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Letter (#8) from Private Thomas Buchanan Linn, Co. B, 16th OVI
to L.S.
August 17, 1863
Carrollton, Louisiana
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.

Carrollton, La., Aug. 17, 1863

You will see by the heading of this letter we have been moving again and that too further from home and loved ones.

Carrollton is a pleasant little town on the outskirts of New Orleans, in fact we might say it is a suburb of the Crescent City as it is but six miles to the heart of the city and we can go there and back for twenty cents on the cars which leave here at every hour. We arrived at the landing night before last but did not come ashore till yesterday evening and have just finished putting our tents on a nice but low sod and now I am writing to you, always my first duty when we change our location, and listening to the rain as it patters down on the tent. We were fortunate in getting our tent up before it commenced.

I received your letter of July 10 the morning we left Vicksburg. This is the one that tells of your fourth of July in Liberty. I would like to have been there with you. How much more pleasant it would have been to me than preparing for a hard march as I was. I never saw a sham battle but would much rather witness one than a real battle where there is more than the noise and show to torment one. You have a pretty good idea of what a fight is and how a wounded man looks, now in your mind enlarge the picture, imagine the ground over which the combattants are about to tred to be full of hills and gullies (such generally are battle grounds. I will explain why when I see you) one party has a long row of rifle pits and works thrown up to protect cannoneers (these works can be put up in a few hours and a battle is never fought but one party or the other has had choice of ground and a few hours to throw up works) then a long line of men marching up to these with bayonets fixed, their ranks full at the start but gradually thinned by here a man falling dead, there one wounded and a couple more leaving to help him to the rear while yonder goes one suddenly struck with bullet fever and running for dear life to hide his cowardly pate behind some friendly stump or rut while yonder comes a couple of brave fellows with stretchers searching for some poor fellow who has been struck with one of the enemy's destructive missiles -- listen now to the roar of the cannon and sharper, shriller crack of the more destructive rifle, to the whirr-whirr-whirr of the dangerous shell and the quicker whizz of the little bullet and you have a correct idea of a real battle. I hope you may never see one nor I another.

There is a great deal of sickness in our regiment but I am glad to tell you I am well. I am the only well one in our tent now, but there are only four of us - one gone home on furlough, another on sick leave, make the six, the number we had when we came to Vicksburg. I did not know Col. Bennett of the 68th O.V. but that is nothing strange as we never think of inquiring who a Colonel is even of our own Corps and he belongs to McPherson's Corps. I then belonged to McClernands Corps. McPherson fought on our right and the 68th was a mile or more from us. Maj. Gen. Ord is our Corps commander now and ours (Osterhaus) and Carr's divisions are thrown together and commanded by Maj. Gen. Washburne. I have no idea whether we will be here any time or not, or where we are bound for, but hope long enough to receive an answer to this.

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