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Letter (#2) from Private Thomas Buchanan Linn, Co. B, 16th OVI
January 5, 1863
On Board Steamer Fanny Bullit, Mississippi River
to The Holmes County Farmer newspaper
Published February 5, 1863
Web Author's Notes:
The following letter of Thomas B. Linn, a drummer in the 16th OVI, was transcribed by contributor John M. Pierson.

Linn sent this letter to the local newspaper back home in Ohio, The Holmes County Farmer. It was written while Linn, the 16th Ohio and a large force of Union troops were on board steamships heading north on the Mississippi River, just after the disastrous Battle of Chickasaw Bayou (December 29, 1862) and toward Arkansas Post, a Confederate held outpost on the White River in Arkansas. Linn gives his account of the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou along with details on those killed, wounded and missing. It should be noted that Linn's data was not totally accurate as such information was difficult to compile.

This letter was written 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
Pvt. Thomas B. Linn
newspaper article

Letter from the 16th Regiment.

MISSISSIPPI RIVER, January 5th, 1863

EDITOR OF FARMER--Dear Sir : Friends at home are always watching their relatives in the army with anxious hearts, and anything concerning them is read or listened to with great interest. For their benefit I take my pen, and in my poor way will try to give a truthful account of the actions of our Regiment (the 16th Ohio), and particularly of Companys B and E, through the terrible assault on the enemy's works at Chicasaw Bluff, near Vicksburg. The expedition to Vicksburg left Memphis, Tenn., on Saturday evening, Dec. 20th, 1862, and arrived at the mouth of the Yazoo River on Christmas day, meeting with nothing worth of note on our way down. Friday morning we ascended the Yazoo about twelve miles, landed, and drove in the enemy's pickets. Saturday we advanced slowly, and in the evening our advance met and had quite a sharp skirmish with the enemy's sharp-shooters. Our loss: 22d Ky., 1 killed and 9 wounded; 42d Ohio, 1 wounded; 54th Ind., 1 killed. The 16th was not engaged. Sunday morning our regiment was ordered forward and opened the fight, which soon became general. We fought from daylight till dark, slowly pushing the Rebels back all the time. The fight was a desperate one; the enemy disputing every inch of ground, and only yielded when forced to do so by the cold steel of our brave boys, deliberately and well handled. I leave it to more experienced pens than mine to write the proceedings of the entire army, and shall confine myself to our own brigade and regiment. Colonel DeCoursey (Colonel of 16th, but commanding brigade) emphatically led his men all the time. He never said go; but always come. He was in front, in the heat of the battle, encouraging his men by his coolness and courage, as well as by his cheerfulness and encouraging words. Other officers may have been drunk; he was perfectly sober; and had he worn two stars, on his shoulder-straps in stead of an eagle, we might have been in Vicksburg today, instead of retreating up the Mississippi as we are. He had his coat badly torn and flesh touched under his arm by a rifle ball. The loss of the 16th on Sunday was, 4 killed and 81 wounded. Night closed the engagement for to-day, which had hotly raged since daylight, with the exception of a few minutes intermission about 10 o'clock, when the silence appeared to be even more painful than the fury of the conflict. Our boys occupied the field during the night, and at an early hour the next day the boom of canon and the roar of musketry too clearly announced that the strife was not yet at an end. Early in the afternoon of Monday the grand charge was made which decided the victory. It was a terrible affair. Whole regiments were cut down. Of the 16th Ohio, 1 Lieut. Colonel, 6 Captains and 11 Lieutenants went into the charge. Capt. Liggett and Lieut. Jones were the only two who came out unharmed. Lieut. Col. Kershner is wounded and a prisoner. We can hear nothing of Capts. Cunningham, Mills, McClure, Harn, Van Dorn, Lieut. Corn, Vorhes, Wood, Buchanan, Smith and Heckart. Lieuts. Ross and Reed are severely and Darcy and Beal slightly wounded. Below I give you a list of the killed, wounded and missing, from the 16th regiment, at the battle of Chicasaw Bluff, fought Sunday and Monday, Dec. 28 and 29:


The 54th Indiana suffered worse than we did. The 42d Ohio and 22d Kentucky also suffered severely. Here is a list of killed, wounded and missing from Company B, 16th regiment:

KILLED. -- Corporal Thomas Graham, shot through the heart.

WOUNDED. -- Second Lieut. John N. Boling, slight in breast; Sergeant Hiram S. Tipton, slight in foot; Sergeant Paul Wilder, severely in thigh; Corporal Jacob A. Cole, slight in breast and thigh; Corporal Thomas E. Phillips, slight in shoulder; Privates John Achamire, severely in leg; John G. Boling, explosion of shell; William Claney, slight in shoulder; Jonathan Cornell, slight in foot; Andrew Duncan, severely in thigh; Jas. Hogan, severely in shoulder; George Henderson, mortally in shoulder; Hugh McLaughlin, slight in leg; William S. Moore, explosion of shell; Alfred Nixon, explosion of shell; Thos. W. Shannon, severely in breast; Samuel Shannon, severely in arm; Hugh Tidball, slight in neck; Jonathan Tipton, explosion of shell.

MISSING. -- First Lieut. Silas H. Corn, Serg't Edmund McCoy, Corporal Martin V. Powelson, Corporal Myron F. Shrock, Privates William Anderson, D. B. Atkinson, Joseph Christopher, Samuel D. Detwiler, Henry Deglar, Robert McLaughlin, Thomas McConnel, Luther Parcell, B. H. Parcell, John Rosenberger, David Robertson, Henry Shire, William Smith, George Shank, George Weatherwax, T. D. Williams, Samuel W. Wade, Jas. Tipton, Solomon Tipton.

The following is a list of the wounded and missing from Co. E., 16th regiment:

WOUNDED. -- Sergeant Thomas T. Dill, explosion of shell; Sergeant Ohio Knox, slight in head; Sergeant Daniel G. Spring, slight in arm; Privates, Ezra Lemmon, leg amputated; Jonathan Wright, severely; Lewis Caskey, thumb shot off; W. S. Carpenter; Zimmerman Watts; John C. Spring, finger shot off; Albert Dial, slight in head; Thomas A. Kelly, explosion of shell.

MISSING. - Second Lieut. R. W. Vorhes, Sergeant Martin Ling, Corporal William B. Taneyhill, Corporal George Jordan, Privates James C. McCluggage, Francis J. McKee, Archibald Buckmaster, John Kimerer, John Christopher, Thomas Christopher, George Grim, George Kelsy, Silas J. Uhl, James Deets, George Snyder, Jacob Schneeberger, Benjamin Drushel, Newton Shrimplin, James Davidson, J. Harvey Wilson, Joseph Justice.

George Henderson died on the 31st, and in his death the company lost one of her best men. George was a good boy in every sense of the word. He was always ready to take or give a joke, and was a general favorite. He was a Christian, and nobly lived up to his profession. He has gone to receive his reward.

Thomas Graham fell like a hero, close under the enemy's breastworks. He entered that fatal charge with the air of a man who knew his duty, and was determined to do it. I am told by one who fought by his side that he advanced with a firm step and spoke deliberately of the enemy and his strong position. He fills the grave of a brave soldier and firm friend. Peace be with his remains.

Those of our boys who were taken prisoners have fallen into the hands of the 11th Tennessee Reg't (Col. Raines); the same that captured us at Tazewell, Tenn. They say they have that big pussy Uhl and others they had before, and assure us they will be well treated. The 11th Tennessee boys appear to have a good opinion of the 16th Ohio. They are a good set of fellows, if they are Rebels, kind and courteous to their prisoners. I have no fears for our boys' welfare as long as they have them.

Co. B, 16th Reg't O.V.I.

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