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Letter (#49) from Private Thomas Buchanan Linn, Co. B, 16th OVI
to L.S.
January 7, 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. 7, 1864

Your letter came night before last just one week after yours of the day before. I answered it as soon as I could afterward for the cold. My answer is still lying here, you will likely get this and it together. No mail has left here since the day before Christmas, just two weeks ago today.

I have almost made up my mind to go in with Cicero and your letter makes me more in the notion than before. I am awaiting and expecting a letter from Cicero which I think will decide me. I wrote him from Berwick and know he has received my letter through Father who had a letter from him before he mailed his last to me. I wrote to learn what capital we would need and his answer is important to me. Father appears to think well of our proposition; he says - I think it might do very well. Wapakaneta is a nice place and looks as if it would be a business place. This is a good deal for Father to say, he never says much without weighing well and then speaks to the point. The business if carried on right is a very lucrative one; more so probably than even dry-goods besides being more pleasant, to me at least.

You speak rightly when you say I have not capital enough to buy a farm without going to the very verge of civilization. That is just what troubled me. If I had the capital to purchase even a small farm in Ohio and procure the implements to work it, I would not hesitate to take it. You see I am crippled in every attempt by insufficient means. But such obstacles have been overcome and I can and will conquer them if life and health be spared me. How much nicer than sitting here with my blankets around me and my fingers so stiff I can scarcely wield my pen. We have not had an agreeable day for nearly two weeks; either blowing like fury from the North West or a cold drizzling rain equally as disagreeable. It is reported that one of the pickets froze to death last night. He belonged to the 69th Indiana regiment.

Cicero did not use to be any thing like me - not so full of gab -- more quiet and bashful. He is nearly two years younger than I am - is now twenty; has had more business experience than I have and I expect a better business man. Brownhill is my oldest brother's name. He has no trade and works on a farm. There is a would be artist here. I have seen but one of his pictures and that I would not have. It was blacker than the blackest Ethiopian I ever saw. I will see him and what kind of miniatures he can take as soon as the weather will permit and if I can get any thing of a likeness I will send it to you. I expect if we were to meet you would hardly know me. I am changed so much from the little school-teacher you knew four years ago. I weigh 160 pounds, quite an increase from the 134 I pulled down at the Corner. I have slight chance for whiskers on my chin to say nothing of the superb mustache which graces my upper lip. Hard-tack has set rather hard on my teeth. I have lost one back and one front tooth, with a fair prospect of more going the same way if I do not find something softer in the course of the next thousand years. But if I get off with only the loss of a few grinders in the service of old Uncle Sam, I will be content and think the sacrifice but light. I have numbered this letter No. 2 because it is the second written this year. My next will be No. 3 I expect you will have plenty of studying to make this out - my fingers were so stiff with the cold I could hardly write.

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