“Adhere to your purpose and you will soon feel as well as you ever did. On the contrary, if you falter, and give up, you will lose the power of keeping any resolution, and will regret it all your life.”

Abraham Lincoln

Letter to Quintin Campbell (28 June 1862)
Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Vol. 5, Roy P. Basler, ed. (1953), p. 288


Quintin Campbell, the son of Mary Todd Lincoln’s cousin Ann Todd Campbell of Boonville, Missouri, had just entered West Point during the summer of 1862. According to an article published in the Pioneer Press in 1909, Mrs. Campbell wrote to Mrs. Lincoln about her son’s dissatisfaction at the Academy. At his wife’s suggestion, Lincoln wrote the following letter, dated June 28, 1862. The “Letter to Quintin Campbell,” is cited the in Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Vol. 5, Roy P. Basler, ed. (1953), p. 288


June 28. 1862

Cadet Quintin Campbell

My Dear Sir

Your good mother tells me you are feeling very badly in your new situation. Allow me to assure you it is a perfect certainty that you will, very soon, feel better—quite happy—if you only stick to the resolution you have taken to procure a military education. I am older than you, have felt badly myself, and know, what I tell you is true. Adhere to your purpose and you will soon feel as well as you ever did. On the contrary, if you falter, and give up, you will lose the power of keeping any resolution¬†and will regret it all your life. Take the advice of a friend, who, though he never saw you, deeply sympathizes with you, and stick to your purpose.

Sincerely your friend

A. LINCOLN


Quintin graduated from West Point in 1866.


Photo | Jeff Kubina | Wikimedia Commons cc-by-sa-2.0