JULY1864 CIVIL WAR LETTER FROM LEBANON, PA RESIDENT JACOB FORNEY KREPS TO SOLDIER SON SERVING IN 67TH REGT. USCT

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Item Code: 945-499

FROM J.F. KREPS TO SON LIEUT. ADAM KREPS, CO. “A”, 67TH REGT. U.S.C.T.  serving in Louisiana. Dated “West Newton, July 1, 1864.” 4 pp. on lined paper, 8 x 10”. Exhibits fold-marks and faded ink and slight soiling of rear page while remaining mostly legible. In protective sleeve. Accompanied by documentation.

In this letter father Kreps mixes local news with newspaper reports of the army. Excerpts as follow:

“We feel some anxiety about you now as we see that General Allman is making movements of some kind and that a large force of rebels is lying near you…

The reports from Sherman are quite favorable. I suppose it will not be many days before he will be occupying Atlanta and it is the opinion of some that when this is accomplished Richmond cannot stand long…

The company that Capt.. Oliver & John [son John of the 77th PA, returned to the army following his wound convalescence] are trying to get up is I suppose a failure. Dempsey [younger son] seems determined to go in under the President’s call for one year but I have not given my consent and think I hardly shall…”

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Born in 1806 in Lebanon, PA, J.F. Kreps established himself in Greencastle as an enterprising farmer and businessman, moving to West Newton/ Rostraver Township. An ardent Union patriot, Kreps raised troops and money, and served as a civilian Pennsylvania regimental commissioner, spending two months in that capacity visiting PA regiments serving with Gen. Rosecrans’ army at Stones River, TN, in late spring/early summer 1863; also visiting PA Army of the Potomac units in 1864.

He also contributed five sons to the Union army—John, Francis, Adam, William and David Dempsey (with John, Francis and Adam serving as officers), in five different regiments, all of whom would survive, though son John would be severely wounded at Liberty Gap, TN, and son Frank, captured at Chickamauga, would spend 14 months in various Confederate prisons before making an heroic and hair-raising escape from Columbia, S.C., in 1864.

The bulk of the letters in this first family grouping (27 letters dating from August 7, 1861 to July 1864) are from J.F. Kreps to son Adam (15th PA Cavalry, 67th Regt. U.S.C.T., 92nd Regt. U.S.C.T. Also letters to son Frank (77th PA Infy) and son George, and six to wife Eliza, most of which were written during J.F. Kreps tour of General Rosecrans’ army. Subsequent groups contain letters home from sons Adam, William, John and David Dempsey. Taken as a whole, the Kreps letters present a valuable and fascinating picture of the coming and goings of an American family at war.   [JP]

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