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

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Item Code: 945-430

Dated “Morganzia La. July 17th 1864.” Addressed to father J.F. Kreps. 4 pp. in ink on lined paper, 5 x 8.” Exhibits fold-marks and soiling along rear page fold-lines. Else VG. In protective sleeve.

Note: Adam Kreps served in three regiments, first mustering into Co. “F”, 15th Pa Cavalry, 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 Regt. U.S.C.T., 7/12/1865, mustered out of service, 12/31/1865. Kreps 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 J.F. Kreps.

In this letter Adam Kreps writes of the continuing exhausting fatigue duty in Morganzia, and of sickness and the return of his colonel, the invasion scare in Pennsylvania [the burning of Chambersburg] and his hopes for the 1864 elections. Excerpts as follow:

“We are still at the duty digging trenches. For my part I am tired of this kind of duty. To be sure it is not so dangerous as duty in the field, but at the same time there is as many died here as if we had been in the field. There is still a great deal of sickness. We have lost 27 men since the organization of this company…

“We expect Col. in a few days. Most of the officers will be pleased when he returns as are heartily tired of the present rule although they partial to the Lieut. col. when the Col. left for home…I have heard from Penna. That the state is again threatened by the rebels but I suppose it is just a scare…I see Lincoln is again up for the presidency and would like to vote for him…I think Fremont is a demagogue…I think Chase is the best man that could be got…”

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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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