JANUARY 1864 SOLDIER LETTER—PRIVATE ADAM KREPS, CO. “F”, 15TH PA CAVALRY, TO HIS FATHER

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Item Code: 945-411

Date “Chattanooga Jan 16th 1864.” Addressed to one of his brothers. 4 pp. in ink on lined paper, 5 x 8”. Exhibits fold-marks and patches of light foxing. Else VG & entirely legible. In protective sleeve.

Note: Adam Kreps served in three regiments, first mustering as private in Co. “A”, 15th PA Cavalry, 8/22/1862. Then transferring with Lieutenant’s commission into Co. “A”, 67th Regt. U.S.C.T. 2/24/1864, then transferring again into Co. “E”, 92nd U.S.C.T., 7/12/1865, mustering out 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 to his father.

In this letter Adam Kreps writes concerning his failure to obtain recommendations from his company officers toward obtaining a commission:

“I was in hopes that by this time I could send some recommendation out but am unable to do so. My Lieutenant advised me to go speak to the captain again. I went and he gave me the same answer as before that he had peremptory orders no to give such papers…he could if he would but he is afraid of the colonel…

There is an order that all men who wanted could be examined for a position in a negro regiment should send their names to their commanding officer. I sent mine to the captain who sent it to the Colonel and there it stopped. I would just state that if it is left to the company officers and the colonel it will be refuse…Is there not a Cavalry regiment raising in Pennsylvania now. If there is might possibly could I get a position in that branch of service. I would prefer that…”

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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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