No. 1172. Class of 1843. º
Died, September 18, 1891, in Rochester, N. Y., aged 71.
After a lingering illness of six months' duration, General Isaac F. Quinby died at his home on Prince street, between 6 and 7 o'clock yesterday morning. For a month or more it had been known that General Quinby could not recover, and his death was daily expected. At 2:30 o'clock, yesterday morning, the General awoke from sleep and asked to be moved. He conversed for a moment with his attendants and then went to sleep again. At 5 o'clock he was resting easily but at 6 o'clock the little life that was left began to ebb rapidly away, and although it is not known exactly at what time he died, as he was unconscious, it is thought that it was about 6:30 o'clock.
He was suffering from a complication of diseases, including pleurisy, dropsy, and an affection of the brain. He took to his bed last April. His strong vitality enabled him to withstand the ravages of disease to a remarkable degree, but a month ago he succumbed to this strain and during the most of that time was in a semi-conscious condition, from which he rallied only at rare intervals and for a short time. He suffered intense pain through all his illness.
Isaac Ferdinand Quinby was born near Morristown, New Jersey, January 29, 1821. He was graduated at the United States Military Academy in 1843, standing first in engineering. He was a classmate and friend of General Grant. He was Assistant Professor at West Point in 1845?7, and took part in several skirmishes on the Rio Grande and Vera Cruz lines at the close of the Mexican War. He came to Rochester in September, 1851, to become Professor of Mathematics in the newly founded University and resigned from the army March 16, 1852. He held his professorship until the Civil war and then became Colonel of the Thirteenth New York regiment. Under his command it marched p28through Baltimore on the 30th of May, being the first body of national troops to pass through that city after the attack upon the Sixth Massachusetts Regiment on April 19. Colonel Quinby resigned his commission August 2, 1861, and resumed his chair; but he was appointed Brigadier-general of Volunteers March 17, 1862, and in the following month was assigned to the command at Columbus, Ky. In October, 1862, he was relieved to take command of the Seventh Division of the Army of the Tennessee. The division was sent to take part in the movement to turn the Confederate right flank at Vicksburg by Yazoo Pass, the Coldwater, Tallahatchie and Yazoo rivers. Amid great difficulties General Quinby pushed on to Fort Pemberton where he arrived on March 23d. Finding that there was no ground suitable for camping or moving a large body of troops, and the fire of the small gunboats being ineffectual, he conceived the idea of going around to the east side of Fort Pemberton, crossing the Yallabusha river on a pontoon bridge, cutting off the communications of the fort and compelling its surrender; but he also constructed works for a direct attack and sent back to Helena for heavy guns. The boat that brought them brought orders from General Grant to abandon the movement by Yazoo Pass, and General Quinby withdrew his forces from before Fort Pemberton on the 5th of April. The fatigues and anxieties of this expedition in a malarious region brought on a severe illness and he was ordered home on a sick leave May 1, 1863. But learning, a few days after reaching home, the progress of Grant's movement to the rear of Vicksburg, he hastened back, assuming command of his division on the 17th, and taking part in the assault of the 19th and the subsequent movements. On June 5th illness again rendered him unfit for duties in the field, and he went to the north under Grant's orders, remaining in Rochester until July 1. He then commanded the rendezvous at Elmira till December 31, 1863, when, convinced that he would not again be able to go to the front, he resigned his commission and resumed his duties as Professor in the University. In May, 1869, he was appointed United States Marshal for the Northern District of New York, and he p29held that office during Grant's two terms, holding his professorship also until September, 1884. In May, 1885, he was appointed City Surveyor of Rochester, and he held that office two terms. He was a Trustee of the Soldier's Home, at Bath, and Vice-president of the Board from the foundation of the institution in 1879 till his resignation in 1886. In addition to his official duties he was frequently employed as consulting engineer. He revised and rewrote several of the works in the Robinson course of mathematics, and the treatise on the "Differential and Integral Calculus," in that series, is altogether his.
In the Spring of 1886 General Quinby was elected by the Common Council as City Surveyor, and in 1888 he was re-elected for another term of two years.
General Quinby married Elizabeth G. Gardner, daughter of General John L. Gardner, of the Fourth Artillery, at Old Point Comfort, Va., October 6, 1848. Twelve children were the result of this union, eight of whom are living.
Professor George M. Forbes, who was under Professor Quinby's instruction during his college course, said of the deceased this morning: "General Quinby was very popular as a teacher and always secured the highest respect of his pupils on account of the breadth, the thorough and comprehensive grasp which he had in his department of mathematical studies and investigations. By his quickness and keenness in criticism and class-room work, he soon convinced his students of the depth and thoroughness of his scholarship. He was very concise and terse in his explanations. They were pithy and right to the point. He never used an unnecessary word. He got at what he wanted to explain right away and left it there without further words. He was also popular because of a vein of humor which he displayed in the class room. He was not a particularly rigorous disciplinarian, but was rather disposed to deal kindly with his pupils. He was not an habitual joker by any means, but he had a kind of dry humor which he indulged in at rare intervals. When occasion demanded, however, it came quick as a flash, and it was all the more effective because it was generally unexpected. p30It might be a conceited or a presumptuous member of the class that called forth the shaft, and whoever it might be he was always crushed." — From Rochester, N. Y. papers, of September 19, 1891.