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Letter (#35) from Private Thomas Buchanan Linn, Co. B, 16th OVI
to L.S.
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.

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., Friday Eve. Nov. 13, 1863

Little did I think when I wrote you last seated in my gay little lodge at New Iberia that my next written in less than a week afterwards would be headed and written at Berwick's Bay - almost our starting point. We did not get to stay in our comfortable quarters but three nights before we had to leave them and fall back to our present encampment. I am hardly able to tell why we fell back but the general opinion now is that our object was accomplished, that we only went up to Oppolousas to draw the rebel forces while Banks effected a landing twelve miles from there without much resistance as the army had left there a week before to repel the Yankee hordes who were infesting Louisiana. As soon as we received our orders we began to fall back slowly. The rebels made a dash on Gen. Berbage's division - drove them from their breakfast and greenbacks )They were to be paid off and the paymaster was with them) killing 40, wounding 70 and taking 535 prisoners. Our troops rallied and charging back drove them from the field with a loss of 100 killed and many wounded and some prisoners. We lost all our baggage and camp equipage but saved the money. Our regiment guarded 52 prisoners as we came down.

The 16th Ohio was fortunate for once. We had a large train of empty wagons to bring down with us and the prisoners. We put the prisoners with a guard in front of the wagons then we piled into the wagons and started, rode 28 miles to Franklin where we found three boats with our 1st brigade on board. We went on with them and came the rest of the way on the boat. We are waiting for transportation to join Banks in Texas. Part of our 1st brigade the 8th and 18th Indiana went aboard a steam-ship and sailed down the bay yesterday. Banks lost five ships in a storm as they were coming from him to take more troops out. This will delay us some and we will scarcely get away from here for a week yet. I hope to hear from you again before we leave here for I expect a long time without letters when we leave here. We are just getting the returns of the election and glorious news it is.

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