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

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Item Code: 945-432

Dated “Morganzia La, July 21st 1864. Addressed to father, J.F. Kreps. Exhibits fold-marks and light rear page foxing. Else VG & entirely legible. In protective sleeve.

Note: Adam Kreps served in three regiments, first mustering into Co. “F”, 15th PA Cavalry, 8/22/1862, then transferring with a lieutenant’s commission into Co. “A”., 67th U.S.C.T., 2/24/2864, then transferring into Co. “E”, 92nd U.S.C.T., 7/12/1865, mustering out of service, 12/31/1865. Kreps served exclusively in the western theater and with the two U.S.C.T. regiments mostly in Louisiana. His correspondence consists of letters to family, primarily to his father

In this letter Kreps writes of an impending rebel attack on the Morganzia fortifications that never comes off, going on to report black troops being forced to labor on the Sabbath. He comments also on sickness and asks his father if there is a chance of being transferred to the regular army. Excerpts as follows:

“We have been laboring under a good deal of excitement…about four days since our regiment lay in a line of battle all night…took a few minutes to be in line…we have had no attack but the men are kept at work to day, the first Sabbath they have worked. The white troops worked last night, the first work they have done on the fort.

Father do you think there would be any chance of getting me transferred to the Regular Army. I understand there is a great many that get commissioned in it. The fact is that it will not be six to eight month be fore the regiment will consolidated and most of us will be mustered out. The fact is the men are all dying off in the last forty days…and sickness still continues…”

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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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