DECEMBER 1863 SOLDIER LETTER—PRIVATE ADAM KREPS, CO. “F”, 15TH PA CAVALRY, TO HIS BROTHER

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Item Code: 945-408

Dated “”Chattanooga Tenn Dec.18 1863”. Addressed to his brother. 3 pp. in ink on lined paper, 5 x 8”. Exhibits fold-marks and faded ink while remaining mostly legible. Else good. In protective sleeve.

Note: Adam Kreps served in three regiment, first mustering as private in Co. “F”, 15th PA Cavalry, 8/22/1862, transferring with a Lieutenant’s commission into Co. “A”, 67th Regt. 67th U.S.C.T., 2/24/1864, then transferring again into Co. “E”, 92nd Regt. U.S.C.T., 7/12/1865, mustering out of service, 12/31/1865. He served exclusively in the western theater and with the U.S.C.T. regiments mostly in Louisiana. His correspondence consists of letters to family, primarily his father.

In this letter Adam Kreps remarks on the hard marching of the 11th Corps, notes the increasing sickness in his command escort regiment, and mention relics picked on the Chickamauga battlefield. Excerpts as follow:

“I sent a couple relicts from the Battle of Chickamauga. One of which is a breast plate I got from a prisoner on the first day of the fight and a bullet I picked out of a tree one day lately that I was out on the battlefield…he (some unnamed person) is leave them in Markles paper store in Pittsburgh…

The Christian Commission is getting but a few boats up. The men here get but three large crackers and a few beans and about a half a pound of meat…

PS—I believe I understood you to say that John [former Lieutenant of 77th PA Infy) had loaned Charlie Weller $10. I think if he has not paid you had better send the dun to me and I will show it to him [a member of the 15th PA Cav] and think I can get it for you…”

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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]  [ph:L]

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