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The Camp & Field Articles
by Theodore Wolbach
Cpl. Theodore Wolbach

Cpl. Theodore D. Wolbach

Web Author's Notes:

The following image is taken from a book titled "Mortality and Statistics of the Census of 1850" in which it is believed retired Captain Rezin H. Vorhes, Company H, pasted over the pages a series of articles written by Cpl. Theodore D. Wolbach, Company E, titled "Camp and Field" and published, by chapter, in the Holmes County (Ohio) Republican newspaper from February 24, 1881 to August 17, 1882. The articles tell the story, in great detail and color, of the 16th OVI, from the inception of the 3-year regiment in October, 1861, through all its camps, battles and marches until it was disbanded on October 31, 1864. The articles pasted in the Vorhes book cover the first 35 chapters, published through October 20, 1881. All the remaining chapters were recently found in a Holmes County library by researcher Rob Garber who obtained copies, performed the transcriptions and provided to this website and which are also presented here, thus providing the complete work by Theodore Wolbach.

Throughout these articles click on the underlined white text for additional details.

The webauthor thanks 16th Ohio descendant Rob Garber for his excellent research on the Camp And Field articles and for performing the tedious digital transcription of those articles found on each page. The transcriptions were made to reflect the original articles verbatim, misspellings and all. Rob is the 3rd great nephew of Capt. William Buchanan, Company F, 16th Ohio, who served in the 90-day regiment as a private, re-enlisting in the three year regiment, and eventually making the rank of Captain of Company F. Thanks Rob!

Page 4 - Chapter 3 - December, 1861

Camp and Field

due no doubt to the unhealthy condition of the barracks when we first came there. With some of the boys it proved fatal, while others were rendered unfit for the services and were discharged.

The long looked for arms were issued to us at last; short French rifles with long sabre bayonets, the latter attached to the pieces with a spring; caliber of rifle 70, largest ball used by the infantry in the United States service.

Plenty of drill and guard duty in heavy marching order, we boys began to realize here more fully the gigantic preparation going on to re-enthrone law and order in the slave states. Volunteers had been sent here, and organized and gone to the seat of action. Every day or two, troops passed through southward. Our time to go was approaching, officers and men were impatient to move--we received marching orders and on the 17th day of December we board the cars for Cincinnati, sixteen miles distant.

Before we left Camp Dennison, our Colonel had called us up in column of companies in close order, and imparted some instructions to us, the regiment was to debark at the outskirts, and march through the city. The Colonel wanted us to observe that steadiness and obedience that is so becoming to good soldiers, to keep our eyes straight to the front and look dom'd impudent. I think the boys would have obeyed the Colonel's orders to the letter if it had not been that a part of our road through the city was graced with some very pretty young ladies, and then there was so many sign boards and show windows, that we would perhaps never have an opportunity of reading and inspecting, and the Colonel temporarily oblivious to our comforts, allowed us to carry our rifles at a right shoulder shift a very, very long time, of course this was painful to shoulders, and some of the boys sought relief in profanity.

After our march through the city of Cincinnati, we stop for a brief rest at the ferry-landing, and then are ferried over to the Kentucky side. We were now within the borders of a State where an armed enemy held a

large number of strong, strategical, and well fortified positions. We felt that we were a part of the force that was assembling to penetrate and break that line, that had the audacity to advance and establish itself on the soil of a State that had declined to secede, and a majority of whose sons were rallying to the national standard. We have crossed the rubicon in the full panoply of war--

Our bayonets were a thousand, Our swords were thirty-seven.

The long serpentine line wends its way up into the streets of Covington, and on to the Covington depot, where we embark on a train of cattle-cars, and move off for a ninety-five mile ride to Lexington, directly south. The tunnel near the city is passed and we are well on our way when night overtakes us. We don't make very good time. Cynthiana, Paris and other towns are passed in the darkness, and we debark at Lexington in the early morning. Passing up the historic valley of the Licking to this point in the night, deprived us of viewing ground that was rendered memorable by the frontier wars of long ago, where the moccasined feet of avenging war parties trod the earth, while the oldest member of our regiment was yet unborn. Rolling along through the gloom we were not permitted to see the River Ford at the Blue Licks, where the gallant Hardin and his plucky followers were ambuscaded, and a majority of them destroyed by a superior number of savages, in the days of Daniel Boone, who was present and in the thickest of the terrible affair. Boone's son was killed, and the father in bearing him from the field was confronted by a powerful Indian. Dropping the dead body of his boy, he shot the Indian resumed his burden, escaped with it and gave it a decent burial.

A half hour's march brought us to the race-course, south-east and just outside of the city limits. Loyal people of the city sent their colored servants with hot coffee and other refreshments for us, which of course were highly enjoyed by us. Our tents soon arrived and in a short time we were again settled down to regular camp-life. The race-course was enclosed by a high board fence, and so extensive that within its limits we had ample room for our encampment, and abundance of space left for battalion drill. Heavy details were daily made for guard duty. While on post the guard was required to carry his knapsack in addition to his gun and accouterments. This was called heavy marching order. Accoutred in that way we did most our battalion drilling. No wonder that many of the boys got sick and were sent to the hospital up town, some never to return to their companies. Excessive drilling, some of it on the double-quick time, was exhausting. Men that were accustomed to hard work were often heard to remark that this drilling was more fatiguing than their hardest work at home. Yet it was not done for nothing; good discipline was required, and in this way we obtained it.

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