These letters were written by Jacob C. Claar (1836-1912) of Co. E, 138th Pennsylvania. He enlisted on 29 August 1862 and was mustered out of the regiment on 23 June 1865 at Washington D. C.
Jacob learned how to swing a hammer from his father, Simon Walter Claar (1806-1849) and how to cook and wash his own clothes from his mother, Rachel Alice Croyle (1811-1861). When Jacob’s father died in 1849, his 40 year-old mother was left with a large family to care for. There were eight children enumerated in the household in 1850, ranging in age from twenty to two. Perhaps she was helped in keeping up the farm by 40 year-old John Claar and wife May who lived on an adjacent property—most likely a brother-in-law.
Before entering the army, Jacob married (in 1859) his cousin, Christina Claar (1839-1909), the daughter of Joseph and Ester (Ickes) Claar of Blain County, Pennsylvania. Jacob and Christina may have jumped the gun a little starting their family. By the time Jacob entered the service, he had two boys, Austin and Samuel, who are frequently mentioned in these letters.
After the war, Jacob returned to Union, Bedford county, Pennsylvania, where he earned a living as a carpenter, a farmer, and eventually a preacher. The Stiffler family is also mentioned from time to time in these letters. I believe they were cousins of the Claar’s.
The twenty letters are transcribed and may be found by clicking on the links below. Use your “back” or “return” key on your browser to return to this page.
List of Letters
Camp Relay, September 4, 1862 (10043)
Camp Relay, September 25, 1862 (10037)
Camp Relay, September 29, 1862 (10033)
Camp Relay, October 8, 1862 (10045)
Camp Relay, October 14, 1862 (10044)
Camp Relay, November 27, 1862 (10039)
Near Camp Sumwalt, December 9, 1862 (10046)
Camp Sumwalt, December 17, 1862 (10047)
Camp Sumwalt, December 23, 1862 (10048)
Camp Sumwalt, February 5, 1863 (10049)
Camp Sumwalt, May 28, 1863 (10051)
Camp Sumwalt, June 4, 1863 (10052)
Camp near the Rapidan River, August 4, 1863 (10038)
Camp near Brandy Station, December 24, 1863 (10036)
Camp near Brandy Station, December 27, 1863 (10042)
Camp near Brandy Station, January 28, 1864 (10035)
Camp near Brandy Station, February 18, 1864 (10041)
Camp near Cedar Run, October 21, 1864 (10034)
Fort Dushane near Petersburg, February 9, 1865 (10040)
Camp near Washington D. C., June 13, 1865 (10050)