Holt, Joseph, 1807-1894Variant names
Joseph Holt, 1807-94, American public official, judge advocate general of the U.S. army (1862-75). A native of Kentucky, he became a well-known lawyer and prominent Democratic politician. In 1857, President Buchanan appointed him commissioner of patents in 1857, and in 1859 he became Postmaster General. In the beginning of 1861, before the outbreak of the Civil War, he was Secretary of War. A staunch opponent of the secession movement, Holt was instrumental in preventing Kentucky from seceding. In Sept. 1862, he was appointed to the newly created office of judge advocate general. In this capacity he presided the trial and punishment of John Wilkes Booth's accomplices. A controversy over the trial that involved charges of misusing the power of a military tribunal and manipulation of the evidence resulted in a growing public demand for his resignation. He remained in office until 1875 and afterwards continued to try to disprove the charges.
From the description of Papers of Joseph Holt, 1800-1893 (bulk1850-1890). (Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens). WorldCat record id: 122551872
American political leader.
From the description of Autograph letter signed : Washington, to Major Theophilus Gaines, 1877 Oct. 3. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 269539481
From the description of Document signed : Washington, 1869 Oct. 4. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 269551630
Lawyer, U.S. cabinet official, political leader, and jurist.
From the description of Joseph Holt : miscellaneous papers, 1857-1867. (Filson Historical Society, The). WorldCat record id: 49242874
U.S. postmaster general, secretary of war, judge advocate general of the U.S. Army, and lawyer.
From the description of Papers of Joseph Holt, 1817-1895 (bulk 1859-1889). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 78814187
Lawyer; U.S. postmaster general, 1859-1861, U.S. secretary of war, 1861; judge advocate general, U.S. Army, 1862-1875.
From the description of Letter : Washington, D.C., to John R. [i.e. P.] Gray, 1864 Dec. 29. (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library). WorldCat record id: 33973592
From the description of Letter: [Washington, D.C.], to Benjamin Stanton, 1861 Feb. 7. (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library). WorldCat record id: 33973594
From the description of Autograph: Washington, [D.C], 1880 May 15. (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library). WorldCat record id: 33973577
From the description of Letter : Washington, D.C., to [Abraham Lincoln], 1865 Feb. 4. (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library). WorldCat record id: 33973590
1807, Jan. 6:
Born, Breckinridge County, Ky.
Opened law office, Elizabethtown, Ky.
Moved to Louisville, Ky. Assistant editor, Louisville Advertiser
1833- 1835: Commonwealth’s attorney, Louisville District, Ky.
1835- 1842: Practiced law, Port Gibson and Vicksburg, Miss.
Returned to Louisville, Ky.
1848- 1851: Toured Europe and Egypt
Supported Franklin Pierce for president
Supported James Buchanan for president
Moved to Washington, D.C.; appointed commissioner of patents
1859- 1861: Postmaster general
Secretary of war
1862- 1875: Judge advocate general of the army
Presided over military commission to try the Abraham Lincoln assassination conspirators
Published “Vindication of Judge Advocate General Holt,” Washington Chronicle
Retired from the army
Published article on trial of Mary Surratt, North American Review
1894, Aug. 1:
Died, Washington, D.C.
From the guide to the Joseph Holt Papers, 1817-1895, (bulk 1859-1889), (Manuscript Division Library of Congress)
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