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Letter (#47) from Private Thomas Buchanan Linn, Co. B, 16th OVI
to L.S.
January 2, 1864
Decrow's Point, Texas
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.

Decrow's Point, Texas, Jany, 2, 1864

Two very precious letters from you reached me last Tuesday night just as I was about retiring. I'll bet I violated the rules of camp by keeping the light burning after time to read them. Had to tell the Officer of the Guard a little fib though. I told him one of our boys was sick and had to take medicine at ten o'clock. Fenner, my bedfellow, was sick but did not need the light to take his medicine.

We have just come through another of our Nor'Westers - the longest and hardest we have had since our arrival. It commenced Wednesday with rain and wind from the South-West - soon the wind blew from the North-West and blew so hard and cold a person could not stand it to be out very long without shelter. Wednesday night the wind blew down half the tents in the regiment and the poor fellows had to lye under the canvass all day Thursday, Thursday night and yesterday till evening before the wind fell so they could put up their tents again. Fire was out of the question, we had no wood and if we had the wind blew too hard to build fires. Fortunately for me and my mess, we procured timber when it was to be got and braced our tent well. It has stood all the storms since but I was kept on nettles all the time lest it would give way and go. Yesterday morning ice was frozen three inches thick in kettles left out. The first ice I have seen this season. Mr. Fenner and I have two blankets apiece and can sleep warm if it is cold. The wind is coming from the East this morning and it is trying to rain. I am afraid it will get around to the North-West and we will have another wind storm. These Nor'Westers are the worst things we have to contend with here, the rebels, who are entrenched some forty-five miles up the bay, are not expected.

I received When this Cruel War is Over and the answer. I think they would be real pretty played on the melodian and sung. I sent you an answer to Cruel War in my last, which was written by one of the 49th Ind. boys.

You ask me how old my little brother and sister were and how many brothers and sisters still living. I have four brothers and three sisters living. My oldest brother, Brownhill, is at work in Holmes County. Cicero, my second, is in Fort Wayne. It is with him I think of going in partnership. Ezekiel, Ida, Julia, Willie and Aggie are still at home. Zeke about 15 and Aggie about the age of Zillah. The little twins were about seven months old when they died. I never saw them. Mother said in one of her letters: - I feel lonely. I miss Lizzie and Cappie most just now. This time last year they were my constant companions. People told me when the little twins came our loss was made up, I said no, one child can never fill the place of another (and neither can they) but now when they are taken away it seems as if Lizzie and Cappie were taken again. Yet it was hard, very hard stroke on poor Mother. But she is a Christian and with Christian fortitude has borne all her trials. She goes on to say in the same letter - This has been an eventful year in our family. Yet our changes have all been meted out in mercy. We have more reason to be thankful than complaining. May you and I and all of us be found watching and prepared for any event that may happen. But excuse me for writing so much which, although of so much interest to me, may not be to you who are yet a stranger to them.

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