James Alexander Streams Papers
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James Alexander Streams served with Company A of the 61st Pennsylvania Infantry. He was with the regiment from their enlistment in 1861, until his discharge in the fall of 1864. During that time, Streams, as well as the 61st PVI, fought in most of the major engagements of the Army of the Potomac. As part of the 6th Corps, they were heavily engaged at Seven Pines and the Second Battle of Fredericksburg during the Chancellorsville Campaign. They reached Gettysburg on the end of the second day of the battle and did not play a major role. The regiment was heavily engaged at the Wilderness and Spotsylvania, where they took part in the horrific close quarters fight at the Mule Shoe. It was there that Streams was wounded. The 61st continued on to fight in the rest of the major battles of the 6th Corps until the surrender at Appomattox.
The letters give very good examples of life on the home front in 1863-64, as well as the campaigning life of the Army of the Potomac after Gettysburg. The focus of the letters varies by the writer. While he was away from the regiment in the fall of 1863- and early winter of 64, letters from his messmates Thomas Lemmon and Lemuel Brady cover the movements, engagements and living conditions of the 61st PVI. Some other major contributors are the family and friends of Streams, back in Indiana County, Pennsylvania. These letters give a detailed description of life back home and the hardships faced by the average people of 1860's Pennsylvania. The final set of letters come from after the war, when many veterans begin to move out west and reminisce their war experiences.
Gift of Mrs. J. Blair Streams