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Hardinsburg in Breckinridge County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)
 

Joseph Holt, Father of the Judge Advocates

 
 
Joseph Holt, Father of the Judge Advocates Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, November 14, 2020
1. Joseph Holt, Father of the Judge Advocates Marker
Inscription.  
The second-son of a wealthy Breckinridge County family, Joseph Holt inherited 10,000 acres of lush farmland here along the Ohio River. Though he was away for many years, this place was always home.

Influential and Powerful
Joseph Holt developed a keen interest in polities while practicing law in Mississippi. A lifelong Democrat, he backed James Buchanan in the 1856 presidential election. He helped secure Kentucky's vote and victory for the Democratic Party. For his efforts, Buchanan appointed Holt to three successive posts during his administration, including secretary of war.

A Staunch Unionist
Holt, a slave owner, was conflicted over the institution. He wrote, “Slavery is contrary to every principle of justice, every precept of morality, every feeling of humanity, every sentiment of honor.” His brother, Robert, a Mississippi planation owner, railed against the government that Joe Holt felt honor-bound to defend.

When the Civil War began, Joe Holt supported President Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, and openly condemned Kentucky's stance of neutrality.
Joseph Holt, Father of the Judge Advocates Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, November 14, 2020
2. Joseph Holt, Father of the Judge Advocates Marker
The Holt family cemetery is in the background.
Holt was instrumental in keeping the Commonwealth in the Union.

Camp Joe Holt
In July 1861, a Union recruiting and training center was established in Jeffersonville, Indiana, and named Camp Joe Holt in his honor. There, just across the Ohio River from Louisville, thousands of loyal Kentuckians enlisted in the Union army.

Judge Advocate General
In July. 1862, Congress created the office of Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Army. Two months later, President Lincoln appointed Holt to the position, which he held for over thirteen years.

A Forgotten Man
In the years following the Civil War, Kentucky, though a Union state, embraced the “Lost Cause” espoused by former Confederates. Those who had served the Union fell out of favor and Holt's contributions to the nation were forgotten. Unionist and “Father of the Judge Advocates,” Holt loved his country and left a legacy of which Kentuckians can be proud.

Captions:
Left: General Joseph Holt, Judge Advocate General, ca. 1865. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division
Right: Camp Joe Holt, established during Kentucky's short-lived period of neutrality, became a hospital facility in 1862. It closed in 1866. Indiana Historical Society
Judge Joseph Holt image. Click for full size.
Library of Congress
3. Judge Joseph Holt
Photo taken between 1860 and 1875, Brady-Handy photograph collection, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Government & PoliticsMilitaryWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #15 James Buchanan, and the Former U.S. Presidents: #16 Abraham Lincoln series lists.
 
Location. 37° 54.77′ N, 86° 34.628′ W. Marker is in Hardinsburg, Kentucky, in Breckinridge County. Marker is on State Road 144, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 6205 KY-144, Hardinsburg KY 40143, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named Joseph Holt (a few steps from this marker); Joseph Holt and Abraham Lincoln (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Joseph Holt (approx. 5 miles away); First Coal Oil (approx. 6.1 miles away); Cloverport Veterans Monument (approx. 6.1 miles away); Breckinridge County Veterans Memorial (approx. 6.1 miles away); Lincoln Family Trail (approx. 6.1 miles away); Early Shipping Point (approx. 6.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hardinsburg.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 13, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 17, 2020, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 50 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 17, 2020, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.   3. submitted on December 11, 2020, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.
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Feb. 25, 2021