Camp & Field Chapter 45 Camp & Field Index Page 16th OVI Home Page Camp & Field Chapter 47
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 46 - May, 1863

Camp and Field

Published in Holmes County Republican
January 5, 1882


For long years before the war our ears had been harrowed by the humiliating assertion that one southerner could whip three northern men. Here now is a splendid test, the rebels in front of the Indianians about equal them in number. The butternut line with its red battle flag stands well until the hoosiers are close--perhaps thirty yards, then they break into a confused mob and run for their lives--many of them surrendered. It was the 31st Alabama. The 16th had formed a sort of an acquaintance with them at Tazewell, Tenn. The previous summer, and some of the captured Alabama boys had some of the knapsacks we had lost in that encountre [sic]. The 18th was proud of its achievement and well it might be. A wave of cheers that drowned the musketry's rattle rolled along the Federal line. Soldiers broke ranks and threw their caps up in the air. Moving from this position about noon, we marched by the left flank around the head of a ravine filled with a canebrake, and took position behind a slight elevation. To our front in short range, but well concealed, was a strong force of the enemy. Our brigade was ordered forward but met such a furious fire that we were obliged to fall back as we were wholly at their mercy, and could not inflict any chastisement on them in their well chosen and superior position. One of Osterhaus's German staff officers rode ahead of us and had his horse killed under him. Several of the 16th men were killed and more wounded. We now went at the enemy in their style of fighting peppering away at them from behind anything that would protect the body. The 23d Indiana Infantry came up from the rear and under took to move to the front, but were driven back, leaving some dead men on the ground. From a log building rebel sharpshooters began to do some serious work. Our artillery having been somewhat inactive since silencing the enemy's guns, was appealed to to shell the house. Being a little tardy about complying Lieut. M.B. DeSilva called for volunteers to charge on the building. A handful of men promptly responded, but as soon as they sprung into view the rebels concentrated their fire onto them. Several were struck. Tom Cole, of Co. B, mortally. The rest instantly sought shelter. Soon our gunners launched some shots into the house and made the sharpshooters climb. Osterhaus's force was too small to carry the rebel position by storm or to flank it, but we held the enemy down to hot work and punished them considerable until a brigade of McPherson's corps came up and moved far around on their flank compelled them to fall back, when there was a grand rush for prisoners, the 16th boys securing some. Gen. Tracy, of Alabama, was killed here. One of his regiments that fought us

was the 6th Missouri, the same that guarded some of our boys while prisoners at Jackson bridge. A small lot of Confederate officers were taken. One of them, without good cause, bitterly criticised the manner in which our men treated the captive. He wisely obeyed an order to be quiet. Before the break on their right the enemy brought up a new piece of artillery and opened on a section of Foster's battery. The gun was a brass piece and was skillfully served in getting the range readily and exploding their shell dangerously close to our gunners. One of Foster's gunners, familiarly called Old Dan, worked one of the twenty pound Parrotts so accurately that at the third shot he dismounted the rebel gun. Many incidents of this fight would be worthy of mention, but space will only permit of a few. Some time in the after part of the day Gen. Grant, accompanied by Gov. Yates, of Illinois, visited our part of the field. They rode close to the rear of the line and in stopping to make observations remained mounted. Their clothes were covered with dust, but the Major General's strap of Grant's shone distinctly, and the face of the General wore that same serious expression that is given so correctly in almost every picture of himself. His mustache and beard was cropped as short as the stub of a cigar that stuck between his lips. To the zipping bullets he payed [sic] no heed. Not so with the stout, pleasant-looking Governor beside him, who kept up a perpetual dodging. At all parts of the line where this distinguished party appeared the soldiers cheered them and the rebels increased their fire proportionately. Among our wounded of to-day was Charles Crotentaler, a German of Co. F. He had been slightly wounded at Chickasaw, and, but recently rejoined his company. When he was struck here in the arm, he exclaimed in surprise: Tom tam rebbels shoots me agin. Crotentaler was a frank, out-spoken, good-natured fellow, and in his early soldiering had furnished a great deal of fun for his comrades. One dark dismal night as he was pacing a beat on camp guard, he heard footsteps approaching. He uttered a challenge in the regular manner: Halt, who comes there. The response came: Sergeant with the grand rounds. Charles never having been instructed in this military ceremony and probably being disappointed that this was not the guard sent to relieve him, shouted back: Go to h--l mit your grand rounts, I thought it was de relief. Some of the rebel wounded that could walk were assisted back to our field hospital by the boys. There they received the same attention as the Federal wounded. The Confederates captured here were on an average slick and clean looking. They had been doing garrison duty up to the day before, and their clothes had not yet got dingy by the wear and tear and dirty of campaigning. Some of their regiments wore dark brown or butternut colored clothing; others a light gray. The heaviest loss by any regiment in our brigade was in the 42d Ohio, who had about seventy killed and wounded.

Camp & Field Chapter 45 Camp & Field Index Page 16th OVI Home Page Camp & Field Chapter 47