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

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Item Code: 945-415

Dated “Chattanooga, Feb. 13th 1864.  Addressed to his brother. 2 pp. in ink on light blue unlined un-lined paper, 8.5 x 10”. Exhibits fold-marks and heavy chipping upper & lower level horizontal fold-lines. Else VG.\, & mostly legible. In protective sleeve.

Note: Adam Kreps served in three regiments, first mustering as private in Co. “F”, 15th PA cavalry, 8/22/1862, then transferring with a 1st Lieutenant’s commission to Co. “A”, 67th Regt. U.S.C.T., 2/24/1864, then transferring to Co. “E”, 92nd U.S.C.T., 7/12/1865, mustering out. 12/31/1865. Kreps served exclusively in the western theater and with the U.S.C.T. regiments primarily in Louisiana. His correspondence consists primarily of letters to family, primarily to his father, a prominent Union man and Pennsylvania regimental commissioner residing in West Newton.

In this letter Adam Kreps [now of the command escort company] writes of the return of the rest of the 15th cavalry from East Tennessee, while commenting on veteran volunteer enlistments. Excerpts as follow:

“The regiment has returned from East Tennessee…being involved and engaged in 40 days fight the boys are all very hard and had good success. They have captured more than was in the command and killed and wounded many more…three men captured and General Vance and Vance been in the habit of sending out men in advance dressed in our uniform…some of them road up and had placed a pistol at their breast…

The boys in the regiment are in a great notion to re-enlist as Veterans. They have not been in the length of time stipulated but the colonel telegraphed the war department for permission to muster the regiment in as such. For my part I do not know what I will do…[in nine days Kreps would be commissioned 1st Lieut. into Co. “A”, 67th Regt. U.S.C.T.]

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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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