Previous Linn Letter Soldiers Letter Index Linn Letter Index Page 16th OVI Home Page Next Linn Letter
Letter (#4) from Private Thomas Buchanan Linn, Co. B, 16th OVI
to his father Cicero Boston Linn
July 28, 1863
Vicksburg, Mississippi
Web Author's Notes:
The following letter of Thomas B. Linn, a drummer in the 16th OVI, was transcribed by contributor John M. Pierson who obtained it from Mary Bavender. The letters were part of a collection of papers from Linn and included a detailed diary. Combined, the letters and diary entries give us an intimate look at the life of a soldier in the 16th OVI during the Civil War.

These letters were all written or received while Linn was a Private in Company B. He was later promoted, on July 1, 1864, to Principal Musician, as a drummer, and transferred to Field & Staff. He survived the war and mustered out with the regiment on October 31, 1864, near Columbus, Ohio.

Pvt. Thomas Buchanan Linn

Letter addressed to Father

Vicksburg, Miss., July 28, 1863

Your letter, also one from Cicero received while we were at Jackson this last time. We were scarcely through sending up our long, loud and exulting shout over the capture of Vicksburg until we were ordered to prepare for a march although we did not start until the morning of the Sixth, when we started off with five days' rations in our haversacks and in light marching order taking only our gum-blankets. We were seven days besiegeing Jackson before we could prevail on Gen. Joe Johnston to permit us to go into town. There was no rash charging done at Jackson by our General and but one along the line made by General Loman's Division. He was put under arrest and sent back. It was a nice fight. We passed the battlefield of Champion Hill on our way out. I tell you it was a meloncholly sight to see the numerous graves of our fallen comrades and the carcasses of many artillery horses lying in piles just as they fell. Skirmishing with the enemy's rear guard commenced the other side of the hill. We had frequent meetings with them all the way through to Jackson. About six miles this side of Jackson the rebels caught one of Gen. Osterhaus' orderlies and shot him down like a dog. He belonged to the 3d Kansas Cavalry, had a commis- sion to raise a negro company with him, said to be why he was shot. He was not yet dead when our troops got to him and said that a sergeant in the 3d Texas shot him.

I was all through Jackson after it was taken. It was a most beautiful town, but is nearly burned to ashes now. I saw the ashes of a human body that was burned in the street, when there. Returning we passed the great Mississippi. I think it must be a beautiful place in peaceful times, there are four springs under one roof, but so many troops were stopping there that they had the springs dipped dry before we came up. This was a very hard march. Dr. Brashear says the hardest on the men we ever made, it was so hot and we marched so fast. Men would march until they would litterally drop down with sunstroke. The fence corners and shades all along the road was filled with worn out men. Ike McCullough dropped down marching along the first day with sunstroke. I remained back with him and kept wetting his head with water until he got so he could get along. I staid with him the next day too and we made it along as best we could getting up with the regiment long after night. The third day he came back to camp. Newt stood it first rate. Jon't Williams got along pretty well. I had a very hard through of it. I let a rail fall on my foot a day or two before we left the Black river and hurt my toe so that I cannot wear my shoe and had to make the whole trip in my bare feet; sometime the dust was so hot that I could scarcely stand it. It was amusing to see me jumping along like a kitten on a hot stove. The day after we left Jackson on our return we marched very fast and it was burning hot - at one time I thought I would surely fall over. I think yet if we had not rested when we did but have gone a quarter of a mile further I would have been sunstruck. My head began to whirl and feel hot and burning. But we are in camp again and I will soon get rested up. I think we will be paid off in a short time again; they are working on the payrolls now.

The army here are all being furloughed. Five out of every hundred get to go now, in ten days as many more and ten days later another lot, and so on till all go. The furloughs are for thirty days and we have to pay our own way. Newt Gorsuch, Jake Shank and Billy Koms get them this time out of our company. I don't know who comes in next. I bought a nice black satin vest from John G. Boling for $3.00. I will send it home with Newt and then if I do not get to go it will be there.

Lieut. Corn came to us while on the march to Jackson. I got the things sent me when we came back, suspenders, handkerchief, socks, comb, buttons, thread, needles, etc. We were real glad to see him. He looks natural. I will answer Cicero's letter in a day or two. I have a letter from Billy Fleming to answer - will soon. I believe I get all my papers, have not missed more than two or three for a long time. I sometimes get a U.P. from you and sometimes a Gazette from College Corner.

Did Uncle Frey ever send me that gold pen? If not and Newt Gorsuch gets home tell Uncle to send it with Newt.

I think the names you have given the little twins very pretty. I like them. I would like to see little Albert and Allie.

Previous Linn Letter Soldiers Letter Index Linn Letter Index Page 16th OVI Home Page Next Linn Letter