Holliday, Jonas P.
Age: 33, credited to New York
Unit(s): 1st VT CAV, 2nd US CAV
Service: comn COL, 1st VT CAV, 2/14/62 (2/14/62), (prewar CPT, 2nd US CAV), d/suicide 4/5/62
See Legend for expansion of abbreviationsVITALS
Birth: unknown, Unknown
Burial: Burns Cemetery, Burns, NY
Marker/Plot: Not recorded
Gravestone researcher/photographer: Heidi McColgan
Findagrave Memorial #: 39032629
Alias?: None noted
College?: USMA 50
Veterans Home?: Not Found
(If there are state digraphs above, this soldier spent some time in a state or national soldiers' home in that state after the war)
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Burns Cemetery, Burns, NY
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Jonas P. Holliday
FROM THE CAVALRY REGIMENT --- DEATH OF COL. HOLIDAY --- THE VERDICT OF THE COURT OF INQUIRY
The following gives the main facts, in connection with the death of this officer. Capt. Sawyer spoke of his insanity as being caused by his opinion by an anxiety for the welfare of the regiment. At the time of taking the command, which he accepted with great reluctance, he was promised three or four months in which to fit his men for service; but hardly a week had passed before they were ordered forward to active work. The Col. knew they were in no condition to take the field, and that is was a sacrifice of as good men and material as the world can produce, to bring them forward so soon. Being naturally of a nervous temperament, and not very robust, his cares so worried him that for five days and nights he was without sleep. This of itself was enough was enough to produce insanity. In addition to this he had many warm friends in the south, and though a good Union man, he had no heart for the war. Capt. Sawyer speaks of him as a good officer and says that his loss is deeply felt by the regiment. At Baltimore the corpse was placed in the hands of an undertaker, by whom it was dressed in his uniform of his rank, and provided with a splendid burial case; and the Captain had the pleasure of delivering it to his friends, among whom were five brothers, in an almost life-like state.
EDENBURG, Va. April 6
That which to-day enlists the attention of most, is the melancholy suicide of Col. Jonas P. Holiday, Vermont Cavalry, who this morning shot himself upon the bank of the Shenandoah. Arriving at the Stone Bridge, which is alluded to in my last letter, which crosses a narrow creek a few miles this side of Strasburg, he turned away from the road, down the creek to the river, tied his horse to a bush, went to the river brink, drew the fatal weapon, sent a bullet through his forehead, and fell into the water, where his Adjutant, Edgar Pitkin of Burlington, Vt. found him but a few moments before his last breath was drawn.
His connection with the regiment had been short --- not more than a month, but he had so attached himself, the sympathies of his men in the time, that they are now cast into a deep gloom, not only for personal attachment to their colonel but for the fear in this important crisis which now seems pending, they may not find another who will fill the place of the one they have lost. The act was the result of melancholy --- of insanity, perhaps; for the lamented colonel had on several recent occasions, shown the strange condition of mind which is often the premonitor of such a deed; and upon the very night before, his chaplain, Rev. J.H. Woodward, had remarked in him the most singular bearing which he had ever witnessed in any man.
So great was the anxiety which he had manifested for some time past, that some of the officers were not suprised at this calamity. Upon the previous evening there was occasion for someone to notify a farmer who lived four miles away, of their intended departure upon the following morning, to enable him to secure his receipts for forage which had been taken; as there would be some danger in the undertaking, Ashby's cavalry having been seen in that direction during the day, the colonel was in a dilemma between exposing his own men to danger and the farmer for his loss of dues. Chaplain Woodward volunteered himself for the service, with two other soldiers, started through the darkness. This seemed to be a cause of anxiety for the colonel, who said he had acted contrary to his judgement. For some time past his mind has been in this sensitive condition, which rendered him a victim to this act of self-destruction.
He was born in central New York, was graduated from West Point in 1851, where he took a high position, and those who knew him bear warm testimony to his excellent qualities as a man and as a soldier. He was thirty-five years of age and gave promise of prominence and usefulness. So short a time connected with the First Vermont Cavalry he had gained a firm hand upon the hearts of officers and soldiers, and was held in universal regard and respect of the whole regiment, who mourn the loss of a man whose place they fear will not be easily filled This is particularly felt by them now, believing, as they do, that they are just on the eve of action.
The following verdict was rendered by the court of inquiry, to inquire into the cause and circumstance attending the death:
That the deceased, J. P. Holiday, late Colonel First Vermont Cavalry, came to his death from a bullet wound, made by some person or persons unknown, but from the evidence adduced the court is of opinion that the wound by his own hand. Joel B. Earhardt, Judge Advocate, Wm. D. Collins, Major First Vermont Volunteer Cavalry, Capt. S.G. Perkins, First Vermont Cavalry, Capt. F. Moore, First Vermont Cavalry.
A detachment of Co. A. commanded by Lieut. Erhardt, were detailed to accompany the body to Winchester as an escort, where it will be placed upon the cars and taken to new York in charge of Capt. E. B. Sawyer, Company I.
Source: Lamoille Newsdealer: August 18, 1862
Courtesy of Deanna French.