This letter was written by 39 year-old James Alexander Gibson (1824-1910) of Media, Henderson County, Illinois. James enlisted as a member of Co. B, 59th Illinois Infantry on 17 July 1861. He mustered out of the service on 8 Dec 1865 at New Braunfels, Texas.
James was the son of John Gibson (1794-1858) and Martha Ann Campbell (1796-1828) who came to Olena Township in Henderson County, Illinois, in 1833. John Gibson was originally from Tennessee but came to Illinois after a brief residence in Greene County, Ohio. After his first wife died in 1828, John Gibson married Anna McNary (18xx-1864) in 1829. He came to Illinois in 1831 and lived one year in Sangamon County and one year in Warren County before settling in Henderson County.
James was married to Christina Land (1828-1877) in April 1849 in Henderson County, Illinois. After his first wife died, James married Amanda J. Carrol (1859-1942) and had a second family.
The letter was addressed to his younger half-brother, Andrew J. Gibson (1834-1909).
Addressed to Mr. A. J. Gibson, Olena, Henderson Co., Illinois
Camp near Murfreesboro, Tennessee
February the 2, 1863
I take my pen in hand to let you know I am getting along. I am well and hope that when these few lines come to hand, it will find you [enjoying] the same blessing. We have a wet time here and I am tired of soldiering. We had a big fight [Battle of Stones River]. It lasted 8 days. We lost lots of men and they lost twice the number.
I would like to see this war come to a close for I am tired of it. I don’t hear nothing but fight all the time. I have not been with the company for 3 months. I am with the train [but] I have got tired of that. I think I will stay my 2 years, then get out some how.
I was at the city [of Murfreesboro] last week and had a good time, you better believe. 3 and 4 and 5 women in every house and they had nothing else to do but to talk to the yankee boys — as they call them.
I will be at home as soon as I can and settle up. Then I think I will go West. I think there is a chance for me and my boy down there. I want to get me a farm and that is the best chance. Tell Stephen to write. I sent my likeness to Margaret Finney ¹ and have not heard from it yet. Write to me as soon as you get this. Give my respects to all and write me as well.
I am no nigger man. Goodbye from James A. Gibson
¹ Margaret (Gibson) Finney was James’ half-sister. She was born in Sangamon Co., Illinois, on 11 June 1830 and passed away at her home in Kansas City on 15 March 1913, aged 82 yrs., 9 months, and 4 days. She was united in marriage to William Finney in 1850.