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Amos M. Quick Papers, 1861-1865   
    A gift to SCL Manuscripts Division announced in 2007

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Eight letters, 20 October 1861 - 30 May 1862 and 13 February 1865, including ones written from on board the steamer Winfield Scott and from Beaufort, South Carolina, to family members in New Milford, Pennsylvania, document the Civil War service of Amos M. Quick, a private in Co. D, 50th Regiment, Pennsylvania Infantry.

His first three letters, written from on board ship while waiting to embark for South Carolina, detail various aspects of camp life and convey his optimism and devotion to the Union cause. In his letter of 20 October 1861, he proclaims, “We are going to some place to have an awful old fight and I hope we will be successful....remember death never comes to soon if necessary in the defense of ones Country....I tell you Mark I like it first rate, nothing to worry me take things cool...I believe I am growing fat.”

Quick’s letter of 27 October 1861 answers his sister Harriet’s questions about laundry and sleeping arrangements. He states that while on board the ship they “wash in a pail with cold water” but while in camp the men “have warm water if we choose and soap.” He notes that if they wish they “can have them washed by the wimen around the camp but most of the Boys do their own.” In the same letter he informs her that while in camp they have “a snug little tent about 7 by 9 ft. and 5 of us Boys in one…[we] have Oil Cloth capes which we lay down first on the ground which keeps out the damp then we put 2 Blankets under us and have 3 over us then all put on our heavy overcoats and lay down spoon fasion we sleep like pigs in the clover.”

Quick’s next letter, dated 4-5 November 1861, recounts his journey to the South Carolina coast, and relays information regarding the beginning of the battle for Port Royal. He describes in detail “a perfect gale,” historically known as the “Expedition Hurricane,” which the fleet passed through shortly after midnight on 2 November. He notes that at 1:00 a.m. it was discovered that the Winfield Scott had a leak and had “6 ft. of water in the hole.” Some of the soldiers were rescued around daybreak by another ship in the fleet, however Quick was not among these lucky few. After bailing some of the water the soldiers began to throw provisions and equipment, including their muskets, overboard. Luckily one of the ship’s engineers had stayed aboard and was able to “run the engine.” His unit rejoined the remainder of the fleet, which he thought was grouped “off Sevanah” on the morning of 4 November. He assumes that they “will attack the city before long” but notes, “we probaly will not be in the fight for we have got no guns.” Writing on the morning of 5 November, Quick states that they “are now in some harbor the gun Boats are in to the shore canonadeing is now going on we can see the smoke and see the Boats, I think it is a fort near Sevanah.”

In actuality, he was witnessing the attack on Forts Beauregard and Walker which guarded the entrance to Port Royal, S.C. He closes his letter by explaining that “this ship or wreck is going to Philadelphia and the Capt. will take letters. If it sinks you will proba[b]ly not get this letter.”

The final three letters, written from near Beaufort, South Carolina, relate details regarding various aspects of camp life and describe a skirmish near Pocotaligo on 29 May 1862. Writing on 25 December 1861, Quick describes the accommodations he and twelve other members of his company share while on picket duty as “a very beautiful place a large brick house full of Books and fine furniture crockery and there is also a grand Pianno which we boys make ring.” The final letter from Quick in the collection, written on 30 May 1862, describes an attempt by his regiment to destroy a rail road bridge near Pocotaligo. Quick did not participate in the fight due to “a lame leg caused by a sprain” but he had learned that “We had 2 killed...and 9 or 10 wounded. We took 2 or 3 Prisoners and a large quanty of mules and horses….Our Regt. killed 7 or 8....One or two was wounded in our Co. Capt. got a horse, saddle Bridle, sword Pistols etc. a real splendid horse.” Shortly after this skirmish the 50th was moved to Virginia where it was incorporated into the 9th Corps.

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