Jul/Aug 2014 Nonfiction

The Holt Letters, Letter Thirteen

Presented by David Ewald

Dundas Aug 31st 1864

                                      Mr Holt:

Dear Sir I was at Stock
bridge last Winter on a visit, just
after your long letter to Mrs Goodell
had been received She read it
with much emotion to me, and
I was so much interested in it I
wanted to bring it home to read to
our folks who have 3 sons and a
son in Law in the Army

Mrs Goodell wanted to have it
answered and so I did not bring it
But she and Mr Goodell were down
in a visit last week Mr Goodell
brought this machine to mow a day
or 2 and your sister came to visit
and brought your letter It was read
again and again with tearful interest
I told her I had a mind to write
you myself and tell you how
much your letter had interested
us all and how much we feel for
you and your dear wife in this time
of bereavement and sorrow
While she was here we had friends
come from New Jersey (where we used
to live) to see us and I could not
then take the time to write for her
She left your letter here and I read
it to these friends and we all feel
your loss was in our countrys behalf &
for our common good and that we are
mourners with you for our young men
slain in battle for the brave boys
that have fallen in battle and still
must fall "How many hearts have
been made to mourn how many
bereft and desolate in the loss of
husbands fathers brothers sons
"How long O Lord how long!

You have laid your all upon our
country's altar the staff that you
thought to lean upon in your old age
is broken yet with David you can say
"the Lord is my Shepherd I shall not
want Thy rod and thy staff they comfort
me" A few months ago I was at the
Bay (Green Bay) and attended the funeral of
a young man whose lifeless body was
preserved in salt and sent home from
Vicksburg to an aged white haired father
and mother, the father long an in
valid The open waggon bearing the coffin
covered with the stars and stripes stopped
at the gate the old man with feeble steps
came to the door and said to the friends
assembled "We all must make sacrifices
for our country There is mine” and
could say no more now he lies beside
his son asleep in Jesus

The commendations bestowed upon
your son must be great comfort to
you and you have the consolations
of the Gospel of that Jesus who is called
the Prince of Peace the Wonderful Conselor
The Mighty Friend Thanks be with
God for his unspeakable gift Who
spared not his own son but freely
offered him up for us all that we
through him might have eternal life

One of our boys has served
his 3 years in the Army was in a number
of battles was wounded once in the foot
Another our youngest and best beloved
has been a prison almost a year
Another is perhaps a prisoner at Fort
Larnard in Kansas A brother of
ours was here a few weeks ago on a
visit from Lawrence Kansas
He helped to bury a hundred and more
men after that dreadful massacre last
summer and told us no language
could describe the seene
Albert Holt your nephew is here to­
night I can send your letter up to
Mrs Goodell in the morning by him
and these little lines with it to go
in Mrs Goodells letter to you
We all feel to thank you very
much for your good long letter
and hope to hear from you again
"Soon shall close our earthly mission
Soon shall pass our pilgrim days
"Hope shall change to glad fruition
Faith to sight and prayer to praise"
All in the house are asleep and with the
prayer that God will sanctify to you all the
dispensations of his providence whether merciful
or afflictive I must close

Yours in chrishan spiritually
and love

Aunt Mary



Stockbridge: a town in southwest Massachusetts.

Dundas: a town of southeast Ontario, a manufacturing suburb of Hamilton.

Vicksburg, Mississippi: Campaign and siege lasted from December, 1862, to July, 1863, with rebel forces finally surrendering.

"Dreadful massacre": "On August 21, 1863, William C. Quantrill and 450 of his bush-wackers raided Lawrence, Kansas, butchering some 150 unarmed citizens. 'The whole business part of the town, except two stores, was in ashes,' wrote a survivor. 'The bodies of dead men were laying in all directions.' The inhabitants of Lawrence were Union sympathizers" (AH, pg. 532).


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