AUGUSTA — In recognition of the Civil War Sesquicentennial (150 years), Secretary of State Charlie Summers will be hosting a book signing by Maine author Professor Elizabeth D. Leonard on December 13 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the Maine State Archives Search Room. Her latest book, “Lincoln’s Forgotten Ally,” is the first comprehensive biography of Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt, according to a news release.

Holt — the stern, brilliant and deeply committed Unionist from Kentucky — spent the first several months of the Civil War successfully laboring to maintain Kentucky’s loyalty to the Union. He later went on to serve as President Lincoln’s judge advocate general. In his capacity as the administration’s chief arbiter and enforcer of military law, hes strove tenaciously — often against strong resistance — to implement Lincoln’s wartime policies, including emancipation. After Lincoln’s assassination, Holt was responsible for pursuing and bringing to justice everyone involved in John Wilkes Booth’s conspiracy. Despite his important role in American history, Joseph Holt has been largely overlooked by historians. Through “Lincoln’s Forgotten Ally” Leonard brings his fascinating story to light.

Leonard is the John J. and Cornelia V. Gibson Professor of History at Colby College. She has authored several other books, including “Lincoln’s Avengers: Justice, Revenge, and Reunion after the Civil War.”
The book signing, featuring remarks by Leonard, is free and open to the public. Copies of the book will be available for purchase.

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