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Letter (#33) from Private Thomas Buchanan Linn, Co. B, 16th OVI
to his sisters Ida and Julia (Love)
November 13, 1863
Berwick, 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 sisters Ida and Julia (Love)

Berwick, La., Nov. 13, 1863

You will be surprised to see this letter headed Berwick when my last written to Ida was from New Iberia and we were then on provost duty with a fair prospect of remaining for some time. But such was not our good fortune. We had no sooner got everything fixed up neatly for a winter's stay till we were ordered to march back to Berwick. You may judge we were surprised for we thought our force large enough to hold our position and could not understand why we were falling back. True our advance had been surprised and had lost many prisoners but were not defeated. The army was then slowly falling back. Gen. Burbage's Division was lying at Round-about Bayou, 14 miles beyond Vermillionville. The paymaster had visited them - was just going to pay them off when the rebels came rushing into camp killing and wounding some and taking more prisoners. Our fellows soon rallied and charged on the rebels, drove them from the field, not, however, before they had destroyed all our camp equipage, etc. Our loss was 40 killed, 70 wounded and 535 missing. The rebels left 100 dead on the field, don't know how many wounded they had -- we got some prisoners but not near so many as they did. Our regiment brought 52 down with us. This surely was not the cause of our falling back. It is supposed that Gen. Banks is at Brownsville, Texas and they say our expedition was a success - that we did not intend to go further than Oppolousas -- only went to draw the rebel troops from Texas, while Banks got a foot-hold there. They had left Brownsville a week before Banks got there and was not expecting him at all. We are now awaiting transportation to join Banks. The 8th and 18th Indiana, part of our 1st brigade started yesterday. Banks lost five of his transports in a storm on the Gulf while they were returning. This will delay us a little and we may not get away from here for a week or more.

Our regiment was fortunate for once since leaving home. We had 52 prisoners and a large train of empty wagons to guard so we put our prisoners in front with a guard which was relieved every now and then and the rest of us piled into the wagons and rode till we came to Franklin, 28 miles and then we went aboard a boat with a portion of the 1st brigade and came the rest of the way by water. We have been here two days.

I received your notes in Mother's letter yesterday. I wish I had been there when you brought your cider home. It has been a long time since I had a drink of cider or eat any apples. I saw some apples yesterday - they were little bits of things no bigger than a walnut with the hull on and were half rotten. How do think they sold them? You will scarcely believe me when I tell you three for a quarter and they went like hot cakes at that.

I suppose Frank Wilson won't be here for some time yet and I won't get Ida's pin cushion for a while as they are not yet exchanged. You did not tell me who is going to teach your winter school. Julia says Henry McConnel was to see you. What kind of a fellow is he, Julia? Was his wife with him? I suppose not or you would have said something about her. Give my love to all - keep a large portion for yourselves and write soon again to your brother, Tom.

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