John W. Derr was twenty-one years of age when he was mustered into service as a private in Company D, 48th Pennsylvania Infantry, in late September 1861. A blacksmith by trade, Derr served throughout the entirety of the conflict, was wounded at 2nd Bull Run, and mustered out as a "Veteran" in July 1865.
Now, in commemoration of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, Private Derr's great-great grandson has launched a blog dedicated to his ancestor and his ancestor's service, titled "The Civil War Letters of John W. Derr." This is truly an excellent idea. . .In addition to posts on the history of the 48th Pennsylvania, the blog will feature, primarily, the many letters Derr penned home while in uniform. These letters will be posted over the next four years in chronological order, so that we can follow in those proverbial footsteps of Derr and his regiment as they fought their way through North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
Derr's first letter home has recently gone up, written soon after his arrival at Camp Curtin in Harrisburg, where the regiment rendezvoused and was officially organized. In the letter, dated September 3, 1861, Derr rather matter-of-factly notes that he "made up my mind to go and fight for our country. . . .And I wish you wouldn't think hard of me that I left Deep Creek for I was tired of it long ago. . . ."
What an excellent way to kick off this blog; this letter providing some insights into soldier motivations.
I am looking forward to following this blog and reading Derr's letters homes. I have added the site to my links on the right-hand panel, or you can find it by simply clicking here.