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: 945-500

FROM J.F. KREPS TO SON LIEUT. ADAM KREPS, CO. “A”, 67TH REGT. U.S.C.T., serving in Louisiana, Dated “West Newton, July 3, 1864. 4 pp. in ink on lined paper. 8 x 10”. Exhibits fold-marks and faded ink, while remaining mostly legible. Else VG. In protective sleeve. Accompanied by documentation.

In this letter father Kreps writes of Confederate prisoner son Frank, and tells his son that as onerous as his camp life, Louisiana is a relatively inactive theater and that it could be worse with the Army of the Potomac. Also writes of prices being paid for substitutes. Excerpts as follows:

“It is more than two months since we have heard any news from Francis. We of course do not know anything about him and necessarily feel great uneasiness about him. The Richmond papers stated that the officers were at Macon Ga. And I wrote him a letter there but it is uncertain whether he will receive it…

…it is supposed another draft call will soon be mean from 300 to 500 thousand. Some person are now offering high bounty for substitutes. Andrew Neff went as a substitute and received 800 dollars in cash and I suppose that 12 to 13 will soon be given…”

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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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