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Letter (#54) from Private Thomas Buchanan Linn, Co. B, 16th OVI
to his mother Margaret Buchanan Tidball Linn
January 23, 1864
Indianola, 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.

Pvt. Thomas Buchanan Linn

Letter addressed to Mother

Indianola, Texas, Jany. 23, 1864

This is my twenty-second birthday and I think I cannot employ my time better than in dedicating it to my Mother, she who gave me birth and so carefully watched over my infancy, guarding and protecting my every step as I approached the sunny period of joyous boyhood, and looked with anxious interest at the developing principles of budding manhood.

What debt of gratitude I owe for a good kind Mother's love. Many, oh, how many have never had a mother's care, have never know the depth of tenderness in those three little words --

A Mother's Love.
Sweet is the image of the brooding dove!
Holy as heaven a mother's tender love --
The love of many prayers and many tears,
Which changes not with dim, declining years;
The only love which, on the teaming earth,
Asks no return for passion's wayward birth.
Blest be the tie that binds me to that dearest of beings, my Mother,
whose prayers daily ascend to a throne of grace,
imploring the great God of battles to
From blasts that a chill, from suns that smite,
From every plague that harms,
In camp and march, in siege and fight,
Protect her son at arms.

And her prayers have not been unavailing -- I have truly been held as it were in the hollow of His hand and while many of my comrades, as good by nature, and far better by practice, have been carried off by the deadly bullet, or still more torturing disease I have been sparred from the leaden messenger of death or the weakening bed of sickness, a living monument of the power of the prayers of Christian parents. Pray on dear Father and Mother for

Prayer is the Christian's vital breath,
The Christian's native air.

Wicked as I may be I have this one redeeming trait -- I am a firm believer in the power of Christian prayer - sincere and earnest prayer. I have not written home this year yet. My only excuse is that I wrote to Brownhill, Aunt Love and to the Republican and I knew you would see all those letters and hear from me through them, besides I have not received any letters from home since the 29th of December. I answered them right away. I did not get as many letters from home as I would like to have had last year, this long silence seems as though I was destined to receive less this year. We only get mails semi-occasionally and I like to have a letter from home each mail. But maybe I had better not be scolding for I have been rather slow to write home of late myself. I think if I got one each mail I could answer it. What does Cicero mean that he never writes to me? I feel like writing him five or six spicy lines and sending them - would do so if I were certain he had not answered my last letter. I wrote him asking cost of going together, to each, and wanted an answer right away. I do not think I shall write to him until I receive a letter from him if that should never be unless it would be to haul him over the coals and bring him to his senses. Hurrah, here are two letters and a Republican -- I must read them.

letters were from Father and Billy Fleming. Will answer Fathers as soon as I finish this. I am well although my blood is not in the best state imaginable. I find it is the same with all the boys. If we get the bark knocked off our hands, get a little cut or scratch it is sure to fester and make a very sore place. I knocked the skin off of one of my knuckles New Years morning and it is not well yet -- was real sore but I have kept it tied up with tobacco the last week and it is getting better. I had a large boil on my face, also, at the point -- it too is a long time healing.

There is the first call for brigade drill and I cannot write any more till tonight or tomorrow. Give my love to Grandmother, Aunts, Father and all the children.

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