Last page of Holmes' letter. HCP Collection

Jan 29th 1862

Bro Matthew

After a very long time I sit down to write you a letter. I am at your father’s now. They are well, I have just been reading your letters written home.

Nothing gives me more pleasure here than to hear that you are true to God

Now for the reason why I have not written I have been quite sick for several weeks past. My circuit is in a very low state & my time has been mostly occupied in trying to elevate that. I am not holding a meeting north west of Hickory Corners about three miles. Some interest manifested Hope in God many will be saved. The church all over is so Excited about the war that many if not entirely backslidden are so far from God that no signs of life are exhibited. Bro Matthew it makes one mourn to see the church so dead when it ought to be the widest awake. I am doing the best I can to preach the truth to the people. The Devil kicks at me occasionally, but I try to keep near enough to God so that he cannot hurt me. O what need for praying, for our Country, for our Soldiers, for the advancement of piety for the coming of the kingdom of God. Nothing better qualifies a man in whatever station of life, for usefulness than religion. O what peace, courage, glory Thank God for salvation. Good in peace, good in war, good in sickness & in health. Swearing suits some people but not me. Card playing some, but not me. Drinking some, but not me. If I am not bearing the banner of our Country at the head of an army I trust I am bearing the banner of Jesus over hill & through the valley. Upon its broad silken stream – may be read in emblazoned letters “Jesus died to save you
Come to Jesus, Just now”

O how cheering to the way worn itinerant while reflecting that a few more storms will end the battle, a few more rounds will end the strife, victory gained, Heaven won.

You thought I had forgotten you not so. I seldom think of the war but what I think of Bro Matthew his friends past scenes.

But I must write you some news

1 Emery Jackson & Jacob Mott have come home, discharged, reason, sickness, came to day

2 Brother Fulkerson is dead, was buried one week ago last Saturday sick 72 days, typhus fever often awakened the people in the night by his shouting. Gone to the “upper Homestead” thank God I’m on the track

‘Tis then will sing & offerings bring
When we meet to part no more’

3 Jefferson Stanton is not married your father heard them bell [illegible], but they were fooled.

4 I do not know that is will be news but I will venture it. This clap is very low, about to smash I fear, very little union, very little love of course  Bunnep versus Clarke, Democrat versus Republicans, Secessionists versus “true blues”

All the classes on the circuit save this, are doing papably well. I intend mounting my artillery & by the help of God “blow up” the Devils batteries on some points yet, pray for me that the lord will direct the charge to the right spot. Very few revivals I hear of by this winter One minister (Wesleyan) preached every night for five weeks & not a soul converted.

Now Matthew I want you to write to me frequently, perhaps I shall not answer every one in their turn, for I shall be away from home, but I will write to you as often as I can. I should like to hear how the hospital looks, how many in it – preachers, prayer meetings, rations, everything. I am ignorant of every think almost. You need fear, but what you are instructing a child.

Your mother says she will answer your last letter as soon as she possibly can.

“O watch & fight & pray
The battle ne’er give o’er
O Renew it boldly every day
And help divine  [?]”

Yours Joel H Holmes

My address is
Bedford Calhoun Co Mich

Tracking down Joel H. Holmes has been problematic. He likely lived in Barry County at some point, given his familiarity with many of Baird’s acquaintance and visiting with Baird’s parents. Joel could perhaps be a relation of Levi Holmes, who lived in Woodland, Michigan. Levi had eight children, Joel is not listed among them, and was a religious man who served as preacher in his own church. From a History of Allegan and Barry Counties, Michigan, 1880.

Emory Jackson and Jacob Mott, mentioned above, enlisted in Company H, Merrill Horse along with Baird’s brother Samuel in August 1861. Jackson died of disease in February 1862 while at home in Michigan. Mott was discharged on a surgeon’s certificate in February 1862, there is no mention of him returning to the military.


Who’s Matthew Baird?