Dear Friend

Dear Friend
I have taken my pen and sit down on the ground
To write you a letter and something profound.
And as my health is pretty good I hope that this may
Find you enjoying a like blessing but living more gay.
You see, Dear Miss—I am so lonesome and sad
With no one to write to drives me quite mad,
And I thought to kill time, I would write this and see
If you, Dear Miss, would not write something pleasant to me.
I have been in the service almost three years
And like it quite well. Though time troubled with fears
About these nasty bullets that come at us so Quick
That before we know it, we’re dead as a brick.
I am not very old, neither handsome, but gay,
And have green backs sufficient, Our board bills to pay
In the event that we board, but ’twas not my intent
To speak of this matter without your consent.
Please excuse me, Dear—and I’ll say so no more
And will try and write as if I had wrote letter before
And will state to you plainly the facts in the case
And then if you do not like it you need not go on the chase.
I was born in the west, in a neat little village.
There I lived 12 years without learning to pillage
And then was sent north to attend a high school
And might have been there yet if I had not been such a fool.
But I thought that fighting perhaps be my forte
So I enlisted in the 10th to join in the sport
But the first little battle that we chanced to get in
Led me to believe that my forte in that was quite slim.
I can write nothing more that would be of interest to you,
So I will close this epistle with a hand here so true
And which will be yours, if you wish to accept it,
By giving in turn, one that’s willing to help it.
And I trust that you will answer, as soon as you can
And gladden the heart of a lonely little man.

Sgt. John Hill Ferguson, Co. G, 10th Illinois
August 24, 1864