First Letter

John D. Kirby

His mother (Phoebe Graham Kirby) in Dewitt Co. Ill.

Colliersville, Tennesse

February 16, 1863.


Respected Mother.

I seat myself this evening to write you a few lines for the first time I came back from home and I feel ashamed of it. I am as well as could be expected under the circumstances. I have had a bad cold all the time. We have a great deal of rain and snow this winter. The citizens say more than was ever known before and you know that is not suitable for a soldiers life. We have a great deal of service to do this winter. The Rebels are very thick around here. We have a fight with them most every day we are out. We have had several prisoners taken out of our regiment but they have not got me yet, but I cant tell how long before they will.

I sometimes think I would not care much if they would for this war dont suit me the way it is going on anyhow. The Union and the Constitution I am for but nothing further. I am down on the Emancipation of Abraham's and so is most of our soldiers. I dont blame any soldier for what he believes is wrong, but I dont say much but keep thinkin it often. Curse the day when I went against your advice but i blame nobody but myself. i have heard you say that "bought wit was the best if you did not buy it dear" but I think I bought mine too dear to be profitable I am afraid, but I wont regret it if I only get out alright but I think the hardest battles are yet to be fought.

First Fort Donelson was taken and then Fort Henry was taken and it soon will be a year since the fight at Pittsburg Landing. Did you all think of my birthday the 18th? I was scouting all day then and I wonder if I will be on another scout on my next birthday but I thin~ not if I keep my health. Mother I expect you think I am a long time sending you some money but I am doing the best I can for we havent been paid yet. I am sorry that I cannot send you some now for I expec you are needing some bad.

Well I guess I will have to close for this time as it is getting very dark. Tell Lib and Till that I think they are getting very slack about writing to me here of late and some of the boys too, but what I hear from them they have to much to do with the girls to write te me. I know they have the bulge on me now but my prayers are that they wont have it on me always. I think if I was home now I could make up for lost time but I will hope for the future to bring me out all right I will close. Write soon, direct to Colliersville.

4th Illinois Cavalry

Company L. Via Cairo.

Your affectionate son, as ever


John D. Kirby

My love to all. Write soon.