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Letter (#19) from Private Thomas Buchanan Linn, Co. B, 16th OVI
to parents, Cicero and Margaret Tidball Linn
September 27, 1863
Berwick Bay, 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 parents

Berwick Bay, La., Sept. 27, 1863

Our knapsacks have just arrived, all right side up with care. The officer's trunks are not here yet and my paper and envelopes are in Lieut. Corn's trunk but I have borrowed from my mess mate until mine arrive and so am able to write a few lines home again at last. Our march is not yet over indeed I should say we have not yet started for the most of our journey so far has been on the cars. We had been waiting for two or three days before leaving Carrollton with every thing packed hourly expecting to move but did not leave camp and the sick boys until Sunday September 6th just three weeks ago this morning when we marched to the Mississippi river and went aboard the steamer Atlantic, sailed majestically down the river to Algiers - a city opposite New Orleans where we took the cars, piling on whenever we could find a foothold on top of wagons -- under them -- between them -- everywhere. The cars were flats such as we used for carrying railroad iron, wood, etc. in our country. They were loaded with our wagons and things, and then the men thrown in to fill up crevices. We left Algiers about four P.M. and ran a very little south of due west nearly all night - finding ourselves some seventy miles further into Louisiana at Bayou Beauf a salty bayou running up from the bay. We lay here just one week, the next Sunday we came on to Brashear City on the opposite side of this bay where we now are. We remained over there until day before yesterday when we came over here. It is the general opinion that we will stay here for a week or ten days. yet. We are camped on the west side of Berwick Bay on a nice sod but very inconvenient so far as water is concerned -- the water of the bay and all the bayous is salty and the tide rises and falls in them. Sometimes we have to use it for coffee but when we can do it we get water from puddles gathered by rain. Across the bay we dug wells but even these are salty to a certain degree. Water will be the greatest difficulty we will have in marching through here.

I am very anxious to hear from you, I haven't had a single letter since we left Carrollton although the mail comes every once and a while. I have not had a letter from home for over four weeks. Am very uneasy. Father's last letter spoke of Aggie being sick. I hear of so much sickness and death up there that I am afraid of that dysentery and more uneasy when I hear of sickness at home and then can not hear from there for a full month. I have been quite well for a few days back, was quite sick one night last week - had high fever and headache with pains in my stomache. The next day I had diarrhea and severe pains in my bowels. I think it will came from cold. I caught a severe cold when we commenced lying out this last time - have not got over it yet - am getting much better thought - diarrhea has stopped and the pains in my bowels have disappeared and I think a day or two more will find me enjoying usual health again. Newt Gorsuch has not got up with us yet. The furloughed boys are all at New Orleans - I do not know why they do not let them come on up. I received a note from him this morning, he says Ike McCullough and Stimmel are getting along as well as could be expected. I long for Newt to come up - I want to have a long talk with him. I don't know why it is I get no letters when others get them and when my Republican comes through all right. There must be some mystery about this. No letters come to me from any one. Let me hear from you as soon as this reaches you.

Sept. 28th

Newt got back last night about Eleven o'clock - he looks fat and well. I have had a long chat with him all forenoon. I am free from diarrhea today also from those pains in my bowels - my head feels much stopped up, otherwise I feel pretty well today. Gave my scraps and recommendation the latter may do me some good some time. I guess I have about filled this sheet unless I cross write it. I had better seal it up lest I do.

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