First Lieutenant Quentin Derward Busbee
Company K (the “Raleigh Rifles”), 14th Regiment N.C. Troops (4th Regiment N.C. Volunteers)
Quentin Derward Busbee of Wake County served as a naval officer during the Mexican War, apparently receiving his commission on April 27, 1846. He was purser on the U.S.S. Germantown, a sloop-of-war built at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and commissioned on March 9, 1847. The Germantown was part of the Home Squadron, commanded by Commodore Matthew C. Perry, and spent most of 1847 cruising off the Mexican east coast, enforcing the blockade of Mexican ports and engaging in raids and bombardments. In January 1848 the Germantown returned to Norfolk for repairs, and Busbee resigned from the navy on February 21.
During the 1850s Busbee prospered as a Raleigh lawyer and slave owner, and he also authored several law books. He was active in politics, and prior to North Carolina’s secession was a pro-Unionist advocate in Wake County. He served as an elector for Stephen A. Douglas during the 1860 presidential election.
Busbee enlisted in a company known as the “Raleigh Rifles,” subsequently Company K, 14th Regiment N.C. Troops, on May 21, 1861, and was elected first lieutenant the same day. He was reported absent with leave during much of 1861. On February 19, 1862, two charges and specifications were laid against Busbee by his commanding officer. The first charged that on February 17 Busbee did “absent himself from garrison at Fort Ellen Va and go more than a half a mile and remain out of his quarters all night without permission from his Commanding Officer.” The second charge stated that on February 18 Busbee “returned to Fort Ellen in a state of intoxication, and was unfit for duty.” Busbee resigned on February 24, 1862, and no court martial was held.
Busbee later served in the 1st Regiment N.C. Home Guard, the Wake County regiment. Records of that unit are very fragmentary, and it is uncertain what rank he held. However, the 1st N.C. Home Guards were on active duty in December 1864, and on December 10 Busbee was granted a thirty-day furlough. There are no further military records for him.
Busbee’s insignia of rank as first lieutenant are shoulder straps, as specified by North Carolina’s 1861 uniform regulations, rather than the collar bars more commonly worn by Confederate officers. From its organization until November 1861 the 14th North Carolina was known as the “4th Regiment N.C. Volunteers.” Busbee’s dark blue forage cap bears the brass characters 4/K/N C V (in mirror image), meaning “Company K, 4th N.C. Volunteers.” The chair finial visible above Busbee’s shoulder indicates that the image was made at the studio of the Raleigh photographer Esly Hunt.
Busbee (April 11, 1825-February 27, 1877) is buried at the City Cemetery, Raleigh, Wake County.
Image: Quarter-plate ferrotype, N.C. Office of Archives and History.
1860 U. S. Census, City of Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina, population schedule, page 76, dwelling 646, family 642, Quentin Busbee household; 1860 U.S. Census, City of Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina slave schedule, page 19, Quint Busbee, slave owner; Adjutant General, Regulations for the Uniform Dress and Equipments of the Volunteers & State Troops of North Carolina (Raleigh, 1861); Bradley, North Carolina Confederate Militia and Home Guard Records, 2:56; Edward W. Callahan, List of Officers of the Navy of the United States and of the Marine Corps from 1775 to 1890 (New York: L.R. Hamersley & Co., 1901), 93; Daniel W. Crofts, Reluctant Confederates: Upper South Unionists in the Secession Crisis (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989), 330; Manarin et. al., North Carolina Troops 5:482; Mast, State Troops and Volunteers, 1:37, 85; service record files of Quinten Busbee, 14th Regiment N.C. Troops, Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers from the State of North Carolina (M270), RG109, NAl http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Germantown_%281846%29; https://www.facebook.com/pages/State-Troops-and-Volunteers/321689201335430