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

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Item Code: 945-413

Dated “Chattanooga, Feb. 5th 1864. Addressed to his brother John Kreps. 4 pp. in ink on unlined paper, 5 x 8.” Exhibits fold-marks & light soiling along first page fold-marks. Else VG & entirely legible. In protective sleeve.

Note: Adam Kreps served in three regiments, mustering first as a private in Co. “A”, 15th PA Cavalry, 8/22/1862, then transferring into Co. “A”, 67th Regt. 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 letter to family, primarily to his father.

In this letter Private Kreps writes to his brother John [Captain of the 77th PA discharged for wounds.] concerning his old regiment [77th PA], while commenting on the draft bill recently passed. Excerpts as follow:

“I saw Capt. Lawson & Davis of the 77th last evening. They had not got off at that time but expected to start today…they inquired about you and Frank [Confederate prisoner] very particularly. John do you think there is any danger of Lieut.Vera trying to get a position of Captain of Frank’s head. [Prisoner Frank being a fellow Lieut. of the 77th PA] It just entered my mind& I thought I would just speak to you about it for if there is I should think it should be looked into. You know people will aspire be they ever so good…

There is a class at home…I can just see them at the time of the draft comes off---poor miserable cowards. They can tell everyone how the war should be carried on…all the while if they heard the ping of a minie ball they would run fit to break their necks. I do despise such miserable wretches…”

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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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