Holt, Joseph

Life Span
to
Full name
Joseph Holt
Place of Birth
Burial Place
Birth Date Certainty
Exact
Death Date Certainty
Exact
Gender
Male
Race
White
Sectional choice
North
Origins
Slave State
No. of Spouses
2
Family
John Holt (father), Eleanor Stephens (mother), Mary Harrison (first wife), Margaret Wickliffe (second wife)
Education
Other
Other Education
St. Joseph's College, KY; Centre College, KY
Occupation
Politician
Military
Attorney or Judge
Journalist
Military
Union Army
US military (Post-Civil War)

Joseph Holt (American National Biography)

Scholarship
Holt's unionism, however, grew considerably more ardent in the wake of Abraham Lincoln's presidential victory. As secession became reality, Holt became, along with Jeremiah Black and Edwin Stanton, one of the stalwart Union men in the lame-duck administration, pressing Buchanan to be resolute, even as other cabinet members equivocated or cast their lot with the South. In December 1860 Secretary of War John Floyd decamped, and Holt was appointed in his stead. Determined to keep hold of what the federal government had retained of its property in the South while avoiding outright provocation, Holt made plain to Robert Anderson, Fort Sumter's commander, that reinforcements would be sent, but only upon Anderson's request. Holt even prepared a force to deliver the men and supplies, but Anderson made no such demand of him. Holt also removed P. G. T. Beauregard, whose secessionist leanings were unmistakable, from his position as superintendent of West Point and bolstered Washington's defenses. After briefing the incoming Lincoln administration, Holt once again took to the stump, denouncing secession in speeches around the nation, most notably in Kentucky, where in July he lambasted his home state's pretensions to neutrality. If something of a late bloomer in his enthusiasm for "coercion," he came to embrace not only a war for the Union but one for freedom. He later endorsed the Emancipation Proclamation and the enlistment of black troops.
Patrick G. Williams. "Holt, Joseph," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/04/04-00522.html.
Date Event
Joseph Holt confirmed as new Postmaster-General in the Buchanan Cabinet
Postmaster-General Holt threatens action over South Carolina's seizure of U.S. Post Office accounts
Secretary of War John B. Floyd of Virginia resigns and is replaced by Postmaster-General Joseph Holt
Secretary of War Holt dismisses General Twiggs from the U.S. Army for treachery
Secretary of War Edwin Stanton appoints a special commission to investigate fraud in Army contracts
In Washington, President Johnson orders a military trial for John Wilkes Booth's accused fellow plotters
In Washington, the officers of the military court for John Wilkes Booth's accused fellow plotters are named
In Washington, membership of the military court for John Wilkes Booth's accused fellow plotters is adjusted
In Washington, the accused Lincoln Assassination plotters all plead not guilty before their military court
In Washington's Old Penitentiary, the taking of evidence in the Lincoln conspiracy trial begins
- In Washington's Old Penitentiary, the taking of evidence in the Lincoln conspiracy trial continues
In Washington's Old Penitentiary, the taking of evidence in the Lincoln conspiracy trial concludes
- In Washington's Old Penitentiary, final arguments are being made in the Lincoln conspiracy trial
In Washington's Old Penitentiary, the Commission in the Lincoln conspiracy trial begin their deliberations
In Washington, President Andrew Johnson approves the sentences passed down to the Lincoln conspirators
In Washington's Old Penitentiary, the Lincoln conspirators are told their fate in their cells
How to Cite This Page: "Holt, Joseph," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, http://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/5924.