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John W. Grosh letters
mssGRO 1-87  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administration Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Arrangement
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: John W. Grosh letters
    Dates: 1856-1868
    Collection Number: mssGRO 1-87
    Creator OR Collector: Grosh, John W., -1864
    Extent: Approximately 130 items in 3 boxes
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2191
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: The Civil War letters of Corporal John W. Grosh of the 79th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, Company A.
    Language of Material: The records are in English.

    Administration Information


    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], John W. Grosh letters, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Acquisition Information

    Purchased through Nick Aretakis Americana at PBA Galleries, Sale 599, Lot 70, October 20, 2016.

    Biographical Note

    John W. Grosh was the eldest son of Peter Lehn Grosh (1798-1850), a Pennsylvania artist, instrument maker, and fruit and flower grower. The family, descendants of Palatine settlers, was related to Hosea Ballou and Ethan Allen Grosh, the discoverers of Comstock Lode. In 1838, Peter Lehn Grosh married Sarah Lorentz; John was their firstborn son, followed by Jacob and Fanny. In 1857, John and his father moved to Petersburg, Pennsylvania.
    In August 1861, John W. Grosh enlisted, as corporal, in the 79th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, Company A. The regiment was organized at Lancaster, Pennsylvania on September 19, 1861 and ordered to Harrisburg and Pittsburgh and then to Nolin and Munfordsville, Kentucky. In February, the regiment was ordered to Nashville, Tennessee, and on March 28, to Columbia, Tennessee where the men were engaged in guarding the Nashville & Decatur Railroad. As part of the Army of the Ohio, the 79th took part in the expedition to Rodgersville, Alabama (1862, May 13--4), Lamb's Ferry (May 14) and Negley's Expedition to Chattanooga (May 28-June 17). After that the men were posted on duty at Tullahoma, Tennessee, until August when they were engaged in the pursuit of Braxton Bragg into Kentucky, including the battle of Perryville (October 8). In the fall of 1862, they stayed at Mitchellsville, guarding the Louisville Nashville Railroad. In November 1862, the unit was assigned to the Army of the Cumberland. In December, the regiment took part in the advance at Murfreesboro (December 26-30) and the battle of Stone's River (December 30-31, 1862 and January 1-3, 1863). The men remained at Murfreesboro until June, taking part in the expedition to McMinnville (April 20-30); and then fought in the Middle Tennessee or Tullahoma Campaign (June 23-July 7). They remained in Middle Tennessee, as part of the forces of occupation until August 16. In August and September 1863, the 79th was part of the Chickamauga campaign. John W. Grosh was reported killed at the battle of Chickamauga. It later transpired that he was taken prisoner. He died at Andersonville, September 4, 1864 (grave No. 7839).


    The collection is arranged chronologically.

    Scope and Content

    The bulk of the collection consists of letters that John W. Grosh wrote to his mother Sarah Lorenz Grosh, sister Fanny Grosh Bender, and brother Jacob L. Grosh in the course of his military service. Regular and richly detailed letters were posted from Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia; there are no letters for the period between August 20 and October 15, 1862. The group also includes a few letters from Jacob L. Grosh to his brother and letters from Fanny's uncles Daniel and William H. Grosh. The letters contain a small "diary for the month of May 1862 Co. A. 79th Regiment P.V." and a pencil drawing titled "Interior of Tent No. 2 of Co. A 79th Regt. P.V. Encampment near Nashville, Tenn. March 16 1862."
    Also included is manuscript titled "History of the Campaign for the spring of 1863 by the 66th N.Y. V. Vols. Written by Edward H. Cornell on the 21st of December 1864" (This is most likely Edward H. Connell, of Co. I; he enlisted under that name and changed it to Cornell at the time of the discharge in 1865).
    There are also letters to Peter L. Grosh from his brother-in-law William Lorentz and the letters from Peter L. Grosh and John W. Grosh from Petersburg, Pennsylvania, and letters, mostly to Fanny Grosh Bender from her family and friends, written after John's death; correspondents include Mary C. Graeff, Mary A. Russell, and Lavinia Miller Summy (1832-1904). The collection also contains letter of condolence from John's commanding officer states that according to the Adjutant General's report, John died in hospital Richmond on November 21st, 1863. However, on June 5, 1865, Daniel Grosh thanked his niece of "extracts" of John's letters written from captivity, which showed that he died a slow death "by degrees."
    Also included are: Sarah Grosh's pension certificate; a newspaper clipping listing the casualties of the battle of Chickamauga, including John W. Grosh; clippings from patriotic envelopes; and a small broadside "Crippled Soldier's Song."

    Indexing Terms

    Personal Names

    Bender, Fanny Grosh
    Grosh, John W., -1864
    Grosh, Peter Lehn, 1798-1859
    Grosh, Sarah Lorentz, 1820-1890

    Corporate Names

    Andersonville Prison
    United States. Army. New York Infantry Regiment, 66th (1861-1865)
    United States. Army. Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, 79th (1861-1865)

    Geographic Areas

    Georgia -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Sources
    Kentucky -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Sources
    Pennsylvania -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Sources
    Pennsylvania -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
    Tennessee -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Sources
    United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives
    United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Prisoners and prisons.
    United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Regimental histories -- New York (State) -- Sources
    United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Regimental histories -- Pennsylvania -- Sources


    Drawings -- United States -- Civil War, 1861-1865
    Diaries -- United States -- Civil War, 1861-1865
    Letters (correspondence) -- United States -- 19th century