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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 49 - May, 1863

Camp and Field

Published in Holmes County Republican
January 26, 1882


On the 13th we marched eastward leaving Carr's division watching the enemy toward Edward's Depot. Today we learned that Logan's division, of McPherson's corps, had a fight with a detachment of the enemy the day before at Raymond. The battle did not last long but was severe. Gen. Gregg commanded the Confederates consisting of one brigade on the field and another under Gen. W.H.F. Walker several miles away, hurrying up but not in time to take part in the action. The loss on both sides was heavy; the men fighting principally at short range. Among the killed on the side of the enemy was an officer that was very highly esteemed by the southern military. Col. Randal McGavock, of the 10th Tennessee Infantry. The evening of the 13th was a wet one for us. The place where we halted for the night was a plantation where the proprietor's house and slave quarters seemed to have been built in a grove of second growth timber. Houses, sheds and everything that had a roof was occupied by the boys, and when a detail was made for picket duty it was fun to hear the Sergeants hunting the men in the darkness. In a large shed was a lot of baled cotton that the boys appropriated, cutting the bales open and making beds of the snowy material. At intervals the rain poured down in torrents and the bivouac fires seemed to struggle for an existence. About midnight we suddenly got orders to move. In a few minutes we were on the road again making our way through the darkness toward Raymond, about four miles distant. It was very dark yet when we reached the town, and the frequent showers made the situation seem a little dismal. Having got strict orders not to scatter out we settled down wherever there was anything to sit on or lean against. So in our drenched garments we passed the hours until daylight. The town was full of wounded and rebel prisoners; many of the latter were Irish. On a hotel porch up in the center of the little town was a lot of muskets picked up on the battle-field. Some of the barrels were bent, evidently by being struck during the action. Across the street from our bivouac lived an elderly white man that had been a private soldier in Jeff. Davis' Mississippi Regiment during the Mexican war. The old gentleman--for such he seemed to be--detailed to us briefly his soldier experience of twenty years ago. On the morning of Logan's fight he had listened with keen anxiety to the fierce musketry hoping, as he candidly expressed it, that the Confederates would be victorious. When their retreating regiments passed back through town he wrote the number and State of each on his shirt cuff. There were five regiments of Infantry.

On the 14th we done the best we could to keep dry, and take a hasty look around the immediate neighborhood. The 15th opened out fairer. In good season in the morning we started out at a lively pace for Bolton, several miles north. Weather was fine and marching easy, and in a short time we reached the Jackson road. The hastening of regiments to get into line of battle here looked a little as if there was a rumpus on hand. Our wagon train was corralled in the rear of the line; surgeons with ambulances and attendants took their regular positions. Facing west our corps lay in line several hours. Ten thousand muskets and eight batteries of field artillery stood ready to receive or strike a blow as soon as the forces of the enemy came near enough. They were in our front and not very far away, but their exact position was not known to us. Far back toward Jackson we saw the glittering gun barrels of McPherson's corps (17th) coming to our support. They in conjunction with Sherman's corps, (15th,) had struck and defeated a small force under the Confederate Gen. Joe Johnson, the day before at Jackson. Sherman's corps remained a day in and around the captured place to destroy rebel property and

tear up railroads, and McPherson's was ordered to form a junction with our corps. As the advancing regiments got within supporting distance of us we broke our line and advanced leasurely [sic] westward. Small squads of cavalry in the extreme front exchanged shots with the enemy's advance until the opposing forces were so close to each other that it was a bad place for the cavalry to be sandwiched between. The activity of staff officers and mounted couriers told the old story that the fight was on once more. In the afternoon we deployed into line again and took matters a little easy. Osterhaus' division occupied a locality that was principally covered with heavy timber and almost entirely free from underbrush. The position of the 16th overlooked a fine open country beyond. A mile away at the edge of a woods were some moving objects that our boys were trying to make out. Some were positive that they were rebel soldiers; brought under a field glass they resolved themselves into quadrupeds lazily moving about in the shade. Lines of imaginary rebels proved to be long piles of cordwood. While some of the boys were yet amusing themselves with these observations, several spiteful shots not far away to our left front put every man keenly on the lookout. Soon the report came in that the enemy were feeling our skirmish line and one of the Company A boys had his side grazed by a bullet.

The serious aspect of things did not deter the boys from foraging a little. A beef was driven in and killed, and a hogshead of sugar rolled out from some obscure place and divided. The 22nd Ky. and the 16th being on very friendly terms, participated together in these little enterprises. Federal troops were seen moving forward on our right. These were Hovey's men who were moving on another road.

The morning of the 16th was beautiful. Under other and less warlike circumstances our soldier duties would have seemed like holiday pastime. Well aware from the numerous reports of the previous day, that the enemy was near and a bloody collision was inevitable, we instinctively felt that the boom of cannon or the bang of musket would not excite much surprise were it to greet us any moment. There was battle in the air and the sensation seemed to pervade the nerves of the men. Moving out at an easy pace in a few hours we reached the vicinity of Champion Hill, an elevation whose sides were mainly covered with dense woods, much of it scrub oak. The Confederates numbering about twenty-five thousand, commanded by Gen. Pemberton, occupied the crest. Our army within striking distance about equaled theirs in number and it might have seemed unwise to attack, but there was no time to waste in waiting for reinforcements. Our division promptly deployed to the right and left of the road that we had been marching on. Artillery moved to convenient points in rear of the Infantry. Foster's twenty pounders were handy to our brigade. After a short interval of activity, rifle shots were heard off to our right. Presently there was a fearful crash as of many trees falling in the forest, followed by a terrific roar that seemed to make the earth tremble. Every man sprang to his feet and listened eagerly to the awful sound that none could mistake. Hovey had run on the enemy and was fighting him with heroic fury. For many minutes there was no abatement to the volume of musketry. Hovey's men were driven back, but meeting reinforcements they went in again and after a struggle that brought into requisition the highest heroism gained a dearly bought but admirable advantage, driving the Confederates back and capturing many prisoners and much artillery. Logan to the right of Hovey threw a part of his division into line, and resolutely attacked; and aided by Crocker's division drove back the left of the enemy's line. In front of us lay Loring's division, one of the finest in the Confederate service. For reasons never made known, they declined to attack us, or aid their suffering comrades in other parts of the field.

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