Jul/Aug 2014 Nonfiction

The Holt Letters, Letter Two

Presented by David Ewald

Hartland June 8th 1862

                                        My Dear Son It is with
great pleasure that I learn you have survived the
shocking disaster which betel the Banks Division.
likewise that so many escaped as did but such things
will hapen in War times those rebels will have to
be watched closely on all sides and at all times I
doo not understand yet whi Banks strength was
taken from him at that time. I suppose it is known
by somebody that knows more than I doo. I learn
by what you wrote to your mother that you were
in a close engagement with the rebels and you can
know and understand the nature of them better than
I can tell you. But all I have to say is nerve
your selves up to the work of clearing the country
of them so that they never will show their serpan
tile heads so long as there is a national existance
on earth. It has ben one of the most Brutal wars thus
far that has taken place on this side of the continant
I am glad to learn that you think well of your
General in command; it is a mark of a good soldier
to love and respect their commanders I have always
had a verry good opinion of Gen Banks he originated from
a poor boy and has made himself what you see
him to be now a kind simpathiser with the soldiers
who have gone into the service of the country exposeing
themselves to fatiegue hardship and privation to save the
national honour. I read a letter from you Dated at
Strasburg a few days before the retreat since then I did
not know where to direct too I was glad to hear that
you were well for that is the main thing to depend upon
in this world of trial and trouble. My health has improved
some what since I wrote you I am perfectly overrun
with work this spring matters are going on about as usual
in this neighbourhood I think Mr Brown is not much
better Wil Elexander hung himself last week was full of
Rot gut. I am haveing considerable done about the insid
of the house Mr Stephen Marcy is to work a month
I occupy the old red factory for a shop it makes a
good roomy place for my work I have it so fixed that
I can draw a wagon up and let it down with a windles
alone take a body off and put it on alone with the
same machine which makes it verry convenient for
me. I wish you to write as often as you can and
let us know as much as you can about affairs among
you it is always interesting to hear from you
it is an excuseable case for not writeing when your
affects are distroyed by fire better so than let the
rebels get them I will close by wishing you
comefort and enjoyment if possible to be enjoyed
in your situation

This from your ever affectionate Father

Oliver Holt



Major General Nathaniel P. Banks, Union commander from Massachusetts.

After General Jackson's May 25th dawn attack on Winchester; rebels chased Union troops all the way to the Potomac River.

Strasburg: town located in Shenandoah Valley.

Rot gut: whiskey poisoning (overdrinking).


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