Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Letter #16 -- New Berne, North Carolina - June 27, 1862

The letter of June 27, 1862 provides confirmation of the unhealthy conditions of army camp life during the Civil War.  In this letter, JWD describes the death of a comrade and friend Adam B. Klock.  I did some research on Private Klock and found a few discrepancies in the various records.

For example....

In the Pennsylvania ARIAS Civil War Soldiers refers to Private Klock as Andrew B. Klock.  I don't know if Adam was a nickname or if JWD just made a mistake in writing his name in the letter, but there is a difference.  Also, in Munsell's...History of Schulykill County, Pa., it lists his name as Andrew.  However, another discrepancy in that record shows J.H. Dorr as dying of disease, when it was actually J.H. Derr (previously mentioned in my prior posts).

The Miner's Journal in 1865 listed the casualities of the 48th PVI.  Below is an excerpt....

Miner's Journal - 1865

Upon the saddest chapter of this work we now enter. It is to give a record of the names of the sons of Schuylkill who died that their country might live. They yielded up their spirits in the noblest cause and while we mourn, we are consoled by the reflection that their memories will be embalmed in the national heart while Freedom claims a votary on our continent. 

Lieut. Alexander FOX died Dec. 1, 1861, on steamer Spaulding near Fortress Monroe Andrew SPEAR died Apr. 15, 1862, at Newbern, N.C. Andrew KLOCK died June 30, 1862 Addison SEAMAN died July 16, 1862 Mattie SHEAFER died August 4, 1862, on board steamer Cossack Charles MILLER killed at Bull Run, Va., Aug. 29, 1862 George RAMER died Sept. 6, 1862 of wounds William BAMBRICK died Sept. 12, 1862 of wounds Alva F. JEFFRIES killed Sept. 17, 1862, at Antietam John SULLIVAN died Oct. 8, 1862, of wounds received at Bull Run Henry WILLIAMSON killed at Fredericksburg, Dec. 13, 1862 Thomas KINNEY killed at Fredericksburg, Dec. 13, 1862 Jonathan KAUFMAN killed in battle, May, 1864 Henry DORWARD killed in battle, Sept. 1864 Daniel OKON killed in battle, Sept. 1864 Corporal J. H. DORR died in Washington, Jan. 1863 William H. SMITH died in Annapolis, Apr. 7, 1864 John DEITRICH died Mar. 22, 1864 Solomon EYSTER, died in Philadelphia, Aug. 22, 1864 David MILLER died in Annapolis, Nov. 6, 1864 C. Philip BECKMAN died in Baltimore, Feb. 9, 1865 Charles F. HESSER died (n.r.) Jonas Z. RABER died (n.r.) 1st Lieut. Henry GRAEFF died in Pottsville, Mar. 26, 1865, of disease contracted in rebel prisons Total 23

Note that this record shows Klock's death date as June 30, 1862.  We know that is not possible, since the letter from JWD to his parents described his death, and was written on June 27, 1862.  This highlights some of the errors that are in the "official" records.

In Letter #16, JWD describes that Andrew "Adam" B. Klock died of Typhoid fever.  A common problem during the war owing to the unsanitary conditions of the camps and army life at that time.

Excerpt from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) website regarding Typhoid fever....


Typhoid fever is an infection that causes diarrhea and a rash -- most commonly due to a type of bacteria called Salmonella typhi (S. typhi).

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The bacteria that cause typhoid fever -- S. typhi -- spread through contaminated food, drink, or water. If you eat or drink something that is contaminated, the bacteria enter your body. They travel into your intestines, and then into your bloodstream, where they can get to your lymph nodes, gallbladder, liver, spleen, and other parts of your body.
A few people can become carriers of S. typhi and continue to release the bacteria in their stools for years, spreading the disease.
Typhoid fever is common in developing countries, but fewer than 400 cases are reported in the U.S. each year. Most cases in the U.S. are brought in from other countries where typhoid fever is common.


Early symptoms include fever, general ill-feeling, and abdominal pain. A high (typically over 103 degrees Fahrenheit) fever and severe diarrhea occur as the disease gets worse.
Some people with typhoid fever develop a rash called "rose spots," which are small red spots on the abdomen and chest.


In addition to JWD's report of the death of Private Klock, he talks about how miserable life is North Carolina in the summer.  For a Pennsylvania boy who lived in the mountain regions and probably never experienced the hot, humid and sweltering summers of the south, life inNew Berne, NC was undoubtably miserable.

And now...Letter #16.....

New Berne, North Carolina
June the 27 A.D. 1862

My Dear Father,

                                                I take pen in hand to inform this few lines to you to let you know that I am well at present time and I hope that this few lines will find you in the same state of good health.  Further, I let you know that I received your letter this evening after we came in from dress parade and I was very glad to hear from  you and to here that you are all well and I am very glad to hear that you got my ten dollars which I did send home and got my shirts which you did send to me and I am very glad that you got all my letters which I wrote to you.  The reason was that I wrote so many to you was I did send that first letter home with them ten dollars and I didn’t get no answer for about four weeks and I thought that it might be lost maybe but so we are all right.  But I am sorry to say that Adam B. Klock died.  He died on the 23 and we buried him the 24.  He had typhoid fever.  We was only about one week sick.  I let you know that it is very hot here and very unhealthy.  We are in great danger of starvation but we put our trust in God.  Don’t forget to answer this letter as soon as you get this from me.  So much from me your respectful son.

                                                                                                John W. Derr

Direct your letter to John W. Derr, CO. “D” Regt. PA., Burnsides Expedition,  North Carolina in care of Capt W. W. Potts

Jim D.


  1. I am researching my Klock ancestors and can't thank you enough for your posting of these letters. Adam Klock (Kluck) is his correct given name, however when he enlisted he used the name "Andrew" possibly because of his age. He is from Barry and listed in the 1850 census (Age 4) with his parents Peter F. Kluck and Catherine Kluck (Wolfgang). He is listed in the 1860 census (Age 15) with my GGG Grandparents Benjamin F. Kluck (Peter's brother)and Elizabeth Kluck (Neiswender). Adam Klock's parents (Peter & Catherine) applied for and received his pension for his service in the 48th Co. D.

  2. Thank you for your comment. Just as an FYI...if you are even planning a trip to the Washington, D.C. area, you should take some time to to the National Archives on the Mall. You can register there to get a researcher's card and then make requests for the staff to pull records for you on your ancestors in the Civil War. Since you already know Kluck's regiment and company, it wouldn't take long. Last time I went, the records were the real artifacts, not copies, so you can actually see and touch his regimental muster cards, enlistment paperwork and pension applications by his parent. You can also copy them if you wish. Good luck! JPD.