Old South Military Antiques

Lieutenant Colonel's Palmetto Sword
Item #: OS-6837



James Henry Hallonquist was born on November 18, 1835, in Barnwell District, South Carolina. The young man entered the Citadel Academy on January 1, 1851, but resigned as a 2nd Classman in 1853 for financial reasons. The following year on July 1, 1854, He entered the United States Military Academy. On July 1, 1858 young Hallonquist graduated 6thin his class and was promoted to Brevet 2nd Lieutenant and posted at Fortress Monroe in Virginia.

In October, 1859, when the maniacal John Brown attacked Harper’s Ferry, Lieutenant Hallonquist was among the troops sent there to suppress the insurrection. He was the only Citadel alumnus to have participated in putting down Brown’s insurrection.

1860 found the young Lieutenant serving at Fort Randall, Dakota Territory. After taking a leave of absence, no doubt to assess the temperature of the country, he resigned from the army he loved on January 1, 1861. Having tendered his services to his native state, he was assigned to Company B, 1st South Carolina Artillery on March 16, 1861.

Now a Captain, James Hallonquist commanded the Enfilade Battery, which fired 1,825 rounds into Fort Sumter during the bombardment; he is also listed as having commanded Mortar Battery Number One, where he was commended in the papers for his excellent service and it was mentioned that he was covered in dirt thrown by a shell from Sumter, but was unharmed. In his report of the action, General P.G.T. Beauregard wrote: "I would also mention in the highest terms of praise Captains Calhoun and Hallonquist.” In the accompanying notes by author and collector William Albaugh, it is recorded that the State of South Carolina presented him with this sword, however I have been unable to verify this bit of information.

Following the fall of Sumter, he was mustered into Confederate service on May 24, 1861, and assigned to the 1st Regiment South Carolina Artillery. On July 26th, General P.G.T. Beauregard transferred the Captain to Pensacola, Florida for duty in the Ordnance Department. Here he was placed in command of a company of Georgians and turned defeat into victory at the victorious Battle of Santa Rosa Island. The October 16th, edition of the Charleston Mercury has full details, but here I quote a small part: "The fight then became general and the detachment under Capt. Hallonquist, armed only with Bowie knives and pistols stood their ground, cutting the enemy to pieces in a fearful manner.”

Four months later, on December 2, 1861, the Captain was acting Chief of Artillery for the District of Alabama, and on December 6, 1861, Hallonquist was promoted to Major, and was placed in command of the 2nd Alabama Artillery Battalion, stationed at Mobile Bay.

Major Hallonquist’s next fight was at the Battle of Shiloh, here he was Chief of Artillery to General Ruggles Division. He must have performed very well, for shortly afterwards, on April 15, 1862, he was assigned Chief of Artillery of the 2nd Corps, Army of Mississippi, then at Corinth, Mississippi. And May 8, 1862, found Major Hallonquist Chief of Artillery for the entire Army of Mississippi.

On July 2, 1862 Major Hallonquist was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and placed on detached service to General Bragg, where he was assigned as Inspector of Artillery on General Bragg’s staff. The Colonel is at Murfreesboro, Tennessee on December 1, 1862 serving as Chief of Artillery under General Bragg.

The following spring, on March 31, 1863, Colonel Hallonquist was at Tullahoma, Alabama, testing a bronze six pound gun, with different charges, elevations and differing ranges. Then we find that Colonel Hallonquist is at Chattanooga on July 31, 1863.

After the disaster at Missionary Ridge, on November 3, 1863, Lieutenant Colonel Hallonquist reports to Lieutenant Colonel Oladowski, Chief of Ordnance, Army of Tennessee that 38 guns had been lost in Hardee’s Corps alone and that he had not yet received a report from General Breckenridge’s Corps. He signs this report: Lieutenant Colonel & Chief of Artillery, Army of Tennessee, and on December 3, 1863 we find the Colonel writing to Colonel Oladowski, from Dalton, Georgia to inform him that he (Hallonquist) was reorganizing the artillery of the Army of Tennessee.

In 1864 he was on detached service to General Joseph E. Johnston where he served in the Atlanta Campaign from Dalton, Georgia to Atlanta; first as Lieutenant Colonel of Artillery to Lee’s Corps and then on July 24th, he was assigned to command the Artillery of Hood’s old corps.

Sent back to Mobile and the 2nd Alabama Artillery, he surrendered his command on May 4, 1865. The 2nd Alabama Artillery had fought at Fort Gaines, Fort Morgan, Spanish Fort, and Fort Blakely.

According to a newspaper account, Colonel Hallonquist received an appointment as Chief of Artillery by the Emperor of Mexico. His services with the Emperor are beyond my prevue, but sometime after Hallonquist relocated to Terrell, Texas where he taught school.

He was still a young man of forty-eight years when he killed himself on June 9, 1884 in Terrell, Texas, over the embarrassment of being unable to pay his debts. He rests today in the Kaufman, Texas Cemetery.

Ownership provenance is the all-important factor when assessing the sword of such a prominent Confederate, and in this case, it could not get any better. The Horstmann made sword first entered the collector’s market when it was sold by Hallonquist’s family to William Albaugh. The sword’s scabbard has the number 422 stamped into it, and the original signed and sealed bill of sale from the family to William Albaugh which describes the sword and lists it by number still accompanies the sword, and a copy of the letter written by Albaugh to the Colonel’s descendant dated April 19, 1979.

The sword has obviously seen extensive service, but it has not been altered or damaged in any way, and remains just as it was when Colonel James Henry Hallonquist last sheathed it.

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