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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 53 - Chapter 32 - December, 1862

Camp and Field

were running away, and the handle of a cross-cut saw had got into such a position that it played on the spokes of a wheel, which had the effect to make the horses perfectly frantic with fright. They shot past our front like a rocket.

After this had subsided, Company C, who were deployed as skirmishers, down by the banks of the Bayou, commenced discharging their rifles at the opposite bank, but no responsive shots coming back, they ceased. In a few minutes a large cotton-gin building near by caught fire. The soldiers had been carrying cotton away from it to make beds, and some one with a lighted match probably by accident, ignited the dry fibre. In less time than it takes to tell it the big building was a roaring bonfire. The exciting events of the evening began to look a little portentious [sic] to us. The last incident had lighted up the country and revealed every bivouac of our men with a half mile.

The night air was damp and chilly and a thick fog hung close to the earth. On the morning of the 28th, when it was sufficiently light to discern objects a few rods distant, the opposing pickets opened fire at each other, and some entrenched artillery of ours in advance of our regiment, put in a shot once in a while. Mounted orderlies and staff officers dashed briskly about carrying orders, and presently the 16th was called to attention, and marched by the flank, four abreast, out past the advance pickets, who were lying flat on the ground or crouched behind such obstacles as would protect the body. Strange as it may seem all firing ceased when we made our appearance on the dangerous ground. The pulse of the timid beat quicker, but the 16th moved solidly and resolutely, and strictly obeyed their commanding officer, Lieut. Col. Phillip Kershner, who was mounted and rode at the head of the column. When we had well cleared our picket's front, we filed to the right, and formed line in gigantic burrweed, that was very annoying as the dry hard burrs came loose from the stalk at the touch, and stuck tenaci-

ously to our woolen clothing. Less than a hundred yards from our line, in front, was a forest of heavy timber. The wide-spreading branches were festooned with moss. The foe in numbers, unknown to us, were crouching beneath the canopy. Why they did not fire at us was a mystery, but we were not destined to wait long. Soon the order was given to commence firing from the right of sections. The boys obeyed deliberately and with coolness. As soon as we commenced the rebels replied with vigor. A part of Lamphere's 7th Michigan Battery galloped into position, on our left, and took a hand in the action. The rapid firing soon produced at thick smoke, that, while it lingered around us, rendered objects indistinct a short distance off. The cannoniers, first distinctly outlined, soon looked like spectres in the sulphurous fog. The thumping sound of the field pieces, as they sent their iron bolts into the forest, with the rattling musketry fire, soon produced that partial deafness that all soldiers experience that pass through the ordeal of noisy battle. Other troops came up and joined in, and as the air became lighter, the smoke ascended revealing the pugnacious Yankee invader at his spiteful, deadly work. A part of the 16th was relieved by another regiment. Retiring a short distance they were ordered to lie down. Several here were struck by the enemy's balls, but none seriously hurt. Lieutenant Boling, of Company B, got a rap on the breast that made him feel sick and might have been worse but for his leather shoulder belt that cushioned the bullet. Ben Pursell, of the same Company, was struck on the arm by a spent ball. In the shifting of the position of the troops, a small part of our regiment was thrown forward as skirmishers, and the balance of the companies, formed in column of divisions, acted as a support.

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