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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 represents one of a series of articles written by Cpl. Theodore D. Wolbach, Company E, titled "Camp and Field" and published, by chapter, in the Holmes County 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 first 35 chapters, also presented on these pages, were obtained from a book in which the articles, clipped from the newspaper, had been pasted over the pages, believed to have been done by a descendant of Capt. Rezin Vorhes, Company H. All the remaining chapters (36 through 78), except chapter 60, 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!

Chapter 37 - January, 1863

Camp and Field

Published in Holmes County Republican
November 3, 1881


Our men captured in front of the rebel works were disarmed and formed in ranks and marched to Vicksburg, distant about five miles, and lodged in the jail and work house. Those that were unable to work, by reason of wounds, were taken in ambulances. Rebel soldiers were always eager to secure from their captives revolvers, if they possessed any, and for those coveted weapons they seldom failed to make close search. S.J. Uhl, one of the 16th men captured here, had a revolver which miraculously escaped the eyes of his captors. It was attached to a belt, and when Uhl stood up the skirt of his blouse hung low enough to conceal the weapon. When he reached the jail he more carefully secreted it, and finally brought it through to our lines, when the prisoners were paroled. They kept our men in Vicksburg until the 27th of January, when they removed them to Jackson, the capitol of Mississippi, forty-five miles back from the river. Here they were confined in an old covered bridge, on Pearl river. Part of the bridge was completely gone, but there was enough of it left to safely house the prisoners. While they were here, a part of the time the weather was very cold, and the men suffered very much in their airy abode. Some episodes of unusual interest transpired during their stay on the bridge. There were several bold attempts to escape but were invariably frustrated in sight of the bridge.

One night two young fellows, Geo. Kelsey and Archibald Buckmaster put into execution a plan of escape that almost proved a success. When it had grown quite dark they eluded the guards and got into a canoe that was tied near the water's edge, taking with them a haversack full of corn bread and beef that Sergeant Taneyhill passed from the rear end of the bridge to them and quietly dropped down stream with the current. The river was high and rapid and the night as dark as pitch. To the right and left was nothing but gloomy swamp-land. No sound but the rush of waters sainted (?) their ears, save once they heard a splashing as of some huge animal swimming. They never learned what it was. When they had progressed many miles on their gloomy ride the canoe one morning about daylight, came violently in contact with a ferry rope stretched across the river and capsised [sic]. It was so sudden and unexpected that the boys were thrown into the water, the boat drifting swiftly beyond their reach. They fortunately reached the shore and crawled up on the bank where they were kindly fed and cared for by the ferryman, to whom they showed the paroles that had been issued to them at Vicksburg, but unfortunately a few hours afterward, two Confederate officers, that happened to be near, came to see them. After examining their paroles, they quizzed them pretty close, and finally decided to take them to their camp about five miles distant, where they kept them a week and then returned them to Jackson bridge.

One of the boys that had repeatedly expressed his intention to attempt an escape, disappeared one night and was never afterward heard from. It is believe that the poor fellow was drowned.

Albert Brauneck of Co. H, tried his hand at escaping one night, but only got a short distance from the bridge when his boat struck a tree and spilled him into the river. He scrambled up into the branches and shivered there until daylight, when he called to some men on shore who helped him out.

One of the rebel guards, while leaning against the bridge banisters, lost his balance and fell over, striking square on his head on the rocks about twenty feet below, and was instantly killed.

S.J. Uhl, while a prisoner, made a good pencil sketch of the bridge, and it was some time afterward published in Harper's Weekly. Uhl was an expert with the pencil, and amused the rebel guards by sketching pictures of them. He has since become popular as a portrait painter and at present is in Europe perfecting himself in the art.

The treatment of the sick was reported as tolerable. There were a number of deaths; in fact, rather a large number for the period of imprisonment.

The rations were poor and scant, yet it is said the prisoners fared as well as the soldiers that guarded them.

Many of our fellows had a supply of facsimile Confederate notes, which in engraving and general execution were superior to the genuine Confederate money. With this extra rations could be purchased.

March 18th, the well prisoners were paroled and sent to New Orleans. The sick ones followed on the 7th of April. Some of the latter died after reaching the city. The boys experienced the full enjoyment of their release from their cool prison, and although they met strange faces they felt assured that they were among friends, for they once more saw the Union flag and the Federal uniform, and were treated as brothers.

Jackson Barracks, several miles below the city, were assigned the paroled men, where they remained until their journey north. They had for their companions a part of the Third Regular Infantry, who had also been recently paroled and sent into our lines. They belonged to the force that was surrendered by the traitor General Twigg, in Texas in the early days of the war. Having been prisoners in Texas a long time, much of their blue clothing was worn out. This was replaced by garments made from the canvas of their tents. Abandoned as these Regulars were by some of their officers, they remained true to the Union.

Our boys found pleasant pastime catching shrimps and crabs in neighboring bayous. These crustacae formed an excellent article of diet, and it requited little culinary skill to made [sic] them palatable.

The large ship Underwriter took paroled men from New Orleans to New York. Rosenberry [Rosenberger], of Company B, died during the voyage, and was buried in the ocean.

The commissioned officers were separated from the rest of the prisoners shortly after their arrival at Jackson, and sent to Richmond, Va. They were soon exchanged and joined the regiment during our operations in Mississippi the following summer. The non-commissioned officers and privates were not exchanged until several months later, which allowed them to enjoy a long stay at home. They rejoined us in time to go with us on the Texas expedition. On their way down the river, in November, the boat that carried them ran aground between the mouth of Red River and Morganza Bend, Louisiana. While they were working to get off, they were fired onto from the shore by a rebel battery. The pilot-house was struck by a shell. The engineer of the boat deserted his post, but the boys brought him back, and at the point of the bayonet compelled him to attend to his business. It was in the early morning, a heavy fog hung on the river. There was no ordnance aboard the boat heavier than some muskets. These the boys used vigorously and were soon aided by some gunboats that had been lying a short distance up stream. The rebel guns were soon silenced and drawn out of range.

A little incident is related of this affair that illustrates how close men often get to death and yet escape it. A soldier was carrying a coffee pot full of hot coffee across the boat when the first shots were fired. One of these shots knocked the pot out of his hands but did no harm to the soldier.

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