Scope and Content
Title: John W. Grosh letters
Collection Number: mssGRO 1-87
Creator OR Collector:
Grosh, John W., -1864
Approximately 130 items in 3 boxes
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2191
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.
Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader
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
[Identification of item], John W. Grosh letters, The Huntington Library, San
Purchased through Nick Aretakis Americana at PBA Galleries, Sale 599, Lot 70, October 20, 2016.
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."
Bender, Fanny Grosh
Grosh, John W., -1864
Grosh, Peter Lehn, 1798-1859
Grosh, Sarah Lorentz, 1820-1890
United States. Army. New York Infantry Regiment, 66th (1861-1865)
United States. Army. Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, 79th (1861-1865)
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