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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 55 - Chapter 34 - December, 1862

Camp and Field

briefly addressed us. His voice had the tone of excitement, though he spoke clearly and with great assurance. The writer vividly remembers the substance of that speech. The General exhorted us to move promptly when we received the order, and walk right up and plant our colors on the top of the hill. His remarks had an enervating and peculiar effect on one of our new men, who sunk down groaning and in agony. A few minutes afterward we marched away and left him lying pale and weak, the result perhaps of intense nervous excitement.

Morgan went to each of the regiments of our Brigade and made short speeches. The motive was prompted by patriotism and was correct, but the effort seemed out of place in the face of existing circumstances. When the soldier has a bloody job on hand I think he prefers to be ordered at it without any superfluous talk.

Awhile before we were called into ranks, some troops without knapsacks and in light marching order, came up to the edge of the woods where we had halted. They were the 13th Illinois Infantry, and belonged to Blair's Brigade. They had been sent here by mistake. About-facing, they marched back, crossed the Chickasaw Bayou in the rear of us and took position in the dense wood to our left.

About one o'clock p.m. the order was given and we advanced. Solid and compact we passed through the forest and entered the slashing in the face of a hot artillery fire. The regiments preserved tolerable good order, passing over and around the huge fallen trees. The bayou was reached and crossed with some difficulty and confusion. As the men swarmed into the open space beyond, they received a furious musketry fire from the Confederate infantry in the earth-works in the immediate front and in point-blank range. The effect of the fire on the advancing troops was fearful. At every beat of the pulse scores of the Federals sunk to the muddy earth, dead or with weakening wounds, yet there was an effort on the part of the officers to keep up a semblance of or-

order. It was too plainly evident that the blazing rifle-pits, backed by entrenched batteries, were obstacles that could not be carried by broken regiments. To storm these works the troops must reach them in good order and superior numbers. The energetic resistance of the enemy broke the force of the charge so effectually that the men faltered and gave ground. The bulk of the brigade fell back to the bayou and beyond. Many laid down on the field, in little depressions or behind such covering as was handy. Many of these were so completely covered by the rebel infantry fire that they were compelled to lay low and reluctantly surrender to the enemy afterward. Gen. Frank Blair's Brigade went in on the left of us and shared a similar fate.

The thrilling and peculiar incidents of this charge would furnish an exciting chapter in the history of this ill-fated expedition.

The regiments of our brigade that participated in this affair were the 54th Indiana, 22d Kentucky, and 42d and 16th Ohio. DeCourcey was opposed to making this charge, and it has been said that when his men passed him on the way to the front he expressed himself in terms of regret. Some of the wounded, that lay helpless between the lines and could not be removed, were shot the second or third time. Some of our men insisted that this was done intentionally by the enemy, but it is hoped that they were not so barbarous. Some poor fellows attempted to get up and walk, but weak from the loss of blood, they would stagger and fall. Others tried to drag their blood-stained bodies or roll themselves toward our lies. Some succeeded in getting back to points of safety in this manner. The majority of these recovered, and a few of them are alive to-day. The wounded men of our regiment, that fell into the enemy's hands, fared badly. In dressing the wounds or performing operations, the rebel surgeons wee careless and rough. Jobe, a young fellow, a recent recruit of Co. I, had

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