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Letter (#7) from Private Thomas Buchanan Linn, Co. B, 16th OVI
to his mother Margaret Buchanan Tidball Linn
August 9, 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 Mother

Vicksburg, Miss., Aug. 9, 1863

I must write you a few lines in answer to yours of July 22nd which I received a couple of days ago. Your fear lest I be an officer in a negro regiment may now be silenced -- I am still a private in the Old Sixteenth and likely to remain such. I had no opportunity after I wrote you of going into one. The danger I studied over before I concluded to go and was willing to run the risk. Our Government will force old Jeff to treat negro officers as only prisoners of war although the first lot taken will likely be put to death. If I were in a tight place and a negro officer, I would never give up but would sell my life as dearly as possible. I knew there would be but very little honor in it, but did not think it would be in any wise degrading. I now think differently. We are camped near a negro regiment and our officers will not have anything to do with theirs, so you see I am glad I did not go. I was going for the money. I wish Uncle Frey would answer my letter - I long to hear from him. None of you want me to take an office because you think if I don't when my time is out I will stay at home -- there you mistake me -- if I have an opportunity of getting a commission after my three years are up I do not think I would throw it over my shoulder. This rebellion must be put down -- I have as much at stake as any other and as good a right to fight it out.

Is Jonathan in partnership with Uncle Frey? I see by the paper that Frey & Co. are to suspend business on Thanksgiving day.

I received a letter from Brownhill yesterday, the most satisfactory letter he has written me for a long time. I did not get his letter you speak of and I have written him one if not two he did not get. I think from what he says he has an excellent place to work. I am glad of it. What do you think of his going to learn the Cooper trade?

Abe Weatherwax has come back to the regiment again -- he was at Memphis in the hospital. He is no better, can't speak a word.

I get nearly all my papers, sometimes I miss one. I did not get mine of July 9 till yesterday -- Billy Roberts obituary is in it. I wrote it. I send you the obituary and wish you to keep it for me. That was all a mistake about Gen. Osterhaus being killed at Jackson. They did not get our old "dutchman" if they did shoot close. Dinner is waiting and I must close.

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