JUNE 1864 SOLDIER LETTER—PRIVATE ADAM KREPS, CO. A, 67TH US COLORED TROOPS, TO HIS FATHER

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Item Code: 945-426

Dated “Camp near Morganzia Bend. Addressed to father, J.F. Kreps. June 22nd [1864]” 3 pp. in ink on lined paper, 5 x8.” Exhibits fold-marks, w/archival along third page (lower fold-line). Else VG & entirely legible. In protective sleeve.

Note: Adam Kreps served in three regiments, first mustering in as private into Co. “F”, 15the PA Cavalry, 8/22/1862, then transferring with a 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 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. Excerpts as follow;

In this letter Adam Kreps reports the movement of his regiment from Port Hudson to Morganzia on the Western bank of the Mississippi River, detailing a brutally hot-weather march. He also lists for his father the units of his brigade, noting that the Morganzia Post commander reputedly did not like negro troops. Excerpts as follow:

“We received marching orders to leave Port Hudson on the 18th. We took boats about five miles. The rest of the way we walked. It was a desperate hard march. The sun was so hot the men fell out by the score. A great many fell in their tracks as if they were dead…We are encamped in a low level place…the walls of a large sugar factory are still standing. The bulk of Banks Army is here. The post commander is Gen. Emery of Kansas, it is said he does not like Negro troops…

I never stated to you the regiments in my brigade. They are the 62nd, 5th, and 67th U.S.C.T. and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Mo. Vols. And the 53rd :U.S.C.T. The brigade commander is the Col. of the 62nd (Col Berrit)…

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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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