Biography of Col. Granville O. Haller

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COL. GRANVILLE O. HALLER, U.S.A., Retired. – Granville Owen Haller was born in York, Pennsylvania, January 31, 1819. His father, George Haller, died when he was but two years of age, leaving a pious and most devoted mother in charge of four young children, who, with limited means, but with industry and thrift, had the satisfaction of seeing her eldest son graduate at the Jefferson Medical College of the University of Pennsylvania. She was very desirous of sending Granville to the Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to be fitted for the ministry, but conscientious doubts on his part prevented him from conforming to his mother’s wishes.

In 1839 a vacancy belonging to his district occurred at West Point Military Academy, when he and several other young men became applicants to fill the vacancy. The Honorable Joel R. Poinsett, Secretary of War, ruled that the recommendation of the representative of the district, giving his preference to one of the applicants, should secure his appointment. Haller received the preferred recommendation, but did not receive the appointment.

Walter S. Franklin, of York, Pennsylvania, clerk of the House of Representatives, a warm and consistent friend of the Honorable James Buchanan, senator from Pennsylvania, and also a friend of Secretary Poinsett, had recently died, when Senator Buchanan applied for William B. Franklin, son of the deceased to be appointed. William was thereupon appointed to West Point; and Haller was invited to appear before a board of military officers, which met in Washington, District of Columbia, for information as to his fitness for the military profession. Haller presented himself, was examined, and on the seventeenth day of November, 1839, was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Fourth Regiment, U.S. Infantry, although not quite twenty-one years of age.

Lieutenant Haller, served in the Florida war in 1841-42, and was with Brevet Major Belknap, Third Infantry, when fired upon by the Indians in the Big Cypress swamp, and with Colonel Worth, Eighth Infantry, at the action at Palattikaha swamp, which resulted in the capture of Halleck Tustenuggee’s band, and which ended the Florida war. Frequent mention is made of Lieutenant Haller in Brevet Captain John T. Sprague’s history of “The Origin, Progress and Conclusion of the Florida War,” in 1848, for services deemed worthy of mention.

He was adjutant of the Fourth Infantry from January 1, 1843, until he resigned, September 10, 1845, and was promoted to be first lieutenant July 12, 1846. He was brigade-major of the Third Brigade, U.S. Regulars, under General Taylor, when in Texas in 1845, until relieved for duty as adjustant commissary of subsistence to the Third Brigade. He had to receive and receipt for all the provisions issued to General Taylor’s command when leaving Brazos St. Iags for Matamoras. He lost none of them at Palo Alto, was at Resaca de la Palma during the fighting, but received and took upon his return of stores immense quantities of certain subsistence stores captured from the Mexican army. He served under General Taylor in Mexico until after the capture of Monterey, when the Fourth Infantry was transferred to General Worth’s division, and ordered to Vera Cruz, under General Scott’s command. He was engaged in all the battles until the capture of the City of Mexico, from the siege of Vera-Cruz, and was one of the storming party at El Molino del Rey, September 8, 1847. He was brevetted captain “for gallant and meritorious conduct in the battle of Chapultepec,” and promoted to the captaincy of the Fourth Infantry January 1, 1848.

In 1852 Brevet Majors Larned’s and Haller’s companies embarked on the U.S. store ship Fredonia in charge of the regimental baggage, and sailed around Cape Horn, arriving safely at San Francisco and Washington Territory in June, 1853, having spent seven months on the voyage. Major Larned’s company proceeded to Fort Steilacoom; and, after a brief rest at Fort Vancouver, Washington Territory, Haller was ordered to Fort Dalles, Oregon.

Towards the fall of 1854, word arrived at Fort Dalles that a small party of immigrants, consisting of a Mr. Ward, his family, and a few other families, had all been murdered by hostile Indians on Boise river. By this time many of the five-years’ enlisted men’s time having expired, they were discharged; and some of the recruits having received eight months’ pay felt rich enough to live outside the service of Uncle Sam, and deserted. In this manner the garrison was reduced to about fifty men.

The commanding officer, Major G.J. Rains, Fourth Infantry, provided horses for twenty-six enlisted men, the necessary pack mules, and dispatched Haller, Lieutenant MacFeely and Dr. Suckle with these men out upon the immigrant road, to give protection to all the trains coming to the West, and if possible chastise the murderers. While proceeding on the road, Captain Nathan Olney, brother of Judge Olney, of Oregon, with a party of mounted volunteers, overtook the command, and reported for duty by order of Major Rains. Captain Olney was provided with rations for thirty men, but picked up on the road, chiefly immigrants, a few over his number. In consequence the rations fell short; and finally volunteers and regulars had to subsist on captured cured salmon and captured horses, as the provisions had been exhausted before the date for which issued, and the train bringing a new supply was behind time in arriving.

This command arrested four Indians who had been pointed out as murderers; and they were examined before a court of inquiry, where they explained the whole proceedings, and the share each one had in the massacre. One tried to escape, and was shot dead by the guard. The other three were hanged on the massacre-grounds, about thirty miles east of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s old Fort Boise, by the river road. The gallows was constructed close to the pyramid of bones of their victims. The regulars, in addition, captured a family of the hostile band, and killed two bucks of the same party while trying to escape, during the scouting on the Payette river, where the murderers had located. The command was discovered by the great column of dust, as they approached the lodges of the main body of the murderers, who effected their escape, but left their booty behind, consisting of the clothing, dishes, cups, etc., of the murdered people. On this occasion the volunteers were complimented by being placed in front, in the order of battle, and did their duty efficiently. The enemy, to hide their trail, kept, for a long space, in the bed of the river, getting out of the way of the Whites. Captain Olney’s men soon discovered this, and pursued with vigor; but the game had escaped.

In 1855 General Wool directed that Major Haller, with his company and a detachment of the Third Artillery under Lieutenant Day, should return, give protection to the immigrants, and search out the murderers. Lieutenant Day, with a small party took the trail of a stolen mule and horse from Salmon Falls, and followed it until he reached Fort Lemhi, a Mormon settlement on the headwaters of the Missouri river. On his return he accidentally discovered the thieves and the property, captured the party, hanged the guilty, and brought back the animals and some prisoners.

Major Haller returned to Fort Dalles by forced rides, but allowed his command to travel leisurely homeward. He found the old friends of the Whites, near the Umatilla, greatly excited, the Yakima Indians under arms, and the agent, Major Bolan, murdered. A large body of recruits had arrived at Fort Dalles for the two infantry companies, making it possible to improvise two companies of fifty men each, including the old soldiers who had been left to “hold the fort.” Major Rains had been transferred to Vancouver Barracks, and in command of the Department of the Columbia; and Haller, presuming that he would be ordered against the Yakimas with all his force at Fort Dalles, organized two companies of fifty men each, with a sergeant-major and commissary-sergeant in addition. The officers were Major Haller, Captain Russell and Lieutenant Gracie (the last in charge of the mountain howitzer), also Doctor William Hammond.

The reports sent by Major Haller from The Dalles made little if any impression at Vancouver Barracks; but Acting-Governor Mason requested that a command be sent into the Yakima country to demand the murderer of Mattice, a miner, killed while passing through that country. In answer to this request Major Rains ordered one company to be sent; but Haller, being on the spot, knew one company would be insufficient, so ordered his one hundred and two men and officers across the Columbia, and began his march. On the fifth day, descending the heights along Toppinish creek (near the present site of Fort Simcoe), a considerable number of hostile Indians disputed the approach to the water. A fight ensued, but Captain Russell had gotten unperceived on their right flank and rear, and when he opened on them they fled. It was quite dark before the wounded could be moved; and, a camp near at hand being desirable, one was found for the night without reference to grass and water for the animals.

Early next morning the camp was completely surrounded; and hourly all day squads of mounted Indians were seen approaching and joining the war party. Father Paudoza, a Catholic priest, who was held by the Indians a prisoner in reality, but ostensibly an interpreter, etc., considered the small force of soldiers in such imminent danger, as Kamiakin had by count over two thousand, two hundred warriors, that he employed a christian Indian (Cheruscan) to hurry to Haller’s camp with a letter and a white flag to apprise Haller of the danger, and the only terms upon which the chiefs would make peace. Cut off from the grass and water, it became necessary to get out of the present camp. The danger was not so great, as the Indians did not have arms or ammunition sufficient to arm a formidable force, but fought in small detachments, at different times and at different points, making their assaults less formidable than if delivered simultaneously. Whenever one warrior got tired, he would fall back and turn over his arms to another, who would try his skill in crawling up until within certain aim. One party had stones thrown up in front, √° la rifle pits so as to be very dangerous; but they were driven off by a bayonet charge upon their flank.

In breaking up camp, it was deemed advisable to return to Fort Dalles, and get a sufficient force to intimidate the enemy. The Indians, on the second night, having withdrawn from the front, left the woods at the border of the creek safe to cross back; and the command marched out, having forty men for rear guard, to protect the rear and look after the pack animals; but the night was unusually dark, so much so that Cutmouth John, the guide in front, had to get off his horse and feel for the trail. It was impossible for the rear guard, in the wooded banks of the Toppinish, to see pack mules that stepped out of the trail to nip grass; hence many were overlooked and fell into the enemy’s hands. But the rear guard itself missed the trail of the head of the column; and, when such was discovered, the white guide was sent to conduct them to the proper trail, while the front marched to a small grove on the side of a steep hill, where they built large fires to light the lost detachment to the camp, meanwhile preparing their suppers.

Daylight came, but no rear guard; hurrying on the wrong trail to catch up with the column, they got far towards Fort Dalles that night, beyond the reach of the Indians, who flattered themselves that they had killed all in sight. The Indians understood the bright fires, and threw some warriors in the rear to intercept the march. There were sixteen wounded, the howitzer while marching, and the pack animals that remained. Fortunately, the war party in the rear did not expect the white men to be in motion at day-dawn; for a large band of horses were seen on the left grazing leisurely. Shortly after the troops had gotten past this band, they were all mounted; and a skirmish commenced, which lasted for several miles, when the troops found a tongue of wood surrounded by open prairie, where the command halted, cleaned their muskets, etc., while a small guard held the Indians at bay. The Indians tried to burn the grass; but counter fires defeated them. They set the dry needles of the fir trees lying on the ground on fire, but did no harm. Towards evening, the guard having been strongly reinforced, made a rush upon the Indians in their front and drove them off, not to return. In this charge the commissary sergeant (Mulholland) was killed, also a private of Major Haller’s company. This ended Haller’s repulse.

Kamiakin’s ability as a leader had not been appreciated by the populace generally; and their minds had been greatly prejudiced by idle stories. He foresaw that the assassination of the agent, Bolan, would, on being ascertained by the white race, lead to immediate war, and prepared for it by gathering his allies in his own camp. But the death of Bolan was not brought about by any act of Kamiakin’s. On the contrary, his plan of operations was to await the cold weather, when the Columbia river would be covered with ice, and when the steamers would be locked up in it; when the Cascade Mountains would be wrapped in deep snow, so as to cut off communication with the Willamette population; – then would be the time for his warriors to fall upon the few soldiers and settlers east of the mountains and wipe them out.

Haller’s repulse defeated his well-laid scheme; for it roused the people to their danger. The governor of Oregon called out volunteers; and the department commander took the field with all the regulars at his command. Major Rains with six companies of regulars, and Colonel Nesmith with six companies of mounted Oregon volunteers, took the field against Kamiakin. This warrior met his foes near the Two Buttes at the mouth of the Attanum creek, and held them there all one day. At sundown Haller charged the warriors on the Attanum Butte, and brushed them away. Next day the Indians were more cautious. Cut-mouth John only was able, through his dress, to get near enough to kill a hostile Indian. The great number of soldiers discouraged the Indians, who fled across the Columbia river; and the fall of snow drove the cavalry to The Dalles for forage, where Major Rains followed.

Colonel George Wright, with a newly organized regiment, the Ninth Infantry, armed with the Mini√© rifle, was sent to the department, and was impressed by General Wool that this war was occasioned by the bad faith of the white population, and to govern himself accordingly. The massacre at the Cascades took place the day he marched out from Fort Dalles intending to overawe the natives throughout the Walla Walla country. Hearing of the massacre, he returned, took the two steamboats (which had that day escaped from the hostile Indians, and had brought the news) and hurried to the scene, rescued the whites besieged in the Bradshaw residence and elsewhere, after driving away the hostiles. Had the Indians succeeded, they would have broken his communications. Returning to The Dalles, he changed his plan, and, crossing the Columbia river there, invaded Kamiakin’s country. He found a large body of Kamiakin’s warriors at the Qui-wi-ches, three miles in front of the Nahches river, prepared to resist any further advance. Colonel Wright sent for Major Haller’s company, which was garrisoning at Fort Dalles, to join him, and then offered the hostiles peace, on condition that they would return to their former homes and not molest the Whites, but would obey the agents appointed for their protection. He told them that, if they declined this offer, he would make “war to the death” on them.

Kamiakin realized is position, and advised his people to accept the peace offered. He feared that his warriors would be harassed if not killed, and the women and children captured and made slaves of by the conquerors. The acceptance would end these dangers; but, says William McKay, the interpreter, he raised his right hand and struck his left breast, exclaiming; “As for me, I am Kamiakin still! I will go to the Blackfoot country, where there are no white men.” Kamiakin’s advice lead Owhi, his brother, to call on Colonel Wright, who renewed in person the offer; and they fixed upon the day when the Indians should come into camp and conclude peace. But, as Owhi left the Colonel, an afterthought induced him to say to Owhi; “Tell your people they must bring with them all the horses and mules stolen from the Whites.”

Owhi, and Qualchen his son, called on Major Haller, with McKay to interpret. During the interview Owhi referred to Colonel Wright’s expecting the Indians to give up the captured horses and mules, remarking that his people considered a capture as much their personal property as if they had purchased it with money, and that he believed they would not attend under such circumstances. They did not, but dispersed, leaving the Colonel without an enemy. He then selected Simcoe for a military post, and left a battalion under Major Robert Garnett to build and garrison it. He located Major Haller’s and Captain Archer’s (afterwards the rebel general whose brigade was captured at Gettysburg in the first day’s fight) companies in the Kittitass valley, as a permanent threat to the Indian families in that region, if they began hostilities.

In the fall of 1856, Haller was relieved and ordered to establish a post near Fort Townsend on Puget Sound, where the inhabitants might find an asylum in case of raids by Northern Indians, who were becoming troublesome. The governor of Washington Territory had resolved upon the expulsion of all foreign Indians, and called upon the United States navy at Seattle to order them out of the country. The U.S. steamer, Massachusetts proceeded to execute the order; when, at Port Gamble, some Hydah Indians from Russian American, employed by the Port Gamble Mill Company, located at Teckalet, were ordered to return to their native country, but refused point blank, and defied the navy. The result was the landing of some sailors, which obliged the Indians to seek shelter in the woods, where a lively cannonade from the steamer, while the sailors were destroying their camp, caused the death of their chief. They surrendered at length, and were removed, only to return the next season, 1857, when they retaliated for the loss of their chief by attacking Colonel Isaac N. Ebey’s house at night, on Whidby Island, killing the Colonel (the most prominent settler in that section. having been collector of customs, colonel of volunteers during the Indian war, etc.), and, cutting off his head, carried it to their country, where it afterwards was purchased and brought to his relatives in Washington Territory.

The only running water, or suitable spot for a garden, or for grazing for government animals, near Port Townsend, was some three miles up the bay, where Haller located and erected buildings for the garrison. The friendly Indians brought all the clam shells wanted for making lime; the soldiers cut out the laths, made the mortar, and applied the same to the walls; the prisoners cut the wood and burnt the clam shells; all this, while the most extravagant tales of the richness of the Caribou gold mines, and the high wages paid hired miners, were circulating, naturally excited the enlisted men; and they deserted in squads across the Strait of Fuca.

Soon the loss of the men by desertion was felt, when a boatman offered to bring from Victoria, British Columbia, as many laborers as were required, and who would only charge one dollar a day and a ration, and a blacksmith for one dollar and a half a day and a ration. Haller authorized him to hire a blacksmith and five or six men, which he did. The soldiers were astonished, but soon learned of the difficulties of the road to the new El Dorado and the danger to miners in many ways; and, seeing that these men preferred the small wages here to high offers there, desertions ceased; and a very comfortable post for officers and men was constructed, which has been kept up to this date.

The garrison at this post had frequently to make excursions on the Sound in pursuit of Northern Indians. Once, the Smith Island lighthouse keeper was attacked and besieged. At another, the deputy collector on San Juan Island was fired upon in his own house while in his bed. When these depredations were reported, a detail was hastened to the relief of those government officers, in chartered vessels. Major Haller, on one occasion, while scouting, on board the U.S. revenue cutter Jeff Davis, discovered a large body of Northern Indians in Elliott Bay, paddling for Seattle. A gun on the cutter was fired, when the canoes pulled for the shore, and awaited Haller’s arrival in the cutter’s gig. It was a fortunate and timely arrival, as Haller took one of the party in his boat to Seattle, where Curley, a prominent Indian, was dressed in his war paint, and had his warriors in arms, to give these Northern quasi friends a warm reception. These Indians, finding the settlers unwilling to employ them as heretofore, were returning home, and wished to take some squaws, their relatives, with them; but these declined to leave their male friends and hid themselves, that neither Whites nor Indians could find or remove them from their adopted country.

The Indian troubles in the Northwest induced the War Department to order General Harney (Secretary Floyd was a warm friend of this officer, who had conducted for him some financial speculations), popularly known as the Great Indian Fighter, to command the Department of the Columbia. His arrival was occasion for the legislatures of Oregon and Washington territory to pay some flattering tributes to his renown. These seemed to rouse in him the presidential bee; and, to show that the pen was as powerful as the sword, he replied with American spread-eagle sentiments in his thanks to the governors.

In 1859 General Harney inspected the posts on the Puget Sound, and called at Semiahmoo on Mr. Campbell, the boundary commissioner. Embarking at Fort Steilacoom on the steamer Massachusetts (then transferred to the quartermaster’s department), he visited Fort Townsend, which had been constructed before he came to the Northwest, and seemed surprised at the showy quarters. He then proceeded to Bellingham Bay, where night overtook him. He became the guest of ex-Judge E.C. Fitzhugh, while his staff officers who had been classmates of Captain Pickett, commanding Fort Bellingham, where lodged at Captain Pickett’s quarters. Pickett, for some time, manifested a desire to be stationed on San Juan Island, which the Secretary of State, Governor Marcy, announced that President Pierce directed should be treated as neutral territory until commissioners of the two countries could agree upon the water boundary; and now Mr. Campbell, the United States commissioner, was engaged with British commissioners in ascertaining the water boundary.

What line of reasoning was used by Judge Fitzhugh upon General Harney, or by Captain Pickett upon his staff officers, to get to San Juan Island, has never come to light; but the General, before reaching Semiahoo, resolved to order Pickett’s company to occupy the disputed island. This determination was made known to Mr. Warren, the secretary of the boundary commissioner, by the staff officers; but General Harney did not mention the subject to Mr. Campbell, nor did Mr. Warren supposing that General Harney’s visit was to consult Mr. Campbell before giving the order.

When it is remembered that the North and South in 1858 and subsequently were violently agitated upon the question of slavery, and that the North determined to prevent slavery, at the least, north of the Missouri Compromise, with or without the consent of the constitution and laws of the United States, it is evident that the South would have taken no share in a war with England for free soil up to fifty-four degrees, forty minutes north latitude. A war in the Northwest against England would have carried our fighting force farthest from the slaves growing cotton and sugar. It would have left the South the more at liberty to secede and make its own terms with England. Certainly, it was bad policy to provoke England to war at that time. It was discourteous to Mr. Campbell and to the English commissioners thus rudely to interfere. It is patent that General Harney did interfere. He ordered, on his return to Vancouver Barracks, Haller’s company to break up Fort Townsend and remove to Fort Steilacoom, and Pickett to move post and all to San Juan in the usual manner, that is, by orders forwarded through the headquarters of the district; but Pickett was furnished with special instructions, which did not go through the commander, but direct to Captain Pickett.

It is somewhat significant that the instructions, which charged Pickett with the “serious and important duty of resisting all attempts at interference by the British authorities residing on Vancouver Island, by intimidation or force, in the controversies of the above-mentioned parties,” and who, upon landing, announced the island as subject exclusively to American jurisdiction in his order assuming command, were not transmitted through Lieutenant- Colonel Casey, commanding the district, who, in an emergency, might be and was called upon for assistance, but had to decline, as he was ignorant of General Harney’s intentions and instructions.

When it is known that Lieutenant-Colonel Casey was a Rhode Islander or Northern man; that General Harney’s lenient course in Missouri towards the friends of secession obliged Captain Lyon, Second Infantry, to disregard the General’s concessions at the risk of his commission, until the General was removed; that Captain Pickett and Judge Fitzhugh immediately hastened to and joined the army of the Confederate states, – it raises a presumption unfavorable to the last three gentlemen’s integrity, although the country escaped a collision.

This escape was due to the failure of the British mail steamers to arrive on schedule time; and they therefore did not connect with the mail steamers on the Pacific. The news of the battle of Solferino was first heard of by British officers through American newspapers; and it was conjectured that the controversy about the San Juan boundary had been adjusted in England, and that General Harney’s orders were simply carrying out instructions from his government. Indeed, the responsibility of having San Francisco, the mouth of the Columbia, the Strait of Fuca, etc., blockaded by five large British war vessels at hand was so great and so foolhardy, that British officers could not believe it emanated from General Harney’s own volition. General Scott was sent by the President to correct matters. He proposed to the British soldiers on San Juan, to exercise jurisdiction and protection over all British subjects, as the Americans had to protect and maintain peace among the citizens of the United States on said island. This was accepted, with a request that Captain Hunt, Fourth Infantry, be located on the island in place of Captain Pickett, Ninth Infantry, and his company; and the imbroglio was at an end.

The removal of Pickett’s company from Bellingham Bay had a bad effect upon the Nootsack Indians. Soon after Pickett had moved away, some Young Lummi Indians entered Whatcom with arms and war paint, and insolently demanded the liberation of their chief, whom they supposed was confined in the jail. One citizen warned them away, threatening to shoot. Not heeding his warning, he thereupon shot one, when the warrior shot and killed him. The citizens by this time had armed themselves and shot down three who had participated in the killing. Major Haller was patrolling the archipelago in the Massachusetts, to find and remove some Northern Indians. he was notified of the difficulty by boatmen, who were sent out to find the steamer and invite Major Haller and company to hasten to their protection. Haler landed at Whatcom the same day, and hastened out to the Nootsack crossing to head off the Indians, who had gone below to receive the slain. The next morning they came up; but, the current being swift, it was impossible to get by if the soldiers chose to prevent them. They voluntarily came ashore to hold a council; and when the young warriors who had entered Whatcom were demanded as hostages, that there should e no more fighting, and to revenge the slain, they surrendered them; and the outbreak was thus averted. As the surveying parties of the boundary commission were scattered in small groups over a long line, the hostility of the Lummi tribe might have cut off many of these before they could have learned of an outbreak, and have suspended field operations.

Major Haller was ordered in 1860 to California, where he was assigned to Fort Mojave, Arizona, subsequently, in 1861, to San Diego, and finally to the East, to join the grand army which was being organized by General McClellan. He found, on arriving at the East, that he had been promoted to be Major of the Seventh Infantry, September 25 ,1861. His regiment had become prisoners of war in Texas, and hence were not able to fight the enemy until exchanged. Therefore, Haller reported to General McClellan, who attached him to the provost-marshal-general’s staff (General Andrew Porter). Soon afterwards he was appointed commandant-general of general headquarters, on General McClellan’s staff; and the Ninety-third New York Volunteers were placed under his command as the general headquarters guard, and, when required, as guard to prisoners of war captured upon the field. Haller was thus employed throughout the Virginia and Maryland campaigns under General McClellan, the subsequent campaigns of General Burnside, and (for a short time) under General Hooker. He was then designated provost-marshal-general for Maryland; but, upon the invasion of Pennsylvania by General Lee’s Confederate army, he was attached to General Couch’s staff, whose headquarters were at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He was detached to York and Gettysburg to muster in volunteers, get all the information possible of the Confederate army’s movements, etc., and order the citizens to remove their horses, wagons and farm stock across the Susquehanna river, as General Couch apprehended a visit in that direction from the rebel army.

General Couch, in the latter part of July, 1863, received orders to relive Haller, who, upon reporting to the adjutant-general, United States army, for orders, was informed that he had been dismissed on 25th of July, 1863, “for disloyal conduct, and the utterance of disloyal sentiments.” all appeals for a hearing were pre-emptorily refused. By joint resolution of Congress, March 3, 1879, sixteen years afterwards, Haller was allowed a court of inquiry, and was tried in Washington City, where the official papers in his case were submitted to the court, and where Haller first read the original order of his dismissal, being a small wrapper around Senator Covode’s letter, inclosing one urging Haller’s disloyalty. The order was in these words: “Major G.O. Haller, Seventh Infantry, will be dismissed the service for disloyalty, and the utterance of disloyal sentiments. By order of the Secretary of War. (Signed) James A. Hardie, Asst. Adjut.-Gen.” General Townsend, Adjutant-General, in orders, falsely stated that Haller was dismissed by order of the President, knowing that the Secretary of War could not dismiss.

Fortunately General Couch and Major Charles J. Whiting were still alive, in civil life, when the court was ordered. The latter was in Haller’s tent at the time of the alleged “disloyal sentiments” were uttered by him, and heard all that was said. The former could testify as to his conduct. When asked, “did Major Haller discharge his duty to your satisfaction, and how did you regard him?” he answered: “Major Haller’s service while on duty with me was wholly and entirely satisfactory. I do not think that there
were any of the fighting generals of the Army of the Potomac, if they had been in York, in the position of Major Haller, that could have done any better than he did. I thought so at the time, and I think so now.”

On cross-examination, he was asked; “Do you consider that your intercourse with Major Haller was of that familiar nature, during that time, that you could have discovered sentiments of disloyalty had they existed with him?” He answered: “I do not know how I can answer that question except by saying that I cannot conceive that a man could do what Major Haller did for the country and at the same time be disloyal.

The proceedings of this court of inquiry conclude thus: “The court finds that Major Granville O. Haller, late Seventh U.S. Infantry, was dismissed for disloyal conduct, and disloyal sentiments, on insufficient evidence, wrongfully; and therefore, hereby, by virtue of the authority constituting it, does annul said dismissal published in ‘S.O. No. 331,’ dated ‘War Dept., A.G.O., Washington D.C., July 25, 1863.’”

The most remarkable part of these findings is the fact that the court consisted of one lieutenant-colonel and two majors, and that these rehabilitated in the army a colonel, who must rank them on all occasions. The President, R.B. Hayes, approved the proceedings and findings; and the Senate confirmed the nomination as a colonel of infantry in the United States army, to rank from February 19, 1873. Subsequently a vacancy occurred by the death of Colonel Jeff C. Davis, Twenty-third Infantry, when the United States Senate confirmed the assignment of Colonel Haller; and thus he received a second commission, that of colonel of the Twenty-third Infantry, from December 11, 1879. On the 6th of February, 1882, he was retired, being over sixty-three years old.

During the interval from his dismissal until his rehabilitation as colonel, Major Haller and family resided in Washington Territory. They resided for some time on his farm on Whidby Island. He then engaged in a mercantile business in connection with a water-power sawmill – an elephant that he received for debt, and which he found to be a daily loser in the cost of manufacturing lumber, until he shut it down – at the mouth of Chemicum creek, near the city of Port Townsend. Having established a branch store on Whidby Island, he disposed of his interests in Port Townsend, and located his family at the store in Couperville. He did more, perhaps, than any citizen in that vicinity to enable settlers, who had only their robust health and brawny arms to support themselves and families with while clearing off public land for homes, to remain on their claims and improve them, by furnishing them supplies and carrying them from year to year until they had the means to pay. His customers were not confined to Whidby Island, but came from the Swinomish Flats, the Skagit river, around the Jam and above, and from the flats about Centerville (now Stanwood), on the Stoluckwamish river.

Upon being rehabilitated in the army, Colonel Haller closed his mercantile operations. He then found that his liberality in supplying settlers, and in indulging them in long credit, was somewhat embarrassing, inasmuch as his liabilities to his creditors were considerable, and, while his liens and book accounts showed a favorable balance in figures, yet, if he had been compelled by legal process to pay off his indebtedness, he in all probability could not have paid fifty cents on the dollar, due chiefly to the fact that public lands at that time could be had by simply locating upon them, and that improved lands could not be sold for half the cost of the improvements. The annual taxes, at times, were an inconvenient burthen, making him land poor.

Upon being retired in 1882, Colonel Haller located with his family in Seattle, King county Washington Territory, where his elder son had been located. His family consisted of his wife, Henrietta Maria; his elder son, George Morris Haller; his younger son, Theodore Newell Haller, both of whom were admitted to the bar to practice law; his younger daughter, Charlotte Elenor Haller; and two grandchildren of his elder daught4er, Alice Mai H. Nichols, deceased, late wife of Lieutenant William A. Nichols, Twenty-third U.S. Infantry, the son of the late Adjutant-General William A. Nichols, U.S. Army. The elder son was married to Miss Anne Cox, in California, in 1887. They reside with their parents at No. 606 Twelfth street, Seattle. The younger son is now traveling in Europe.




MLA Source Citation:

History of the Pacific Northwest Oregon and Washington. 2 v. Portland, Oregon: North Pacific History Company. 1889. AccessGenealogy.com. Web. 31 March 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/washington/biography-of-col-granville-o-haller.htm - Last updated on Jun 7th, 2011

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