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Letter (#37) from Private Thomas Buchanan Linn, Co. B, 16th OVI
to L.S.
November 24, 1863
Algiers, 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.

Algiers, La., Nov. 24, 1863

I received your letter of Oct. 21st last Saturday evening just before leaving Brashear City. We left there Sunday morning and came here on the cars the same day. Algiers as I told you in a former letter is just across the river from New Orleans. I do not know how long we will stay here, a large steam-ship is now lying at the wharf to take a load of troops to Texas but whether we will go on this ship or not I can't tell. Am not very particular. The first thing we saw when the train stopped here Sunday evening were our Chickasaw Bluffs prisoners. You may bet we were glad to meet them again. They are exchanged and were just waiting for a train to take them to Brashear City to meet us. They were out on dress parade with us last evening and I tell you now it made a vast improvement in the size of the regiment. We looked more like a regiment than we have ever done since the battle of Chickasaw Bayou. They came very near not meeting us at all for as they came down the river they were fired into by a large force of rebels and had it not been for the fog they would have been captured again. There were about 12,000 rebels -- part on one side of the river and part on the other side. They were trying to cross into Arkansas. The Captain of the boat wanted to surrender his boat but the boys threatened to shoot him if he did. They at first thought it was guerrillas and wanted to land and flax them out -- it would have been fatal to them had they gone ashore.

I expect we lose a great many letters by those guerrillas taking and burning so many boats. I received the letters you directed to Carrollton. I think it will be a good idea to number our letters and then we can always tell whether we lose any or not. I will mark this No. 1 and you mark its answer the same. I hope our numbers will not have to run very high before we can bring an end to their career -- lay down the pen and resume the tongue.

We will soon be only nine months men and the boys all begin to feel it. They go round now pushing one another about with get out of my way you are only a nine month man. Many think we will be discharged in June. You remember of seeing in the papers that the old troops enlisted in the first three hundred thousand and all will be discharged in June 1864. There is policy in it for if they are discharged in the spring any amount of the boys will re-enlist before the fall following if the war continues - thus Government will gain at least six months service by letting us off in the Spring.

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