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

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Item Code: 945-513

FROM J.F. KREPS TO SON LIEUT. ADAM KREPS, CO. “E”, 92ND REGT. U.S.C.T., serving in Louisiana. Dated “Rostraver Township / Sept. 10 1865.”. 4 pp. in ink on unlined paper, 8 x 9.75”. Exhibits fold-marks and light soiling of near page. Else VG & entirely legible. In protective sleeve. Accompanied by documentation.

In this father Kreps acknowledges that the paucity of Adam’s letter home was due to his regimental transfer. And goes on to write of Frank’s health and the status of the 77th Regt. As follows:

“We are glad your health continues…but we fell much uneasiness about Francis. He has been attacked tow three times with severe spells of chills and had been in the hospital six or seven days but had got back to the Co. again…he expected to leave for Texas in a few days. All had gone but B, and C, of his regiment. He says they will have permanent camp where they will remain until the Regt. is mustered out. He expects to remain with the Regt….but I wrote him  that if his health was likely to be impaired he should resign…”

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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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