Recently, the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library acquired a collection of four Civil War letters written to Reverend Alonzo Hall Quint, the chaplain of the Second Massachusetts Volunteers and a Freemason. Below are images from two of the letters in this collection, as well as a transcription for both, which highlight Quint's humanity and his contributions to the Fraternity.
Boston, Aug. 24 1862
Revd. Alonzo H. Quint
Chaplain of the 2d Regt of Mass. Volunteers
My Dear Sir, I received by Thomas Connolly your letter of the 12th instant. For the account given of my son [William Blackstone Williams], and for your thoughtfulness in sending a lock of his hair, you have the heart felt thanks of myself and all my family. I was not prepared for the sad event, and I feel humbled that I was not, for the life of [a] true soldier is always uncertain. His business is to cheerfully obey orders whatever may be the result. My son, I believed to be cool and courageous, with a quick eye to perceive, and not wreckless [sic], and I had never thought that he would be killed in this war, but he died, as a patriot should die, in the cause of his country. He was my youngest son, and I mourn his loss, for he was a generous, manly, gallant boy. for yourself he had an affectionate regard, and always spoke of you, as the best man he knew, for the place you fill, and
I am happy to bear testimony of the same expression from other officers in your regiments. In fact, they say you were on the battlefield doing what you could for the dead and wounded all night after the battle. May God reward you for all your humane and patriotic deeds, and may he save our beloved country in this terrible hour of her tryal [sic]. Tom says he was near my son, when he was shot, that he with another helped him off a short distance, until the suffering was so great, that he ordered them to lay him down, and that when he was found, he was in a different place, and that there was in addition to the shot in the body, an apparent bayonet thrust in the neck. Will you tell me if you noticed any such thing. [sic] For your very kind notice of my son, and your consoling letter, in this my time of severe tryal [sic], you will always have my respect and esteem.
Boston, Nov. 17, 1864
During his three-year military service to the country and throughout his life, Alonzo Hall Quint played an active role in the development and growth of Freemasonry. In 1861, after being mustered into the Army, Quint took on a leadership role in his regiment’s lodge, Bunker Hill Army Lodge, No. 5. He served as the Lodge’s Senior Warden, a position he held for the duration of the Lodge’s existence, and on several occasions served as the Lodge’s Acting Master, a position thrust upon Quint because of personnel changes, battle-related or otherwise. After Quint completed his military service in 1864, he continued his active participation and support of the Fraternity. In 1870, he accepted the appointment to the office of Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in great part to take a stand against the rebirth of the Anti-Masonic movement.
Alonzo Hall Quint died on November 4, 1896; an article in the Boston Evening Transcript commemorated his life, a life well lived.
Letter from Moses Williams to Alonzo Hall Quint, August 24, 1862. Collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, MA 390.003.
Letter from Grand Master William Parkman to Alonzo Hall Quint, November 17, 1864. Collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, MA 390.003.