These two letters were written by David U. Quick (1841-Aft1910), the son of Alfred P. Quick (1807-18xx) and Amanda Pelletreau (1818-1891) of Orange county, New York. David was working as a school teacher when he enlisted in September 1862 to serve three years in Co. K of the 124th New York Infantry, (a. k. a., the “Orange Blossoms”). David was wounded in the face and arm at the Battle of Boydton Road on 27 October 1864 during which he “behaved with conspicuous gallantry” and was subsequently promoted.
He wrote the letters to his cousin, John Henry Backster (1854-1863) who served in Co. F, 27th New Jersey Infantry—a nine months unit organized in August 1862. John died of typhoid fever at Aquia Creek General Hospital in late January 1863.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER ONE
Addressed to Mr. J. Henry Baxter, Amity, Orange county, N. Y.
Bellvale, Orange Co., N. Y.
Sunday, June 1st 1862
My regards John,
I believe I have not answered your last letter. I will endeavor to do so now. I think the majority of my friends have discarded me altogether. Port Jervis is a sealed book to me. I have been trying for some time past to get word from there but so far my efforts have proved unsuccessful.
I have just returned from Sabbath School and an now sitting in my sanctum enjoying the comforts of solitude. We are having a very gentle rain today. It is hopeful that it will continue for a day or two as it is very greatly needed. Are not upland meadows already injured on account of the drouth?
The news from the West yesterday are quite significant. You will doubtless hear of the evacuation of Corinth before this reaches you. Telegrams last night state that Gen. Pope had captured 4,000 of the retreating rebels. You will have to cross General Halleck off your books as you did McClellan. He has been within a very short distance of Corinth for some time and yet the rebels have given him the slip. I have not much doubt that the rebels will evacuate Richmond in the same manner and I shall not grumble if they do.
I still have confidence in General McClellan and think he has managed affairs very judiciously so far in his Peninsular Campaign. Some of our extreme Republicans denounce him and the administration without any just cause. In this place, all who do not stand up for General Hunter and his proclamation are denominated “secesh.” I, for one, think that Hunter had no business to issue any such paper. He will have enough to do if he attends to the military affairs of his department without meddling with the civil. That subject properly belongs to the President and to Congress and when they say general emancipation, I shall try to sustain them in it.
My health is not as good as it might be. I have over forty scholars everyday. I do not expect to be at your place before July. I have a vacation of four weeks then, and think I will work out doors during that time.
My regards to all. Yours &c. — D. Quick
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER TWO
Addressed to John H. Backster, Newton & Milburn Co., Camp Frelinghusen, Newark, N. J.
Care of Capt. Bailey
Bellvale, Orange county, New York
September 11th 1862
My regards John,
Your very kind letter of the 7th inst. was received about an hour since. I was not much surprised on the receipt of your letter as I had been previously advised of your movements. Gabriel Houston was through this place one day last week. He gave me a brief account of the doings at N. Vernon. But I thank you, John, for writing me so soon after your arrival in camp. I trust you will write me as frequently as possible and if I do not answer “every time round,” it will be because I can’t.
Our Goshen Regiment left for the “seat of war” on Saturday of last week. The Boys went away in good spirits. I was there to see them off and bid them goodbye.
Well, John, I am glad to learn that you enjoy camp life. There is no use in getting “down at the mouth,” as some folks say. One might as well keep his spirits in tune as to go moping around more dead than alive.
The Militia Roll for this town is about completed. I think you may set it down as a settled fact that a draft will soon be made here, but how soon I am unable to say. I believe that pedagogues are exempt from military duty. I think that no profession should be exempt. Were the Governor of this state to authorize the raising of nine months volunteers, a draft would be unnecessary. An attempt is being made to raise another regiment of three years men in this county but I am pretty confident it will not succeed.
I think I will pay you a visit the latter part of next week. My health is not very good. I do not think the draft has anything to do with it, however.
My best respects to Charles A. Crissey and the other boys of your company. I will write more at some other time. Yours as ever, — D. Quick
2 thoughts on “1862: David U. Quick to John H. Backster”
I am descended from the Backsters of Sussex County, NJ. John Henry Backster’s dates are 1846 – 1863, he was 17 when he died.
P.S. Thanks so much for preserving these documents.