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

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Item Code: 945-429

Dated “Morganzia La July 7th 1864.” Addressed to father, J.F. Kreps. 2 pp. in ink on unlined paper, 7.75 x 9.75.” Exhibits fold-marks. Else VG. In protective sleeve.

Note: Adam Kreps served in three regiments, 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 again into Co. “E”, 92nd Regt. U.S.C.T., 7/12/1865, mustering out of service, 12/31/1865. Kreps served exclusively in the western theater and with U.S.C.T. regiments mostly in Louisiana. His correspondence consists of letter to family, primarily to his father.

In this letter Kreps approves President Lincoln’s latest call for troops and expresses his contempt for the “Copperheads” at home. Includes following excerpts:

“I was very glad to see that the president is authorized to raise troops and that the commutation clause has been repealed. There is more hope now of raising troops. The way things have been carried on lately anyone could keep out of the Army by a little pecuniary aid from their Copperhead friends. There must be a number of young men perfectly able to go to war. They ought to be ashamed of themselves…

I could not face a lady. I have heard of sections where the ladies went and told the young men their services would be dispensed with and that they had better don a suit of blue. They must not be so patriotic about West Newton.

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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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