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Letter (#6) from Private Thomas Buchanan Linn, Co. B, 16th OVI
to L.S.
August 2, 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.

This letter is addressed to L.S. Research by contributor John Pierson uncovers some confusion. Pvt. Linn married an Elizabeth Shafer in November, 1864, just a few weeks after mustering out of the army. In his letters, Tom used the nickname Lizzie and it is likely most letters addressed to L.S. were to his future wife, Elizabeth Shafer. However, Tom also was acquainted to a Lizzie Shera and may have also written to her. Research continues.

Pvt. Thomas Buchanan Linn

Letter addressed to L.S.

Vicksburg, Miss., Aug. 2, 1863

Another of your letters has reached me and found me still alive and well notwithstanding the unfounded report of Gen. Osterhaus having be killed. The old dutchman has not been hurt since the battle of Black River Bridge.

I wrote you as soon as we returned to Vicksburg telling about our trip to, and the taking of Jackson. That letter will relieve your anxiety for I know you will be anxious to get it. That appears the hardest when our friends know we have been engaged in battle with the enemy and can't hear from us - don't know but what we are dead or probably lying in some crowded hospital suffering acutest agonies from ugly wounds -- and yet those are the very times when all commun-ications are closed and no word can be got to those dear anxious hearts either confirming their worst fears of carrying the joyful tidings that all is still well. But that our present work is done, the Mississippi River is again opened and our transports can run its whole length from the Crescent city of the sunny South to St. Paul amid the snow and ice of Minnesota's northern clime, and I am still safe.

When I say I am a soldier for the war even if it does last ten years longer, I do not mean I intend to carry a rifle or beat a drum that long, neither will I permit that to interfere with our arrangements. I can serve my country and be a soldier without shouldering my musket - yet if necessary I can and will do even that again. But I am going home when my year is out and will then talk about how I will come back. We receive very encouraging news from the war in Ohio -- latest reports say Morgan and all his staff are prisoners in our hands: - hope it is true. I suppose Uncle Caleb's boys went in Capt. Carland's company - did they have a sight of the old gent while out? I would like to be sent to Ohio to put down copperhead traitors and have a hand in helping put Morgan out of trouble. I am so glad Morgan did not go through by way of College Corner as I was afraid he would. I don't want you ever to see more of war than you already have seen which is the bright side of the picture only. May you ever be preserved from seeing the dark side. Tell Zillah I must compliment her on the bravery of her threat and glad she has had no chance to put them in execution.

Our army is camped along the bank of the river and for miles above and below the landing. We came here day before yesterday from down the river a mile or more. Our army is being furloughed - three out of a company go at once. I don't know how soon my turn will come -- the officers will not tell us anything about it. Only those who have always done their duty get furloughs. There are twenty-five of our company on the roll of merit. My name is there I know - I saw the list, so if the furloughs do not play out before we all get them I am good for one.

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