This letter was written by 21 year-old Charles Kramer Reppert (1842-Aft1913), the son of Jacob Reppert (1814-1901) and Christiana Margaretta Kramer (1817-1902). Charle’s siblings included George (b. 1840), William (b. 1844) and Henry (b. 1848). We learn from this letter that Charles was working at the Clinton Iron & Rail Works in Pittsburgh. His father, Jacob, was a merchant whose ancestors were in the glass manufacturing business in Baltimore.
Charles addressed the letter to his brother, 19 year-old Pvt. William Eichbaum Reppert (1844-1913), who enlisted in Co. C, Pennsylvania 15th Cavalry Regiment on 22 August 1862. He was promoted to full Corporal on 16 March 1865 and mustered out of the service on 21 June 1865 at Nashville, Tennessee. [Note: See interesting story of The Arrest of the 15h Pennsylvania Cavalry.]
William was married to Alda Cora ____ (1851-1935) after the war, and eventually settled in Columbus, Ohio where he was awarded a pension for his service. William entered the railway service in 1871 and a newspaper article stated that William worked as a passenger agent for the Baltimore & Ohio Railway throughout the 1870s, 1880s and 1890’s. Sadly, a report of aberrant behavior was published in the Columbus Journal in September 1882:
“….William E. Reppert, passenger agent …of the Baltimore & Ohio Railway, [has] become a raving maniac. While at supper at home on Monday evening, he was suddenly seized with a violent fit of madness. He first talked wildly, then furiously and began to break up small articles about the room. He took out his revolver and threatened to shoot everybody. The family fled in great fear. The neighbors were notified and took the revolver from his hands before he had done any damage with it. It was then found he had another pistol which was wrenched from him only after the greatest difficulty. Dr. Guerin was called and, with the aid of a policeman, succeeded in getting Mr. Reppert in to bed where he was guarded all night by the officer and the next morning was comparatively quiet. Overwork is supposed to have brought on this sad derangement. Whether it will be permanent or not is not known.”
William apparently held his position as passenger agent in Columbus, Ohio, until June 1897, when he relocated to Catalpa, Culpepper, Virginia. In 1900, his occupation is given as Superintendent, National Cemetery. Indeed, the Richmond Times Dispatch (Richmond, VA) announced the news of William’s death in Alexandria stating that he was for many years the superintendent of the Culpepper National Cemetery before going to Alexandria where he had a similar position. In the obituary notice placed in the Washington Post, it was stated that William died suddenly of heart disease in the lodge at the Alexandria National Cemetery. Though William rose no higher than a corporal in the federal service, it is interesting to see him identified as “Major” and “Col” in post-war publications.
An article in the Washington Post also stated:
“The will of Col. William E. Reppert, formerly superintendent of the National Cemetery near this city, was admitted to probate in the office of the clerk of the corporation court yesterday. The testator makes a few minor bequests and leaves the bulk of his estate to his wife, Alda Cora Reppert. He named his daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth V. Stephenson, as executrix.”
William and Cora are buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Section S, Site 50.
Addressed to William E. Reppert, Co. C. Anderson Cavalry, Nashville, Tennessee
Monday, April 27, 1863
Your letter to George came to hand last week. I wrote to you last week. I suppose you have received it ‘ere this. I was extremely sorry to hear of your regiment being so sickly. I hope your next will note an improvement.
Father came from Baltimore Saturday noon. He found all the Loyal friends well. As for the others, he said he made no inquiry.
We are having nice weather here now. Hope you have ditto. Fires are becoming quite numerous. Friday night I came over to fire which burnt Reinhart’s tobacco warehouse. Yesterday about 11 was up & seen St. James Episcopal Church burn out “on Pecan Street at Upper Bridge.” ¹
Father came on the cars with George & Oth. Beall’s partner — a Mr. Richardt. He gives a flattering account of their success. Says they cleared $500 for their shares in 5 weeks. I was glad to hear the poor fellow had done so well. By the way, Father is going into the clay [business] again. He had brought some samples from about. ____ too on the canal got Mr. Lyon — a large glass manufacturer — who had it analyzed & pronounced it superior to the best German. Father is going down today to secure the bank & bring up a supply. He seems confident of making something out of it & intends giving George charge of it.
I am still at Clinton Iron [and Rail] Works.² For how long though [I] cannot say. Saturday last in evening, the new market house ³ in Allegheny was lit up & thrown open for inspection of the public. They had a band of music, drum & fife in attendance, it is built on that 2 yard lot where the lower market house stood — a fine square building open & unroofed in centre.
The news from Vicksburg is cheering as large fleet of gunboats & transports have run past the batteries. It is thought Grant’s army will unite with Rosecrans & then march onward. It is confidently stated that the rebellion is on the wane & will receive its quietus in two months. God grant it. It would be a happy day [for] us all. You have no doubt noticed a change of sentiment in the North lately. The copperheads are not so rampant as they were. The Union League’s are having a beneficial influence preventing their denunciation of the war & the administration. They had better beware for vengeance swift & just will surely be meted to them for their treason.
I sent you a Chronicle Friday. Let me know if you received it & if you want any reading matter. We are enjoying good health at home. Take care of yourself, Will. Write often to your brother, — Charles
¹ The New York Times reported the fire in Pittsburg that destroyed the St. James Episcopal Church which caught fire during morning services from a defective flue on 26 April 1863. It was nearly completely destroyed; none of the congregation was injured.
² The Clinton Iron Works, established in 1859, were located along the Monongahela River in Pittsburgh where Station Square is now.
³ Allegheny Market House was located in the Allegheny Center neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and was built in 1863. It was built at a time when this area was part of the city of Allegheny, Pennsylvania. Even though the market house was demolished in 1966, the former site of the building was added to the List of Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation Historic Landmarks in 1979.