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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 17 - Chapter 10 - April, 1862

Camp and Field

mountaineer or the harsh tread of the Gray of the Blue as they alternately passed during the years of civil war. Here we commence the ascent of the Pine Mountain. Toiling over this and the first and second Log Mountains beyond, we are within a mile of a curve in the road that will again bring us in sight of the enemy's works; when we turn to the left again on the same road that we traversed on our last previous expedition. Marching steadily on, with orders to make as little noise as possible, crossing the Harlem [Harlan] road and entering a wild and almost uninhabited region, following paths where no wheeled vehicle could proceed, where the field and staff were compelled to dismount and lead their horses. The further we advanced the less distinct the paths became until they entirely disappeared and we only had the guide to depend on. Vast numbers of huge rocks partially buried in the earth of the mountain slope where they had been lodged ages ago, clumps of laurel, juniper, pine and hemlock, with stately oaks and chestnut covered the land-scape that swept skyward at a fatiguing angle in our course. Night came and we were ordered to bivouac without fire among the rocks. Despite the orders, ere long, little jets of light and tell-tale columns of smoke here and there, in cozy recesses or under shelving rock, betrayed the whereabouts of disobedient groups of soldiers who thought more of a cup of hot coffee than the success of the expedition. During the night a thick fog settled over us, and the early morning found us groping our way through this toward the summit of the mountain, which we reached after a laborious march of about an hour. We were now on top of the main ridge of the Cumberland, about two miles east of the fortifications of Cumberland Gap. On a clear day the mountains of North Carolina, forty miles away, can be distinctly seen from this point. Our nerves quickened in anticipation of a brush with the enemy, as we now rapidly narrowed the distance between them and us. Just beyond a long depression I the mountain summit, the picket guard of the enemy suddenly appeared, fired at our advance guard

and fled. Our whole force composed of the 14th Ky. Infantry and our Regiment increased our speed which soon brought us within short range of the most elevated fort and earth works at the Gap. Long Tom (the name the boys gave the iron thirty-two pounder in the fort) belched away at us until we got so close that our bullets kept the gunners from working the piece. A brisk fire from their rifle pits compelled our boys to take shelter behind rocks and trees, where we kept up a lively fusillade for more than an hour, when we were withdrawn and again took up our line of march for camp.

This skirmish was not without blood-shed on our side. Harbaugh, of Co. K, received a bullet in his forehead that resulted in his death a few days afterward. Barnhill, a rosy faced boy of Co. G, was shot through the cheek. The wound bled profusely but was not serious. The year following at the seige [sic] of Vicksburg he was killed.

From our lofty position during the fight we could see the Rebel log huts a thousand feet below us; about three miles away to the south toward Tazewell, we could see a train of covered wagons and now and then squads of mounted men.

Back to camp again we resume our regular duties. During our stay at Camp Patten we did picket duty a mile and a half above the Ford at a dilapidated unused still house. When the intervening creeks were swollen, these guards could not be relieved without a long and tedious tramp sometimes for two or three days at a time they were left on post, but the boys never regretted this.

One wet disagreeable day in the month of April, the guards at the still house were thrown into a state of alarm by the appearance far up the valley, of a detachment of between forty and fifty men. Approaching nearer it was ascertained that they were Union men, refugees from East Tennessee, all that was left of a company of three hundred, the rest were captured by the rebels or had become discouraged and had gone back to their homes. Of this remnant two were suffering from gun shot wounds re-

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