‘MTSU On the Record’ takes a peek at a...

‘MTSU On the Record’ takes a peek at a Civil War diary [+VIDEO]

A rare chronicle of life as a Rebel soldier was the focus of a recent edition of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Shirley Farris Jones

Shirley Farris Jones

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Shirley Farris Jones, editor of “Letters to Mary: The Civil War Diary of Dr. John Kennerly Farris,” first aired Aug. 4 on WMOT-FM (89.5 and You can listen to their conversation here.Letters to Mary cover web

Dr. Farris, a Hillsboro, Tennessee, native, was a hospital steward and assistant surgeon in Company I of the 41st Tennessee infantry.

He wrote letters to his wife, Mary, and saved them as small diaries until he could find a way to mail them or send them home to Coffee County by messenger.

The letters were full of tales of battles, medical treatments, camp food and other aspects of fighting for the Confederacy.

Shirley Farris Jones published the book 20 years ago, but the second printing includes additional material, including photos and illustrations.

“I came to know this man and to appreciate the quality of his character, the type of man he was, his dedication, his love for his family, his wife, his little boy,” said Jones, who is retired from MTSU’s Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures after working for the university more than 30 years.

“He was a very honorable man.”

To listen to previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at

For more information, contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.

A video clip of the interview may be seen below.