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

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Item Code: 945-428

Dated “Morganzia La July 2nd 1864.” Addressed to father, J.F. Kreps. 4 pp. in ink on lined paper, 5 8.” Exhibits fold-marks. Else VG. In protective sleeve.

Note: Adam Kreps served in three regiments, first mustering first as a private into Co. “F”, 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 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 to his father.

In this letter Adam Kreps writes of Morganzia heat and the hellish working conditions and the new orders concerning leave, officer promotions and resignations. Excerpts as follow:

“We are in the same place. The sun is so hot it almost roasts a person…We had no chance for a shade yet, as the boys are all working on fortifications…I see by a late order that colored soldiers are to be put in the field and are not to do more than their regular amount of fatigue work. I think that if former works are not proof of their bravery surely their late deeds at Petersburg are conclusive enough for any old fogy.

We have had an order that no leave would be granted at all during the time of active operations (excepting on a surgeons certificate)…There is an order that there will be no more promotions in the service. It will the cause of great deal of dissatisfaction among officers. No more resignations will be accepted except on a surgeon’s certificate…”

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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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