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Henry Hallowell - Civil War Marine


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"GREETINGS & SALUTATIONS!" Here is a 1919 black & white photograph showing Captain S.H.R. Doyle, United States Navy is seen here with Sergeant Halloway, U.S.M.C., retired. The Marine sergeant shows 15 hashmarks, 60 years service? It was said he served in the U.S. Civil War through the First World War. You can see a Civil War Campaign Medal on his chest! thumbsup.gif Sarge Booker of Tujunga, California (hhbooker2@yahoo.com)

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Herbert Booker

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I think one of the forum members posted a copy of this image and if I remember correctly, provided interesting information that this man was a Civil War vet but deserted during the war...he later resurfaced during WWI-the 1920's and was initially treated as a celeb until his record caught up with him and he was exposed. I think a copy of this image was recently sold on ebay.

Always looking for items associated with the China Marines! Visit chinamarine.org

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He sure looks old enough to have served for 60 years (but I don't see much gray in his moustache)! It is a great photo!

 

USMC RECON, NOT INFRINGED, and DIRK: Ever heard of black hair dye being used to colour a grey or white mustache? It would have been something had he quit the Civil War before being legally released and then pulling off a hox. The photo said he retired in 1926 - wonder what they did if he deserted? He does have unusually large hands, maybe a former boxer? ermm.gif

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Herbert Booker

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  • 3 weeks later...

A few weeks ago someone posted a photo of SgtMaj Henry Hallowell, period 1927 photo showing numerous hashmarks and claiming service back to 1860.

 

I can't find the posting, but I did find this piece of information from Leatherneck September 1984

 

(EDITORS NOTE: This was moved here from another thread)

 

Bill

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"The Americans on this Island are not ordinary troops, but Marines, a special force recruited from jails and insane asylums for blood lust." -Japanese Newspaper found during the Battle of Guadalcanal - "They Got That Right!!" Chesty Puller

 

 

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USMC RECON, NOT INFRINGED, and DIRK: Ever heard of black hair dye being used to colour a grey or white mustache? It would have been something had he quit the Civil War before being legally released and then pulling off a hox. The photo said he retired in 1926 - wonder what they did if he deserted? He does have unusually large hands, maybe a former boxer? ermm.gif

 

 

He was a 19th century poser - a fraud. I have merged into this thread another one which has a report on his less-than-honorable Civil War service and later efforts to pose as a retired Marine.

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I found more on this poser. This comes from "CIVIL WAR MARINE A Diary of The Red River Expedition" available in PDF form at http://tinyurl.com/54789v

 

 

The Stor y of the United States Marines compiled by

John W. Leonard and Fred W. Chitty, a former Marine (Philadelphia,

1920) carried an article titled "Marine Corps Reminiscences

of Civil War Days" by a Henry B. Hallowell, described

as formerly a corporal, USMC. In this article

Hallowell stated he was a Marine from May 1860 until September

1865. The records confirm this, but he fails to

state that he was AWOL twice for a total of approximately

two years and four months. This man's credence became

highly suspect in the '20s when he began to visit Marine

Corps recruiting stations and installations dressed in a

Marine uniform carrying first sergeants' chevrons and 15

service stripes, claiming 61 years service. It became

necessary in 1927 to issue an official warning to the recruiting

stations concerning this man. Even as late as

1966 his picture was still being published in a magazine

having Corps-wide circulation.

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USMC RECON, NOT INFRINGED, and DIRK: Ever heard of black hair dye being used to colour a grey or white mustache? It would have been something had he quit the Civil War before being legally released and then pulling off a hox. The photo said he retired in 1926 - wonder what they did if he deserted? He does have unusually large hands, maybe a former boxer? ermm.gif

 

 

In looking at the photo, I think the 1926 is the date of the photo: the writing seems to say "Sargent Hallowell USMC Retired"

 

I found an 80 year old Henry B Hallowell living in the Fort Leavenworth Kansas National Military Home in the 1920 Federal Census. The census says he was born in New York and his parents were born in Pennsylvania. So the age, name and Pennsylvania connection of that Hallowell match poser Hallowell. In the 1910 Census that Kansas Hallowell was living in Topeka (not far from Leavenworth) with a wife 20 years younger than him.

 

Since writing the above paragraph I found in the 1860 Census taken at the Marine Barracks in Washington DC one Henry B. Hallowell, born 1839 in New York.

 

So there's our guy: somehow ends up in Kansas in the early 1900's, is living in the National Military Home in 1920 and then after that is making the rounds posing as a decades-long Marine. My guess is that he got kicked out of the National Military Home and started on his masquerade after that. I'd also guess that he was kicked out of the Military Home after they found out about his record. He does not show up in the lists of Civil War pensioners, and while those lists are not complete, his service record did not make him a prime candidate for an honorable discharge with pension benefits.

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I have found a couple of 1926 newspaper articles about this ballsy imposter, including one which mentions that he called at the White House. I wonder if that's what led to the Marine Corps finally checking on his background and sending out the warning?

 

This is from the newspaper in Indiana, Pennsylvania (it had a photo above it, credited to a Henry Miller in Washington DC):

 

poserindianapa1926.jpg

 

It mentioned three marriages and eight children. I could find no evidence of that, but there is a big gap in his record between the Civil War and when he surfaces in Kansas in 1910.

 

 

 

This one is also from Pennsylvania, from the Uniontown paper in 1926:

 

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Okay one last Hallowell story. I had run across a Henry B. Hallowell serving in a Pennsylvania Army unit and wondered if this was something he did while on "vacation" from the Marines. Turns out it was. This is from

The NYMAS Newsletter

 

Winter 1999

~~~~~~

A Publication of

 

The New York Military Affairs Symposium

 

http://libraryautomation.com/nymas/nwsltr11.htm

 

The Greatest Fraud in the History of the Marine Corps

 

Henry B. Hallowell enlisted in the Marine Corps on May 28,1860. The following October he was assigned to the Marine Guard aboard the USS Richmond, which shortly departed for the Mediterranean. When the Civil War broke out, the ship was called back to the U.S., whereupon Hallowell promptly deserted.

 

On July 21, 1861, Hallowell enlisted in the 28th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, and was promoted to first sergeant of Company K three days later. In February 1862, however, he was found to be a deserter from the Marine Corps and was arrested. Under normal circumstances he would have been severely punished. But the Civil War created an enormous demand for Marines, and Hallowell escaped the usual penalties, being reenlisted and assigned to the Marine Guard aboard the USS Flag.

 

On October 27, 1862, Flag ran down and captured the blockade runner Anglia in Bull's Bay, South Carolina. Hallowell was assigned to the prize crew aboard Anglia, which took the ship to New York, where he jumped ship.

 

For the next year and a half, Hallowell laid low, but in May, 1864, he was again arrested. Surprisingly, he suffered only a reduction in rank, and was again assigned to duty, this time aboard the USS Juniata. During the First Battle for Fort Fisher, in December of that year, Hallowell served as one of the ship’s gunners, while during the second battle, he went ashore with the 400-man Marine Battalion, to take part in the January 15, 1865 assault on the works.

 

Hallowell was discharged from the service on September 28, 1865, and, for the next several decades was just another veteran making his way in the world. Then, in 1917, he was interviewed by John Leonard and Fred Chitty, authors of The Story of the United States Marines. They included Hallowell's story of the attack on Fort Fisher assault in their book.

 

The publication of the book, and the popularity that the Marines gained during World War I, apparently prompted Hallowell to concoct a new life for himself. Shortly after the war he purchased a set of full dress blues, attached first sergeant's stripes and fifteen hash marks to the sleeves, and thus instantly transformed himself from chronic deserter to career Marine. In 1921, he showed up at the San Diego recruiting office and convinced all and sundry that he had been on active duty for sixty-one years. His story was picked up by the Mare Island Navy Yard newspaper Peepsight.

 

For the next seven years, Hallowell traveled around the country and was welcomed at every Marine post. Finding receptive audiences for his tall tales at every stop, he was the delight of the Corps. Everyone seemed charmed by this salty old sea-soldier. Everyone but Major F. E. Fegan, the officer in charge of Marine recruiting.

 

In 1927 Fegan personally looked into Hallowell's service record, and found the man to be a fraud. He promptly issued orders that Hallowell not be mentioned in Marine publications and banned him from all posts. Following Fegan's edict, Hallowell vanished into obscurity. But his picture, replete with hash marks from wrist to shoulder, perpetuates the myth of him having been the longest serving Marine in the history of the Corps. That image has appeared in several publications over the years, including Leatherneck in 1958 and again in 1966, as well as a recent work on American military uniforms and decorations.

 

 

 

Quite a story, huh? Old Henry B really did disappear after 1927, but I'll bet he had the last laugh and somewhere there's a tombstone that says something like:

 

HERE LIES

HENRY B HALLOWELL

61 YEARS A MARINE

 

:rolleyes:

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This has been moved into the VETERAN RECOLLECTIONS sections and no offense to other veterans should be taken, but Henry pretty much made his way around in the 1920's giving his VETERAN RECOLLECTIONS to whomever would listen and for a while he was lauded as the epitome of Marine Corps veterans.

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Great Back Story! I knew of the photo and accepted it as fact. Just goes to show, once again, that you can't believe everything you see!!!! And this was way before Photo Shop!!!!!

Semper Fi........Bobgee

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His name should be commorated by renaming the Stolen Valor Act after him! The Henry B. Hallowell act, named in memory of the America's most talented military imposter! ;)

" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

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It seems that he did earn his Civil War campaign medal

 

Bill

"The Americans on this Island are not ordinary troops, but Marines, a special force recruited from jails and insane asylums for blood lust." -Japanese Newspaper found during the Battle of Guadalcanal - "They Got That Right!!" Chesty Puller

 

 

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It seems that he did earn his Civil War campaign medal

 

Bill

 

 

Yes - he was a reluctant warrior for sure. Thanks Bill for posting that article which led to all this other info about Henry.

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  • 1 month later...

FYI - While perusing the photo album of a Marine private serving aboard U.S.S. Mississippi in the early 1920's I found this article on Sgt Hallowell posted prominently. Just confirms the extent and duration of this fellow's con.

 

Semper Fi.....Bobgee

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  • 1 year later...
  • 10 months later...
A postcard of ths "character" recently popped up on ebay...

Henry B Hallowell was my great grandfather. From what my uncle tells me, Henry wanted his sons to be in the service, so much he almost drove them crazy. Henry would stand out front one of his sons business and try to recruit men, this son would complain to his brother "the old man is trying to recruit everyone that walks by".

No he was not in service for 61 years straight, I don't know about him being a deserter, very possible, he did receive a small amount of pension per the civil war records I have.

Two of his daughters died at 10 & 11 years of age and his wife Adaline had died. The remaining 8 children had their own lives to live some moving to California. I do not think he set out to be an imposter, I think he was a lonely old man who was inspired to recruit and someone noticed him and he embellished his years and his importance in the Marines.

I do think the Marines were important to him, he may have been trying to makeup for any wrongs he had done in his younger life. Who spends that much time and effort on something you don't care about.

He disappeared in 1927 because he died in 1927.

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  • 2 years later...

Henry B Hallowell was my great grandfather. From what my uncle tells me, Henry wanted his sons to be in the service, so much he almost drove them crazy. Henry would stand out front one of his sons business and try to recruit men, this son would complain to his brother "the old man is trying to recruit everyone that walks by".

No he was not in service for 61 years straight, I don't know about him being a deserter, very possible, he did receive a small amount of pension per the civil war records I have.

Two of his daughters died at 10 & 11 years of age and his wife Adaline had died. The remaining 8 children had their own lives to live some moving to California. I do not think he set out to be an imposter, I think he was a lonely old man who was inspired to recruit and someone noticed him and he embellished his years and his importance in the Marines.

I do think the Marines were important to him, he may have been trying to makeup for any wrongs he had done in his younger life. Who spends that much time and effort on something you don't care about.

He disappeared in 1927 because he died in 1927.

 

Greetings & Salutations! Thank you for filling in the blanks on the life of Sergeant Henry B. Hollowell, certainly explains a lot about a man who wanted to redeem his youthful indiscretions. Surely there must have been marines, sailors and soldiers who did serve over fifty years as evidenced by a role Tyrone Power played as an Irish immigrant Martin "Marty" Maher in "The Long Grey Line" film who served for 50 or more years. Lieutenant General Winfield Scott served 47 years, 1812 to 1859. Admiral David G. Farragut served from 1810 to 1870 so Wikipedia says? Thanks again!

Herbert Booker

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  • 1 year later...

Well, as bobgee stated above, you can't trust everything you read, and this should give us some pause before we pile on in slandering an old Marine who is no longer here to defend himself. My hat is off to Linda Meyer for standing up for her great grandfather! I did a little research of original documents, and here is the real scoop on Henry B. Hallowell:

 

According to existing muster rolls available on Ancestry.com, Hallowell enlisted in the Marine Corps on 28 May 1860 in Philadelphia. Marine Maj Fegan agreed, (see USMCR79’s posting of 15 April 2008 - 06:27 PM, above) and further stated that Hallowell was subsequently stationed in Washington, D.C., which is supported by the caption of a 1921 Newspaper Enterprise Association photo in my collection which states that he served at the White House during the presidency of James Buchanan (1857-1861).

 

Pvt Hallowell next appears on the January 1861 muster roll of the Marine detachment aboard the USS Richmond. This invalidates the charge that he deserted from July 24 1860 to February 27, 1862: the Richmond departed Norfolk, VA, on 13 October 1860 for the Mediterranean and returned to New York on 3 July 1861. As he was on board the Richmond in January 1861, he must have left and returned with that ship.

 

Hallowell was promoted to corporal on 22 March 1862, according Maj Fegan’s narrative, less than a month after allegedly being returned to duty after an extended period of desertion. A promotion under such circumstances would have been highly unlikely, casting further doubts on the first desertion charge, if any were needed.

 

The next surviving muster roll bearing Cpl Hallowell’s name records his transfer on 11 June 1863 from the USS Connecticut to the Marine Barracks, Brooklyn, NY. The Connecticut, based out of New York, was at sea from 24 August 1861 to 6 June 1863, further accounting for Cpl Hallowell’s honorable service during his first alleged period of “desertion.”

 

The next charge, that Hallowell deserted from the prize ship Anglia from May 1862 to May 1864, seems to stem from several errors, not the least of which being his presence aboard the Connecticut from 1861 to 1863. The Anglia, a British blockade runner, was captured by the USS Flag in October 1862. Maj Fegan’s report states Hallowell served on the Richmond and the Flag, but his record above has him aboard Connecticut when Anglia was captured. I found no record of Hallowell serving aboard the Flag at any time. This error probably stems from a misreading of the existing January 1861 muster roll referred to above, which is titled “U.S. Flag Ship Richmond;” the Richmond being the “flag,” or command ship, during its Mediterranean deployment. Perhaps this was interpreted as “the US(S) Flag (and the) ship (USS) Richmond.”

 

So, Cpl Hallowell record is clean from his enlistment in May 1860 to his transfer from the Connecticut to Marine Barracks, Brooklyn, on 11 June 1863. There is now a gap in the muster roll record until 1 June 1864, when we find him a private at the Marine Barracks in Philadelphia. Obviously, something occurred during this period to warranted his demotion from corporal to private, and we have no reason to doubt Major Fegan’s assertion that he was apprehended while AWOL on 24 May 1864 in Philadelphia and returned to duty there (“deserters” were usually shot).

 

Pvt Hallowell’s muster roll record continues at Philadelphia with his transfer to the USS Juanita on 20 June 1864. On 17 August 1864, Juanita departed Philadelphia for Hampton Roads, VA, to join the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, and Hallowell’s presence there is noted on the Marine detachment’s muster roll for November 1864.

 

Early the next month, the Juanita left Hampton Roads with an assault fleet bound for the first attack on the Confederate Ft. Fisher, NC. The fleet’s Marines did not directly participate in this landing, a debacle for Federal forces, although the Juanita came in close enough to shore to suffer five killed and 11 wounded. On the second attempt, 13-15 January 1865, about 400 of the fleet’s Marines landed, likely including Pvt Hallowell, to provide covering fire for a force of sailors who were to storm the fort. This operation also became a bloody fiasco, but it provided a sufficient diversion to allow Union soldiers already ashore to successfully take the fort from another direction.

 

The Juanita, now with the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, pulled into Port Royal (Beaufort), SC, on 19 January 1865 to repair damage from the Ft. Fisher Campaign. It was then off to support Gen Tecumseh Sherman’s army at Savannah, GA, then back to Port Royal for more repairs from February to June 1865. With the war over, the Juanita left Port Royal on 17 June 1865 for a two-year cruise off South America and Africa. If Pvt Hallowell was discharged at Philadelphia on 28 September 1865 as stated in Maj Fegan’s report, he was likely transferred from the ship before its departure.

 

So, rather than the habitual deserter, we have in Henry W. Hallowell a Marine who likely served guard duty at the White House on the eve of the Civil War, completed a Mediterranean cruise, and was promoted to corporal while serving nearly two years on another warship. After an infraction, most likely AWOL, which resulted in his reduction to private, he participated in the largest amphibious assault of the Civil War at Ft. Fisher. His service began before the war and continued for five months after it ended.

 

Linda Meyer states above that she has documentation that Hallowell drew a pension for his Civil War service, which indicates he received what we would now call an honorable discharge. At a minimum, Hallowell should not be remembered as a “dirt bag,” as he has been characterized in this thread, but rather as a fairly typical and honorable Marine of his era.

 

His rather bizarre behavior in the last years of his life, appearing around the country in his dress blues with an array of service stripes indicating all the years gone by since his enlistment, and dropping in on recruiters and post commanders, should not be seen as his being a “poser” or an early “stolen valor” nutcase (again, as he has been called here), but as a poignant manifestation of how most pf us former Marines feel: like he never stopped being a Marine. If, after his wife and children were gone and he found himself alone (according to Linda) and maybe with a touch of dementia in his 80’s, he sought out the company of his fellow Marines to relive his glory days, we should understand. Of course he should not have worn the rank insignia of a first sergeant which he never earned, but with all things considered, we need not judge him too harshly; this was a time when it was common for any former officer, especially those who served in the Civil War, or even for civilians who were simply members of the upper classes, to refer to themselves as “Colonel.” This does not make it right to our modern sensibilities, but he lived in another time and should be judged by its standards, not ours.

 

Whenever we commit something to the printed page, as Maj Fegan did in 1927, and which the editor of the Leatherneck echoed in 1984 (again, see USMCR79 above), for many people it takes on the luster of fact. (Note that the Leatherneck editor refers to Maj Fegan’s 1927 report above as “official,” implying that it must be right and somehow eliminating his journalistic burden of fact checking, yet it is replete with errors.) This also seems to be the case today when ideas are posted and supported by others on the more ephemeral media of online forums such as this one. Consequently, we should be very careful publicly passing judgment on the service of Marines who came before us. They build our Corps’ sterling reputation that we have all benefitted from by inheriting, and this should at least earn them the benefit of the doubt.

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I did some more research on Henry Hallowell using a spelling of his last name different from the one I used for my first post. While there are still some gaps in the surviving records, I would like to add to and correct my first posting here in light of this further information:

 

Hallowell was listed as having “deserted” twice: in February 1862, and in late August-early September 1863. He was promoted to corporal less than a month after the first incident, and was reduced to private for the second one. For anyone who has been in the military, these responses to his infractions by his command (likely reprimand and quick promotion, and reduction in grade on second offense) makes these “desertions” sound more like what we would call “AWOL” today, a term not used at the time. Desertion as we know it in time of war was a capital offense (still is, at least on paper), and he surely would not have been let off so easily if he had met the modern criteria for it. A couple of “benders” perhaps?

 

It turns out Hallowell was on the USS Flag (my guess at the cause of confusion about this above was dead wrong!) He came aboard as a corporal in June 1862, and did accompany the prize ship Anglia to New York in early December 1862. However, there was no record of “desertion” associated with this duty as alleged in some of the earlier postings here, as he was quickly assigned to the USS Connecticut as a corporal on 15 December 1862 at New York and served aboard her until June 1863. My assumption that he was aboard the Connecticut in August 1861 was wrong- she must have come into port at times other than my original research indicated, allowing him to join her later.

 

Everything else in my initial post was supported by this subsequent research. I learned that the Marine officer he served under on the USS Juanita was killed in action at Ft. Fisher, further proving that Hallowell was there too. I also found out he was admitted to two homes for disabled veterans (CA and KS) between 1914 and 1921, which sound like the VA hospitals of the day by the types of records they kept, and he left both of his own volition. He was not “kicked out” as someone suggested above.

 

As to his unusual behavior in his later years, I would ask his detractors if a Marine veteran of Tarawa put on his old uniform and made public appearances around the country boosting the Marine Corps and visiting with today's Marines, and he did not have spotless record book, would you publicly denounce him too?

 

To anyone reading all of this, thanks! It is probably a lot more than you wanted to know about this guy, but I wanted to set the record straight on a fellow Marine. Watch what you say about us- we are a pretty tight bunch! Semper Fidelis.

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Great info and an interesting read. I know most of the conversation has related to the service history of the individuals, but regarding the date of the image itself, (as mentioned briefly in an earlier post), the image is likely 1926 not 1919 based upon the presence of the ega's on the Marines collar and the style of the Navy uniform.

I am eagerly collecting Pre-WWII USMC material. Any Marine Corps Span Am era, WWI, Banana Wars, or China Marine related material is especially sought after. Let me know if you have something you want to part with. 

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