OCTOBER 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: 945-514

FROM J.F. KREPS TO SON LIEUT. ADAM KREPS, CO. “E”, 92ND REGT. U.S.C.T.,  serving in Louisiana. Dated “Rostraver Township Oct. 2 1865. [Includes orange cover, post-marked “West Newton PA / Oct. 3”—addressed to Lieut. Adam f. Kreps / Co. E 92nd Regt. U.S.C.T. / Port Hudson / Louisiana”]. 4 pp. in ink on unlined paper, 8 x 9.75.

In this letter father Kreps comments on local gossip and on the health of Adam and Frank, the two Kreps brothers remaining in service. Excerpts as follow:

“Frank has been quite unwell also for some time. We long for the time when we shall see you home again.

I think that unless your health improves you had better try to get out of the service. I seen it stated in the paper the other day that the War Dept. had decided that officers who resigned their commissions were entitled to the same three months extra pay as the officers whose term of service had expired. At any rate three months pay would be but a poor compensation for the loss of health…

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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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