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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 24 - Chapter 14, 15 - August, 1862

Camp and Field

The boys amused themselves by concentrating their fire on several small saplings and pecking away until they yielded and fell, in some cases with several feet of their trunk torn to splinters. We ceased firing and returned leisurely to Tazewell, helping ourselves to the abundance of blackberries along the way.

Resting until morning we returned to camp, cleaned up, and were ready for another trip.

Published in Holmes County Republican
June 2, 1881


Second Expedition to Tazewell--The Enemy in Force.

The evening of August 2nd found us in bivouac at Powell's River ford, five miles south of the Gap, with column headed for Tazewell. Liesurely [sic] the next morning we moved out. About a half mile from the river we met an enterprising countryman with a stock of pies for sale. The first squad he met bought him out. The crusts of these pies contained but little, if any, shortening, and was tough. The filling was generally slim in quantity and rarely sweetened. DeCourcey was unreservedly hostile to these pie venders, and when he discovered any of them selling pastry to his soldiers, it raised his dander.

Within a mile or two of the river, where the road runs through a narrow valley, we saw the carcasses of several horses that had been killed a short time previous by a serious bounder that very nearly lost us the lives of some men. An ambuscade had been formed at night by some of our Tennessee troops to waylay a force of the enemy that was expected. The men not being properly informed, fired at some of our cavalry by mistake, but fortunately killed no men.

Moving leisurely on our way with an extensive train of empty wagons following. Passing through the town, we deployed in the fields beyond, and again scaled Walden's Ridge in battle order.

Our pickets that night were stationed to the right and left of the main road, on the crest of the ridge, with instructions to keep quiet and remain concealed at the dawn of day next morning. The night was uneventful, but a little before sunrise a squad of rebel cavalry came into

view around a curve of the road at the base of a steep rocky incline, about six hundred yards from our nearest pickets. They were evidently suspicious of our near presence and came slowly, advancing a few steps, then halting, looking sharply ahead and holding their guns on the pomels [sic] of their saddles. They were coming within easy range, when a citizen rushed out of a cabin by the wayside and in an excited manner signaled them back. Quick as a flash they turned and retreated out of sight at a swift gallop, with a dozen bullets zipping past their ears. The citizen was promptly arrested and sent back into the awful presence of DeCourcey, who gave him a terrible lecture and nearly scared him out of his wits. It was afterward reported that this was a Union man, and was only prompted to warn the enemy back through fear of an engagement being brought on near his house, where his family would be endangered.

Everything being in readiness, the 16th moved down the road on the southern slope of the ridge, into the shaded valley towards Sycamore Springs. A puff of blue smoke, the sharp crack of a rifle, and the peculiar ping of a bullet as it strikes the dry earth and bounds into the bushes beyond, disclosed the location of a bushwhacker in the laurel bushes on the hill-slope ahead. As we advanced the road ran into a wider valley where we came to the little hamlet of Sycamore Springs. Another citizen, whose conduct was considered suspicious, was arrested and held eleven days.

Some rebel cavalry remained in sight but carefully out of range, nevertheless we put ourselves in position to receive an attack, for well our commander knew that but a short distance behind the ridges, in our immediate front, the former garrison of Cumberland Gap was encamped behind entrenchments at the ford of Clinch river, and should they discover our small force would be inclined to make a resolute attack. With skirmishers thrown out and flanks protected with a small force of Col. Mundy's Kentucky cavalry, we ad-

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