Charlestown Bunker Hill club.

A brief memorial of Lieut. P. Marion Holmes, of 36th regt., Mass. vols online

. (page 1 of 1)
Online LibraryCharlestown Bunker Hill clubA brief memorial of Lieut. P. Marion Holmes, of 36th regt., Mass. vols → online text (page 1 of 1)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook







LljiliT ?, (!ffiAit)@e« H©LliiS.

1' K E r A V ED H Y T II E

BTJZ^^:ECEI^ hill glttb.

\YaUon'B Press,





(^/ ^r^




36th Reg. iriass. Vols.


Sl)e Bttttkcr (5^11 €lnb, €l)arlc5touia.


7 .^





The funeral of the late Lieut. P. Marion Holmes, of Co. B. 36th
Regt., who was killed at CampbcH's Station, Tenn., in connection with that
of his little sister, Sarah E. Holmes, (a remarkably lovely child, aged
three and a half years, who died suddenly a few days nefore the remains of
her brother were brought honie,j was attended in Charlestown on Monday,
Jan. 18th, 1864. At ten o'clock, A. M., services, at which Rev. J. B. Miles
officiated, were held at the residence of their father, P. Holmes, Esq., on
Adams Street. At the conclusion of the exercises at the house, the remains,
followed by a large cortege of relatives and their sympathizing friends, Averc
conveyed to the First Parish Cliurch on Harvard Hill. The escort duty was
performed by the Charlestown City Guard, Capt. Caleb Drew, of which
Lieut. Holmes was formerly a member, attended by Bond's Band, wliich per-
formed a solemn dirge as the procession marched from the residence of Mr.
Holmes to the church. The bodies of the patriot son and brother, and of
the cherished daughter and sister, were placed side by side, in front of the
pulpit, which was draped by the American flag and emblems of mourning.
The large church edifice was filled to its utmost capacity, and many who
came were unable to obtain admission. Among those in attendance were
His Honor Mayor Stone and the members of the City Government, quite a
large delegation of naval officers in full uniform ; also the members of the
Bunker Hill Club, of which Lieut. Holmes was a member, and the returned
members of the Warren Plialanx. The exercises at the church consisted of
an appropriate voluntary on the organ by Mr. Wm. H. Goodwin, organist of
the First Parish, introductory prayer by Rev. J. B. Miles, pastor, a dirge by
the Band, the reading of selections of Scripture by Rev. Mr. Miles ; after
which the choir of the First Church chanted a funeral anthem.* Tiie Rev.
Mr. Silloway of Boston, pastor of the church with Avhich Mr. Holmes' fam-
ily is connected, then followed with a short discourse befitting the occasion ;
after which an address, having reference to the military career of the deceased
hero, was given by Rev. Mr. Miles. At the conclusion of Mr. Miles' ad-
dress, prayer was offered by Rev. Mr. Silloway, after which the choir sang,
in a very pathetic and impressive manner, the touching and beautiful stanzas
commencing, "Beloved, it is well," &c. The benediction, pronounced by
Mr. Miles, closed the services. The bodies were then placed in one hearse,
and escorted in the same order in which they arrived at the church, to the
Old Colony Depot in Boston, to be conveyed to the family tomb in Kings-
ton, Mass. The members of the Bunker Hill Club, as also those of the War-
ren Phalanx, and the naval officers and citizens, followed the body to the cars.
Lieutenants G. H. Marden, B. F. Hatch, Charles (J. Pease, John McGrath,
Alonzo S. Ranlett, and Henry L. Swords, served as Pall Bearers. The cer-
emonies throughout were of an unusually imposing and solemn character.



Note. The remarks of Rev. Mr. Miles were extemporaneous, but so far
as his memory recalls them, were, in substance, as follows.

The sensibilities of our deeply afflicted friends have been
so severely taxed the past weeks, and are so tenderly touched
at this hour, and such are the further demands to be made
upon their strength to-day, that I cannot think of entering
upon any protracted remarks. This occasion, however, seems
to demand, at least, a few brief words in reference to the
prominent events of the short, and yet, I may say, brilliant
mihtary career of the young hero, who nobly gave up his life
for his country, at Campbell's Station, Tenn., on the 16th of
November last, and to whose mortal remains, now before us,
we have assembled to pay the last rites of respect and affec-
tion. Our lamented friend, some years since, became a mem-
ber of that honored and cherished military company of which
our city is justly proud, " The Charlestown City Guard,"
which is connected with the 5th Mass. Reg't Infantry. And
at the breaking out of the Rebellion, in April, 1861, a day
that we cannot think of without a shudder, a day emphatically
of darkness and gloominess, a day like that depicted by the

prophet, when all hands fell down, and all hearts melted,
when people were afraid, and pangs and sorrows took hold of
them ; when men were amazed at one another and their faces
were as flames, a day cruel both with wrath and fierce anger ;
that day when came to us through the startled air intelligence
that some of the sons of Massachusetts, soldiers of the gallant
6th Regiment, in the streets of Baltimore, had fallen victims to
the rage of a traitorous mob, while, in obedience to the call of
our Chief Magistrate, thej were hastening to defend our cap-
ital, public buildings and archives from destruction, threat-
ened by armed rebels. In that hour of excitement and ter-
ror, our young friend, together v^'ith his brave comrades, heard
the call of his imperiled country. Hardly waiting to say,
farewell to friends at home, they rushed to the rescue.
They had every reason to expect they would confront the
foe, in battle array, in a few hours. On reaching Washing-
ton, they received no slight compliment in being ordered to
join the troops to whom was assigned the duty of guarding
the United States Treasury. Soon, however, came the word,
" Advance to the front !" and at the disastrous engagement
of Bull Run their heroism was, for the first time, put to the
test of actual battle. It is but just to say, it was no fault of
theirs that the result of that engagement was not a complete

At the expiration of three months, the term embraced in
the call, the company returned to our cit^^, and our departed
friend resumed business. But the wicked Rebellion had not
been crushed. Treason waxed stron;:; and defiant. It was

striking down our young men bj thousands in its high-handed
endeavor to overturn the Government. Such being the state
of things, young Holmes could not remain quietly at home.
His heart, like the hearts of a host of youthful patriots, was
fired with an invincible desire for- the salvation of the country.
Accordingly, in the spring of 1862, he relinquished business
and devoted himself, with indefatigable perseverance, to efforts
for recruiting the company to which was given the honorable
title, '' Warren Phalanx," a band of men, whose deeds have
shown them worthy to bear the name of that immortal hero.
He was commissioned as 2d Lieut, of thi scompany, and on the
2d of September, in connection with the 36th Regiment, to
which the Phalanx had been assigned, sailed for Washington
in the steamer Merrimac. Through the autumn and winter
he was constantly on duty as a member of the Army of the
Potomac, cheerfully sharing all its fatigues, the hardships of
its marches and countermarches, and acting with his com-
pany as the support of a battery in one of the battles at Fred-
ericksburg. In April they were transferred, with the 9th
Army Corps, to Kentucky, and were for a time encamped at
Lexington, hard by the spot where repose the ashes of the
patriot Clay, a spot, the sight of which awakened in our Union
soldiers no ordinary emotions. But our youthful hero and his
companions were not allowed a long rest. They were soon
called to encounter the rebels in a severe skirmish at James -
town, Ky. ; and were thence sent to reinforce the troops, that
under command of the illustrious Gen. Grant, were attempt-
ing to capture Vicksburg. They reached Vicksburg June


19th, and were present at the surrender, — that event which
sent consternation and dismay to the hearts of rebels, and in-
spired all loyal people -with new hope and courage. On the
very day of the surrender, July 4th, they were ordered to
march to Jackson, Miss., a place some forty miles to the east
of Vicksburg. This march was very severe ; the weather
intensely hot, the roads dusty, and a scarcity of water. They
participated in the attack upon Jackson, which lasted three
days. In this terrible conflict many of our brave boys be-
came exhausted and were obliged to be sent to the hospital ;
but Lieut. Holmes was not one of that number. He contin-
ued well, and was not absent from his post of duty for a day.
On the first of August the troops with whom he served
were returned to Kentucky, and there, for his gallantry hav-
ing been previously promoted to the rank of 1st Lieutenant,
he assumed command of the Warren Phalanx. In this posi-
tion of increased responsibihty, he acted with signal efficiency
and acceptableness to his superior officers, and became a fa-
vorite with, almost the idol of, the men under his command.
As acting Captain at the battle of Blue Springs, Tenn., Oct.
10th, he greatly distinguished himself, and although he was
severely wounded by a ball in the ankle, he refused to leave
the field until the battle was over. He was then taken to
the hospital, where with good reason he might have remained
perhaps for weeks ; but such was his fortitude that he re-
turned to duty when, as yet, he could walk with difficulty.
His next place of destination Avas Lenoirs, on the Tennessee
River, some thirty miles below Knoxville, where it was thought

our soldiers were to go into winter quarters. But, unexpect-
edly, they were attacked by the rebels in superior numbers
and compelled to retreat towards Knoxville. It was during
this retreat, at a place called Campbell's Station, that a mus-
ket ball, fired by a rebel, pierced the head of our beloved,
heroic young officer, and laid him low in death. His com-
rades tried immediately, not without great risk, but in vain,
to rescue his body. But with gratitude are we permitted to
refer to two of our fellow-citizens, through whose success-
ful efforts the sacred remains have been brought home for

Such is a hasty notice of the prominent events in the mili-
tary hfe of the lamented P. Marion Holmes. Let no words
of mine dim the glory with which his deeds invest his name.
The facts to which I have briefly adverted, are his most fitting
and eloquent eulogy. How cheerfully he bore the hardships of
the soldier's lot, how nobly he acquitted himself on the battle-
field, these facts sufficiently declare. How tender and vigilant
he was in his care for the men under his command, let their
glowing, affectionate words bear witness. One writes, " I
am just informed of the death of Lieut. Holmes. I feel as
though I had lost a brother." Another says, " He was
hardly fit to have been with his company, on account of the
wound on his foot, received at the battle of Blue Springs.
But his motto was, ' Where my company goes I go.' He has
bravely died a soldier's death." Still another writes, " He
has done his duty nobly." Another still, " Our brave and
good Lieut. Holmes was wounded in the foot, but he refused


to leave the field until the battle was over, and would not stay
In the hospital, not being willing to be away from his com-
pany." And yet another, a commissioned officer of the 36th
Regiment, writes, " I learn, with deep feelings of pain and
regret, that Lieut. P. M. Holmes was killed in the fight at
Campbell's Station. Poor Marion ! He was a splendid man,
a good soldier, kind and attentive ever to the wants and con-
dition of his men. He died a noble death. May his memory
long endure." Surely we need not, although, did timxB per-
mit, we might give additional testimony to the faithfulness,
•the courage, and noble qualities of the young soldier whose
untimely death we mourn. It is, to my mind, a fact of touch-
ing interest, that he was accustomed to wear, and at the time
he fell wore, upon his breast a golden design of the Monu-
ment, around which was inscribed the classic, patriotic motto,
*' Didce est j?ro patria mori^^'' — Sweet is it to die for one's
country. Beautifully appropriate as a badge for him who
heroically suffered and gave his youthful blood, to peyyetaate
our independence, was the design of that granite shaft which
commemorates the deeds of the heroes who achieved our inde-
pendence. Truly the spirit of 177G revived in this young
hero of 1863. And now, shall we, looking upon the lifeless,
mangled remains of one, who, less than two years ago, went
forth from our midst in all the beauty and nobleness of his
young manhood, say that he has died in vain ! Far be it from
us to say that. He has given his precious life, as a noble
host of the choicest sons of Massachusetts have given theirs,
to crush a foul and wicked rebellion. He has died in defence

of the priceless legacy left to us by the Fathers. He has died
to perpetuate our Republican Government, our incomparable
civil, political and religious institutions. He has died in the
defence of freedom and the rights of man. On this account
the Mayor and the gentlemen of the City Government, these
military organizations and these thousands of our citizens
crowd this sanctuary of God, to manifest their profound appre-
ciation of the service he has rendered. I need not say, that
by us all, the memory of P. Marion Holmes will ever be held
dear. His name is now enrolled with the noble dead. With
emotions of esteem and affection will it be spoken by the in-
creasing millions of freemen that in coming generations are to
inhabit this great and rich land. Indeed his name, and the
names of his brave comrades, and the names of the great
army of the martyrs of libertj^, arc destined to be known and
cherished by the lovers of freedom in all lands, through all

To you, my sorely afflicted friends, parents, sisters and bro-
thers of the deceased, how shall I venture to speak. How
shall I hope to command vrords gentle enough, tender enough
to soothe the anguish of your bleeding hearts. Verily you
can say, " God moves in a mysterious way ;" his judgments
are a great deep, and his ways past finding out. " All thy
waves and thy billows have gone over me." While your
hearts were torn by the intelligence that your first born, your
strong staff and beautiful rod had been slain upon a distant
battle field, and you were in daily expectation of his lifeless
remains, death entered your quiet, peaceful dwelhng, and sud-


denly cut down your youngest in all the sweetness and beauty
of her opening childhood. Transfigured by death how peace-
fully she sleeps beside the loving brother. But oh, say not
this charming flower has been nipped by an untimely frost.
This flower, which had begun to open in such loveliness in
your earthly home, has been transferred to the paradise above ;
in that more congenial soil and clime to flourish and bloom
with a diviner lovehness. Say not this light, which had begun
in a manner so pleasing, to illumine your dwelling, has been
quenched. It has only been transferred to the celestial
world, there to shine with an ever increasing glory. Look
not for your darling Sarah in this casket. Look upward
rather, and by faith behold your angel child, her sweet face
beaming with the white radiance of Heaven, her little hands
extended, beckoning you up to our Father's home on high.
Blessed be God, there are consolations sufficient for you.
Let your faith take firm hold of the truth that " God is love."

" Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,

But trust him for his grace ;
Behind a frowning providence

He hides a smiling face."

Painful, almost crushing as your sorrows are. Love has sent
them, oh yes, a love tenderer than is the love of an earthly
father or an earthly mother. The heartiest and warmest
sympathy of human friends is yours. But a sympathy and
solace more effectual than all earthly friends can give, you
now demand. With joy, I, therefore, commend you to Ilim,


who has revealed himself to us as the Father of mercies and
the Crod of all comfort. Oh, my afflicted friends, to Him bring
your wounded hearts ; to Him tell your anguish.

" Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal."

May God, without whose gracious providence, not even a
sparrow falls, abundantly support and comfort your hearts,
and so sanctify unto you this and all 3''our sorrows, that when
on earth your labors are done, and your trials ended, you
may all be prepared for that bright v^orld, where God shall
wipe away all tears from all eyes ; where there shall be no
more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be
any more pain. Into that blessed home above may you all,
at last, be gathered, an unbroken family in Heaven.


Charlestown, Jan. 4, 1864.

At a regular meeting of the Bunkek Hill Club, holden this

evening, the following resolutions were unanimously adopted : —

Whereas^ by the death of Lieut. P. Marion Holmes, (who fell
while gallantly defending his country on the field of battle,) the mem- |
bers of this Club have to lament the loss of one of its most valued
members, they cannot willingly consent to this separation from their |
beloved companion, without paying that deserved tribute, which words
can but feebly express, to the noble and generous qualities, manly '
bearing, and devoted patriotism, which won for him the love and 'g;
respect of all associated with him in civil life, and endeared him to ^
those brave comrades in arms, who, like him, were ready to give up I
all, even life itself, to support the Constitution and Laws of the nation,


maintain its existence, and sustain the supremacy of its glorious flag. |

Resolved, That while we feel inadequate to offer ^vords of consola- J
tion to the bereaved parents, brother and sisters of our deceased
friend in this irreparable loss, we cannot refrain from tendering our
most heartfelt sympathy to them, and to bear most cordial testimony
to his moral worth, and to the esteem in which he was held by all v,^ho
had the good fortune of his acquaintance. His memory will ever be
cherished by us, and his name forever engraved upon the roll of
American Patriots, a lasting monument for the admiration and grati-
tude of generations yet to follow.

Voted, That these resolutions be entered upon tlie records, and a
copy forwarded to the parents of Lieut. Holmes. " / \


Online LibraryCharlestown Bunker Hill clubA brief memorial of Lieut. P. Marion Holmes, of 36th regt., Mass. vols → online text (page 1 of 1)