Point Cadet after joining US Army in 1827. Edgar used the name Edgar A. Perry and claimed his age to be 22 but he was 18.
Poe had to lie because he was suffering financially. His relationship with his foster father, John Allan, severed over his gambling debts, and he had to live off working as a clerk and newspaper writer while using the pseudonym Henri Le Rennet.
Since he could not support himself, he enrolled in the US Army by lying about his age and using a fake name. He worked at Fort Independence in Boston Harbor, but his regiment was posted to Fort Moultrie in Charleston, South Carolina, within a few months. He was promoted to "artificer," an enlisted artisan who made artillery projectiles.
After two years of service, he was promoted to Sergeant Major for Artillery. Still, he decided to discharge himself from his five-year enlistment early to get a spot at the military academy at West Point.
He talked to his commanding officer, Lieutenant Howard, about the discharge and even revealed the situation that made him lie about his name and age. While the officer understood his position, he asked Poe to reconcile with his foster father if he wanted to get an early discharge.
While Allan ignored his request for several months, his heart may have softened when Edgar visited him the day after his wife's burial as he agreed to support him in the discharge.
With his foster father's help, he received an early discharge and traveled to West Point. He enrolled as a cadet on July 1, 1830, but he continued the service for a short time.
As mentioned in National Archives, he purposely decided to be court-martialed. He was found guilty of neglect of duty and disobedience of commands because he skipped formations, classes, and church.
However, he pleaded not guilty to induce dismissal and left New York after quitting the military. He chose to continue his career as a writer after leaving the military.
Edgar Teams Up With A Detective In The Pale Blue Eyes
The Pale Blue Eyes tells the story of veteran detective Augustus Landor. In 1830, he was called by the United States Military academy officials in West Point, New York, to investigate a series of murders. He takes the help of Edgar, a young military cadet, to solve the mystery.
Edgar, who is a military cadet teaming up with Augustus to investigate a murder in the academy in the movie, is inspired by a character that exists in real life. So Edgar Allan was indeed a West Point cadet.
However, he is not a detective, as seen in the movie. Instead, Poe was one of the inventors of the detective fiction genre. His detective works included The Mystery of Marie Roget, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, and The Purloined Letter.
Poe's early detective fiction tales featured C. Auguste Dupin, laying the groundwork for future literary detectives. As mentioned in his Wikipedia, British writer Arthur Conan Doyle said that Poe's every work is a root that helped to develop the whole literature and breathed life into the detective story.
In Louis Bayard's work, he features a detective himself working with Augustus. And the director of the movie, Scott Cooper, shared on Netflix's Tudum platform how he was introduced to Poe's works at an early age and how he was fascinated by them. Before his directorial debut, his father told him about the novel with Edgar as the story's center.