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Letter (#10) from Private Thomas Buchanan Linn, Co. B, 16th OVI
to L.S.
August 21, 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. 21, 1863

A boat with a mail aboard come down the rive at last and I was not a little rejoiced to find another dear little epistle from the "Girl I left behind me." I will answer right away and maybe I will have a chance to start an answer on its way to cheer up your drooping spirits before many days. I know you are uneasy as it has been some time since you have had a letter from me. I wrote you a few lines as soon as we came here but there is still no way of sending letters so I will tear open the envelope and put this in with it and try again hoping I will succeed better this time. I think I can imagine how lonesome it must be for you when our correspondance is inter- rupted and you do not get any letters from me for several weeks. I am entirely lost when in camp and the highly prized letter does not come, not a minute passes but I keep wondering when we will get a mail and if the little love token from my Dearest Friend -- my betrothed -- will be forthcoming. And then the eagerness with which I watch the pile of letters as the Sergeant reads off the names of the lucky ones until I see the familiar writing on the back of one of the little white envelopes. You may bet I am not long in reaching out for it nor in breaking open the envelope and pulling from its hiding place the precious sheet.

But when they do not come -- my spirits which but a moment ago were all aglow and alive with expectations, as I see the pile of letters decrease and the happy fellows carrying off their prizes and my name not yet called, begin to droop and as the last letter is handed to the owner, my ardor is completely cooled down to zero and I moodily turn away to console myself as best I may till the next time comes hoping for more success.

You are right in supposing I have not been well and yet I am not nor have I been very sick. Our doctor says there is not a man in this whole army that is well. I guess I am about as near it as any of my acquaintences. I am suffering now from a very severe cold which affects my head making it ache dreadfully. It has rained every day since we landed until today -- everything we have has been wet and we had to sleep on the wet grass. Our tents are worn and rotted out, affording but indifferent shelter when it rains hard. We are promised new ones shortly. No wonder we all have colds.

You must not get it into my head that hard marching will kill me, for I have an idea we are not through yet. We have orders to be ready to move at any time - don't know where we are going but think we are preparing to make a descent on Mobile. Well we have an excellent start now and I hope our Generals will push ahead and allow no time for the enemy to recover himself. If Gen. Meade had only made a clean sweep in the East as Gen. Grant did in the West the rebel's prospects would have been dark indeed. Gen. Gilmore is approaching the rebel works at Charleston in the same manner Grant did at Vicksburg and Banks at Port Hudson, and cannot fail to succeed. Glorious news still comes from North Carolina and I hope that our long troops will be sent to their relief.

A large number of sick men were left at Vicksburg to be sent home on sick furlough when we came away from there. Three or four from our Company - one from my mess. Lieut. Boling, our Second Lieutenant and the man who commanded our Company all through our Mississippi Campaign, went home on sick leave a few days before we left Vicksburg. He was a very sick man. I believe him to be the most unfortunate man of our Company. He as been sick over half of his time in the army, lost two brothers and one sister by death, was home on sick leave about a year ago, got better, married a young lady and is now going home again a widower. I fear he will not get home alive. His wife died last spring. Lieut. Corn, our First Lieut., is also very sick. Company B has no commissioned officer now. New Gorsuch has also gone home on a 30 day's furlough. He lives between two and three miles from Fathers. I was acquainted with him before we came to the Army but not intimately. He is a noble fellow. I think a good deal like you, that it is harder to part the second time than the first and sometimes think I would almost rather not have a furlough at all than for so short a time. Thirty days from New Orleans hardly gives a person time to say "how do you do" and "goodbye" to one in Ohio. The song and music of "Dear Voices of Home" were done up in a roll and sealed down with the cover leaf. I am sorry you did not get it for I think it is real good. You may get it yet, I hope so at least. No - Mother has never asked any thing more about my correspondent. I suppose my answers were quite satisfactory.

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