E.L. Halsey was the brother-in-law of Hiram Bartlett Olney, my wife's great-great-grandfather. Halsey and Olney were in the same company at one time, Washington Light Infantry.
Edwin Lindsley Halsey, born May 29, 1840, in Charleston. Married Maria T. Olney, daughter of George W., formerly of Providence, R.I.
An article written for the Charleston News and Courier of Aug. 25, 1893, thus speaks of Captain Halsey:
"At the promotion of Hart First Lieut. E.L. Halsey became captain. Halsey had been elected first lieutenant at the reorganization in April 1862. He was cool, calm, fearless and as firm as a rock in battle. He loaded the gun that threw the first ball fired by the Confederacy, (the Star of the West was fired on by State troops Jan. 9th 1861) against the United States flag, and he commanded the battery that fired the last shot.
Some of your readers will remember that on the morning of the 8th of March, 1861, a shot was fired accidentally from the Iron Battery at Cumming's Point that struck Fort Sumter. Few know the history of that ball. The Washington Artillery was stationed on Morris Island and had charge of the Iron Battery, the three guns of which were trained on Fort Sumter.
The men drilled at these guns every morning and evening, hoping that each day would bring orders to open fire. At last it became monotonous and on the evening of the 7th of March, while marching from the battery to camp after a drill, Private Halsey said "he was tired of this nonsense, and that there would be some fun in the harbor the next morning." When drilling at the guns on the following morning, to the astonishment of everybody, one of them was found to be loaded, the shot from which struck Fort Sumter. Of course no one knew anything about it. Col. Maxcy Gregg in his report to Gen. Beauregard says "he does not suspect that it was put in by any man intentionally."
Gen. Hampton in an address to Hart's Battery said "that they were literally the last guns fired in defense of Southern liberty," in a skirmish near Raleigh, N.C., just before the surrender of Johnson's army. The battery on that occasion was commanded by Capt. Halsey."
Hiram B. Olney , William A. Courtenay, Adams and Robert A. Blum are shown in a photo near Castle Pinckney at the start of the war. (The original photo from the Library of Congress shows a water bucket on the table right of R.A. Blum with WLI on it (Washington Light Infantry.) Hiram Olney was later shot in the shoulder at Richmond but lived. William A. Courtenay later became the mayor of Charleston. Robert A. Blum was another brother-in-law of the Olney clan. He died of disease sometime during the war. By the way, H.B. Olney was the grandson of Revolutionary War hero Captain Stephen Olney and son of George Washington Olney, a journalist and prominent figure in Charleston during the War.
Olney, Blum and Halsey are all buried in Magnolia cemetery.
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