AUGUST 1865 CIVIL WAR LETTER FROM LEBANON, PA RESIDENT JACOB FORNEY KREPS REGARDING HIS SOLDIER SON SERVING IN 92ND REGT. USCT

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Item Code: 945-511

FROM J.F. KREPS TO UNIDENTIFIED MILITARY OFFICIAL. Dated “West Newton, Westmoreland County / Penna. Aug. 12th 1865. 2 pp. in ink on lined paper, 8 x 10”. Exhibits fold-marks, else VG. In  protective sleeve. Accompanied by documentation.

In this letter father Kreps asks a U.S. military official to check on his son Adam to find out how he is doing why he has not written home. [No doubt Lieut. Kreps was highly embarrassed by this step taken by his father. During his July transfer from the 67th U.S.C.T. to the 92nd U.S.C.T. his letters home had obviously fallen between the cracks]

“Dear Sir…not having had any intelligence from my son Lt. Kreps for more than a month we feel a great deal of uneasiness concerning him and take the liberty of addressing you…

He has always been very punctual in writing once a week, and this long silence has created fears that something serious has occurred…If he is well he can telegraph in a very few words immediately on the reception of this…Respectfully, J.F. Kreps.”

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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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