I know all about George W. Kirk's brother John. He was my grt grt grt grandfather and I have collected a great deal of information about him.
I will try to keep in brief and give the shortest version possible.
He was born in Green Co. Tennessee, the son of Alexander Kirk who had five sons who served in the Union forces, and grew to manhood there. When the Civil War broke out he spent the early part of the war as a scout and pilot. He would send out word that he would be leading parties of Unionists out of Confederate territory and into Unionist territory so they could enlist. Secretly, the men would gather and usually travelling at night and off the beaten path John Kirk led the men north.
In April of 1862, he joined the 1st Tn. Cavalry.
On July 12,1862, he enlisted as a private in Company D, 1st Tn. Cavalry, and gave his age as 19 years.
In August of 1862, both George W. nad John Kikrk transferred to Co. I, 1st Tennessee Cavalry.
Often he is listed on the rolls as "absent as a recruiting officer", "absent recruiting", "absent by authority to recruit", and in one case "absent and supposed to have been taken prisoner".
Mid December 1862 "The towering John Kirk led a small band of guerillas in a series of raids through Washington Co. Tn, looting the homes of Confederate sypathizers. Kirk's military standing at the time is murky. Some records show him then as a private in the 1st Tn Cavalry, functioning as a 'pilot and guide'. Another account has him engaged in recruiting with a Federal Comission 'in his pocket'."
He married Malinda Bell in 1863. She was a dark-haierd beauty and he a tall young man with auburn hair. According to family tradition, John was away on duty when a group of Confederates "paid a visit to Malinda's home demanding that she tell them where her husband was". She refused and they tore the place up. Not long after, John sent Malinda to live with relatives in the safety of central Illinois.
Late December 1862 John L. Kirk was hiding out in Shelton Laurel (Madison County, N.C.).
January of 1863, he led a raid on the salt works in Marshall (Madison Co. N.C.) and his men (mostly deserters from the 64th N.C.) tore up Colonel Allen's (of the 64th)home. This was the instigation of the Shelton Laurel Massacre. (By the way brother George, later in the War and two other Kirk brothers (and possibly John -my grt. grandmother said he was there, but I can find no officail record of it, but the records are a mess and grt grandma was right about all else she recalled as I later found records to back it) met up with the 64th at the Battle of Red Banks along the Nolichucky River near prestent day Erwin, Tn.) It just is one of those things where it all came full circle as far as the official war and personal grudges.
Fall of 1863 John L. Kirk promoted to Captain of Co. E, 5th Tn. Cavalry, later Co. E, 8th Tn. Cavalry.
February 1864 "Special Order #44 Major Geo. W. Kirk of 1st N.C. Voluteers and Captain John Kirk of the Tn. Volunteers detailed to recruit for the 3rd N.C. Mounted Infantry by General Scholfield"
March 1864 John Kirk filled out an affidavit stating that he was the Capt. of Co. E 3rd N.C. Volunteer Infantry. I won't go into the entire account of what happened and where they were (it is long), but John was shot in the chest, but not severly wounded as he found the bullett in his pcoket later and kept it as a momento of the occasion. Another soldier was shot in the arm and he was taken to Shelton Laurel and left with someone who was willing to take him in and nurse him back to health.
March 1864 John Kirk was wounded in action near Washington College, Tn. The following month he was dischraged. He was discharged in April of 1864.
There is far more to tell, but it is too much to write all at one time...
So, Kathreryn,I hope this helps and I hope that you will contact me, as I would very much like to hear from you. Joey Woolridge