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David Moser Papers

Identifier: Ms-2018-030

Scope and Contents

This collection contains 35 letters written by Union private David Moser, 199th Pennsylvania Infantry, to his wife, Sarah, from various locations including Philadelphia, Dutch Gap, VA, Richmond, Burkville Station, and Appomattox Court House, dating from September 1864 through June 1865.

Moser's letters detail many of the regiment's activities beginning at Camp Cadwalader in Philadelphia. From Dutch Gap, he described tunneling and canal work as well as picket duty, camp life, and activities near Petersburg. He spoke of dealing with hungry prisoners and, more importantly, his pursuit of Lee and engaging with his men at Appomattox. He also discusses the devastating effects of war on the citizens of Richmond and his sorrow over the assassination of his Commander in Chief.

In addition to Moser’s letters to his wife, the collection also includes an 1865 letter to her from her brother, soldier Edwin Rickert. There is also a check from 1912, a watch order from 1892, and a printed flyer from a 1917 Memorial Day flag raising ceremony in Scranton in which “Civil War Veteran D.W. Moser” is listed as raising the flag (he would have been 83 years old at the time).


  • 1864 - 1917


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from David Moser Papers must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.

Biographical Note

David Moser was born in Scranton, PA in 1834 and died in 1929. His wife, Sarah, was born in 1840 and died in 1916. They lived all their married lives in Scranton and are both buried there. David Moser was Pennsylvanian German and spelled many of his words phonetically (“trink” for drink, “fide” for fight, “sing” for thing, “wis” for with, “blanty” for plenty, etc.).

Late in the war, he mustered into the 199th Pennsylvania Regiment on September 24, 1864 and served until its end. His regiment originally mustered into service at Philadelphia in September and October of 1864 for one year. His regiment joined the Army of the James in October at deep Bottom Landing and was assigned to the 1st brigade, 1st division, 24th corps. The regiment saw little action, sometimes seeing dirt or dark tunnels more than they did the enemy. Heavy cannon fire reminded them that the enemy was still nearby. The regiment served trench duty there until March 1865 and participated in the Appomattox Campaign from March 28 to April 9, 1865. It shared in the final assault on the works of Petersburg April 2, 1865, as a part of Foster's division, which captured Forts Gregg and Alexander. After the fall of Petersburg, it followed in pursuit of Lee's retreating army to Burkesville and thence to Appomattox, losing two killed and one wounded in the skirmish at Rice's station April 6, and two killed and eight wounded near Appomattox on April 9th. After Lee's final surrender the regiment moved to Richmond, where it mustered out on June 28, 1865.


0.3 Cubic Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



This collection contains 35 letters written by Union private David Moser, 199th Pennsylvania Infantry, to his wife, Sarah, dating from September 1864 through June 1865, as well as several pieces of ephemera from 1892-1917.

Acquisition Information

The David Moser Papers were purchased by Special Collections in June 2017.

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the David Moser Papers was completed in March 2019.

David Moser Papers, 1864-1917
Kathryn Walters, Graduate Assistant, and Kira A. Dietz, Archivist
2019 (CC0)
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Virginia 24061 US