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Letter (#20) from Private Thomas Buchanan Linn, Co. B, 16th OVI
to L.S.
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.

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.

Berwick Bay, La., Sept. 27, 1863

Our knapsack have just arrived and I now can get paper again to write to those whom I know are so anxious to hear from me. How glad I am that I can now write to you again -- it seems as if I am with you and am talking to you although I know it will be one long month yet before you will see this and pen me an answer. How cold that sounds.

Prospects for speedy termination of the war never were better than now. The rebels are falling back on all sides.

I must tell you where I am and how I came here. Three weeks ago this Sabbath morning we left our pleasant camp at Carrollton and went aboard the steamer Atlantic, ran down to Algiers which is just opposite New Orleans and at four o'clock in the evening we boarded the cars and ran nearly all night bearing a very little south of due west. In the morning we found ourselves at Bayou Beauf which connects with this bay -- the water quite salty when the tide is in. We put up our shelter tents and remained just one week, leaving the next Sunday morning for Brashear City ten miles further on. We stopped there until day before yesterday when we crossed over and came on this side of the bay. Brashear City, I would call it a village, is on the east side of Berwick Bay and Berwick town is on the west side - we are about a mile or a mile and a half further up the bay on the Berwick side. Brashear City is doubtless marked on the map, you will find it in Louisiana looking west from New Orleans. Berwick's bay empties into Atchafalaya bay which is marked if Berwick is not. Atchafalaya bay is just east of Grand Island. I think you can have no trouble in finding by the map where we are.

I think it very strange I have not had a letter from you since leaving Carrollton. I have not had a single letter from you or from home since we left Carrollton although the mail comes once in a while and the other boys get letters and my Republican comes regularly to me. My friends surely write and yet your letters do not reach me. I cannot imagine why this is. Hope they will get along some time for I am very, very anxious to hear from you again. Enclosed I send you a list of the roll of honor of our Company. Those who are dead are marked X, wounded +, those present now I have numbered - the rest are back sick, or at home, or on detached duty. My friend Newt Gorsuch has been at home and just come back and I have had a long chat with him.

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