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Letter (#11) from Private Thomas Buchanan Linn, Co. B, 16th OVI
to his uncle A. B. Fry
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.

Pvt. Thomas Buchanan Linn

Letter addressed to Uncle A. B. Fry

Carrollton, La., August 21, 1863

Your letter of the 31st July after a long journey came safely to hand today. The pen came through safely and I find it all I could wish. I would not have been better pleased with it if I had been there and chosen it myself from a thousand. It could not suit me better.

Yes, Mother in her last informed me of your sad bereavement. Last spring while I mourned the loss of a dearly loved Sister and brother and while my heart, torn and lacerated by that sudden and severe stroke of providence, was still bleeding for those loved one, you wrote me a letter full of sympathy and consolation poured oil on my bleeding wounds and pointed me by faith to the heavenly land above when they now are dressed in the gorgeous apparel of the blest and ever singing the praises of Him the dispenser of all providence, or on some glorious mission of love to us poor mortals, leading us in the path they trod and ever guarding us with the watchful care of guardian angels. Now you have met with a like misfortune in the loss of dear little babe. Much as I feel for and sympathize with you in your bereavement I can do no more than to refer you to your own words counsel to me in like bereavement and point you to Him who bled and died on the cross.

You will see by the heading of this letter we are no longer in Vicksburg, but have been aboard the mighty steamboat again and steamed down the Father of Waters passing Natchez both "on" and "under the hill" with all their fine springs of water; nice, cool looking groves and numerous watermelons (the chief attraction to us soldiers); leaving Port Hudson, the scene of many a bloody charge and disastrious repulse far in the rear; glancing at Baton Rouge, the capitol of all Louisiana and then swiftly gliding by, we find ourselves at last quietly lying by the wharf at this place. Carrollton is a pleasant little village on the river six miles above New Orleans and connected with that city by railroad, with trains running down every hour. Thus for the small sum of ten cents a person here can be placed within the boundaries of the Crescent City and for one dollar and a half an hour he can be driven all round through this stone paved city. For the same price - ten cents - he can go from here to Lake Ponchitrain where he can indulge in the luxuries of a salt water bath. I have not been to the lake yet - if we stay here much longer I want to go out and view the sights. I was down to the City one afternoon but did not have time to see as much as I wanted to. I want to go again when I have more time. I wish to go to the St. Charles Hotel, visit the Jackson square and see the beautiful stature of the old General and read with my own eyes his immortal words engraved on the stature -- "The Union must and shall be preserved." I understand the rebels while here, tried to deface this sentence of our noble Jackson. I saw any amount of small sail craft and two sloops of war -- the first I had ever seen.

Monday, 24th - Day before yesterday we had a real old Eastern Army review by Maj. Gen. Banks himself. It was a grand affair. We all marched down the railway about two miles to a large open field where we formed in column of Divisions. All of our Corps were out. Gen. Wasburn has command while Gen. Ord is gone and Col. Lindsey has command of our division. We are first division and in first line. Gen. Herron's division formed the second line, the third division, the third line and the artillery the rear line. We had not been in position long until the boom of the cannon announced the arrival of the big little man. He rode along the whole line both in front and rear and I think he reviewed a little better army than he ever did before or will again till he sees the same men another time. He then took position and we marched by in review and all was over.

The Eastern men and our troops can't hit it at all - they have a collison nearly every day -- have had a couple of pretty severe little spats with each other. One of the 22nd Iowa privates thrashed a New York officer the other day completely. We are under marching orders -- some say to Mobile -- others say Galveston, Texas. I think we will likely go to Mobile. We have orders to be ready to march but may not go for a week or more and then we may go in a day or two.

I have had no news from home for a long time except through letters written to others. Jon't Williams got a letter stating John and Mary Fleming were dead and that Billy and his Mother were not expected to live -- are they dead too, or are they getting better? I was greatly surprised to hear such news. I am uneasy about our folks at home, tell them to write soon.

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