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Letter (#13) from Private Thomas Buchanan Linn, Co. B, 16th OVI
to his father Cicero Boston Linn
September 2, 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 Father

Carrollton, La., Sept. 2, 1863

I received your welcome though sad letter a few days ago and I now sit down to answer it. This is your letter of Aug. 6th. I am waiting and watching for another from home to hear how the dysentery is. I am very uneasy about our little fellows. How is Aggie getting and has she been very sick? I received a letter from Si Martin day before yesterday written Aug. 10th. He says there is a great deal of sickness in the neighborhood and that some of our folks are sick. I am afraid of that Dysentery and to hear of any one having it in the family makes me very uneasy more so since Lizzies and Cappie's deaths. I don't know why it is but I have a strange pre- sentiment of some misfortune to befall some of you at home. I never was more anxious to get letters from home.

I was greatly surprised to hear John and Mary Fleming were dead and that Billy and his Mother were dangerously ill. Theirs has indeed been an afflicted family. Give them my heartfelt sympathies it is all I can offer. How are Mrs. Fleming and Billy getting? Have Robert Fleming's children got well? Who of Mr. Burkholder's family are sick? Are they very low? Are they getting better? etc, etc,? Tell me all about all the neighbors. Mrs. Wilson and Alec., Elizabeth Reed, Kidd's Family and all other who are sick. I think Frank Wilson might write to me, he never wrote any thing about his letters and money for his paper and stamps which I sent to Camp Chase as he directed. I would like to hear if he ever got them. I received the pen Uncle Frey sent me and answered his letter. I don't see why my letters have not gone through to you. I wrote to some of you at least once a week when we were where we could write. You must have misunderstood Issac McCullough's letter about me being sunstruck. Ike had one, a pretty severe one too, and I remained with him till he was able to go on and then kept with him till he was sent back.

We have marching orders again, are to move on the third (tomorrow) in light marching order, leaving our knapsacks and all extra clothing back to be well marked so that they can be sent to us when needed, we take a full supply of ammunition, have a ten days march before us through a country where the life of each soldier depends on his activity and ability to take care of himself and at the end of march we are to go into comfortable quarters. No one knows where we are going and as is usual in such cases many odd rumors are afloat without foundation. Some think we will be sent through the country to some point on the Mississippi river to keep off guerrillas, others have us on our way to Mobile, while I can't get it out of my head that we are going to Galveston, Texas. I do not think we are expecting to have much opposition in our route except from guerrillas and no fight at the end of it else how would we have comfortable quarters, besides only our division have orders yet to go. I think we are going someplace for guards.

We leave our sick all back. Ike McCullough, John Stimmel and Jon't Williams are all to be left - so I am the only one of old Mess No. 4 left to go and thank fortune I am in as good trim for this trip as I have been since we came down the river.

I like the country here far better than at Vicksburg. It is not near so hot here as it was up there -- there is always more of a breeze going. There are a great many sick here but I don't know whether as many or more than at Vicksburg. There have not been so many buried in camp but our sick were principally sent to New Orleans and I do not know how they fare there. The boys are so much worn out that there will be a great many sick no matter where they are taken. I tell you we have seen hard service and our regiment as well as our flag show it too. Our flag is but a small bunch of rags and ribbons - far different from the proud and beautiful Stars and Stripes we so proudly waived over our heads as we marched with a firm step through Wooster on our way to the scene of action - the bloody battlefield. I was out to see Lake Ponchatrain and bathed myself in its briny waters. It was a beautiful sight for one who had never seen so much water in a body before. I haven't the time to describe its sceneries. The water is just salty enough to taste it on it.

This will be my last letter till we arrive in our new quarters -- do not be uneasy about me - I will write again as soon as my paper comes up. I intend leaving it in my knapsack. Direct your letters as before and write as soon as you get this - we will be settled by the time and your letters will come to us. Give my love to all.

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