Jul/Aug 2014 Nonfiction

The Holt Letters, Letter Three

Presented by David Ewald

Hartland July 18th 1862

                                   My Dear Son Henry

It is with great pleasure that I address a
few lines to you and inform you that we
are all well in this vicinity it is some little
time since we have heard from you or any
of your boys we are hopeing soon to hear
from some of you and learn how you are
getting along down in the vally there has
ben a hard fight in the vicinity of Richmond
since I have heard from you there has
ben great havoc made among our troops at
that battle I should judge by the account
we get from there it proved different from
what I hoped it would I was in hopes to
have McCianan come out completely victorious
but it proves other wise and probably there
will have to be another hard battle to decide
the case at that place I think as I have
ever thought that we have got to have our
eyes open and up and a dooing and pushing
a head with vigor and energy suffisient to keep
the rebels in check if possible. Jackson with
his forces slipt into Richmond it appears and
struck the first and most fatal blow at our
army. whole ly unexpected to our Commanders
they should of ben more closely watched and
kept out if possible or our army should
of struck before they reached there.
But as I am no General I will not pretend to
direct. I think if I were I should adopt the
Bony part principal Consolidate all the armys
into one and have enough to make a clean
sweep as they went through the confederate
states so that they would never rear their heads
again. if so take the back track and clean them
out the second or even the third time if necessary
since the defeat at Richmond the rebels have
pricked up their heads all over the country
with more vigor than ever therefore it will
take a great many hard battles to keep them
down for a great while to come but we
must look ahead for better times and better
management if necessary in order to
cleans out the evil. I have just heard
from you by way of your mother
and am verry glad to hear from you
and know that you was well the
forth and 5th of July I wrote you
the forth and sent my likeness
I think you must of got it before
this your mother will probably
send hers when she can get a good
one to send I think mine looked
firrst rate what doo you think a
bout it your mother did not like
it thought it not fit to send I think
the face looked like me and nothing
els it is getting dark and I must
close by wishing the best of blessings
to rest down upon you and all
of you in arms against rebellion
my best respects to the Hartland
Boys & others that I became acquainted
with at Burlington

This from your affectionate Father

Oliver Holt



"Vally": Shenandoah Valley.

"Hard fight" refers to Jackson's quite successful Valley Campaign. "Jackson coolly waited until the Federal panic was at its height…and then slipped swiftly down to Richmond" (AH, pg. 117).

George B. McClellan ("McCianan"): Major General in the Union army.

Stonewall Jackson: an important commander of the Rebels.

"Bony part": Bonaparte Principle. Oliver refers to Napoleon's tactics.


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