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: 945-501

FROM J.F. KREPS TO SON LIEUT. ADAM KREPS, CO “A”, 67TH REGT. U.S.C.T., serving in Louisiana. Dated “West Newton, July 12th 1864.”. 4 pp. in ink on lined paper, 8 x 10”. Exhibits fold-marks & light soiling & faded ink and is mostly legible. In protective sleeve. Accompanied by documentation.

In this letter father Kreps cautions his son to look after his health in the warm and wet Louisiana climate, asking him to also keep his regimental accounts in order so as not to have his pay held back on discharge, as was the case with brother John of the 77th PA upon leaving the army on discharge for his wound. Kreps writes too of Jubal Early’s rebel threat to the defenses of Washington in the summer of 1864. As follows:

“We have received papaers this morning and they give a gloomy picture of the state of affairs in Maryland…the rebels have destroyed railroad lines and bridges so it looks like Washington will have its communications cut off to Baltimore, Philadelphia and the North…It now looks more like the rebels taking washinton than Grant taking Richmond…[wrong, of course]…”

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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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