Camp & Field Chapter 57 Camp & Field Index Page 16th OVI Home Page Camp & Field Chapter 59
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 57 - July, 1863

Camp and Field

Published in Holmes County Republican
March 30, 1882


In this bivouac, near Bolton, we got another soaking rain at night. Many boys made beds of rails to lie on. Though rough it kept them from the wet sod. Two months before we had been within a few hundred yards of this spot, in line of battle, facing towards Vicksburg. In front of us was a numerous army, well disciplined and defiant, which, in the intervening period of less than sixty days, was beaten, routed, cooped up and captured.

On the morning of July 8th we dried our wet blankets and clothing while we momentarily expected orders to march. The sun came out hot, shade was hunted up, and many soldiers that had lost sleep during the wet night were taking a nap when a scattering volley brought every fellow up. Some rebel cavalry had dismounted and crept up to the skirmishers of the 120th O.V.I., who were lying on our right front. Suddenly as the rebs delivered their fire, they skedadled helped along smartly by a sharp fusillade from the 120th. The bullets flew close but nobody was hit. Cannonnading [sic]was now and then heard far away to our left. A force of our troops were marching to the right of us, but as no firing was heard in that direction we judged there was no opposition. At three o'clock p.m. we resumed the march. Our cavalry in advance skirmished almost continually. Advancing about five miles we halted for the night and lay in line of battle.

We moved forward about five o'clock on the following morning. It seemed the enemy had left our front as it was quiet there. In the forenoon a party of graybacks were brought in. They had been at work repairing the railroad and had no fire arms with them. A tall, trim-looking mulatto appeared among us. His looks indicated that he was a house servant. The clumsiness of the field hand was absent and his clothes were of a better quality and well made. In point of neatness his appearance was superior to the sun-burnt and rugged soldiers around him. Soon he was invited to carry an old black coffee pot. Before the day closed he vamoosed and was seen no more. Question: Was he a spy, or did he get disgusted with the Linkum soldiers?

It was surprising how quickly the earth dried and the roads became dusty after the heavy rains. The enemy had done many things to render our progress uncomfortable. They had driven off stock, destroyed forage, set fire to the fences along the road. These things combined with the scorching sun overhead, and thick dust kicked up by the many feet, made marching disagreeable and suffocating beyond the power of words to describe. Near a large tract of timber that extended a long distance to right and left, in our front, we paused. Near the edge of the timber was a pond of stagnant water. Of this some of the boys drank. While here we were greeted by a shell that came over the tops of the trees from beyond the woods. Two companies of the 16th were deployed and sent forward. Passing cautiously and steadily through to the farther edge of the dense woods, they came into a small field of scrubby corn on the left of the road. A hundred yards ahead was an open grove of dwarf oaks. Where the road struck them mounted men were seen moving about lively. Presently several shots were fired by these, at some object in the road, then galloped away. A nearer approach disclosed a young man in Federal uniform, mortally wounded and dying. He proved to be a German and an orderly belonging to Osterhaus' staff. Had been captured the day before by the rebel cavalry and was shot while attempting to escape when he saw the Federal skirmishers emerging from the woods. He had a captain's commission in his pocket but had not yet been mustered as such.

Diagonally off to our right, in easy rifle range, a numerous body of the enemy's cavalry seemed to be massing in a large corn field, but as our forces in view augmented, the rebels retired.

Passing forward, the skirmishers cleared the scrub oaks and just beyond reached a planter's residence. There was no black people about and only an old gentleman and young lady at the house. Expecting a battle imminent, these two were ready to leave. They made complaints about the rudeness of the rebel cavalrymen coming on the premises and tramping the yard and taking all the water out of the cistern for their horses. Abundant evidence of the recent visit of the cavalry was noticeable all round. Beyond the house the skirmishers halted and two men were sent forward as videttes. These two seeing a horse saddled and bridled, standing where a fence had been thrown down, naturally supposed there was a man not far off, therefore kept dodging from tree to tree and examining the ground to the front with great care. The horse made an attempt to walk, then it was discovered that one of his front legs was broken, done probably, in running over the prostrate fence. The late rider had not stopped long enough to remove any of the equipments.

Tuttle's Division had come up behind Osterhaus', so that a goodly force of our men were handy for any probable emergency. About a thousand cavalry came to the front and halted a little in advance of the infantry. One company went ahead on the double-quick. In a very short time the crack of the carbine told that they had struck the enemy. A prisoner was soon sent back. He belonged to an Alabama cavalry regiment.

A lot of turkeys were taken in by the 16th boys. Hunting up some kettles around the planter's house, the fowls were cooked. To those who were fortunate enough to have a dip in, it was the most delicious grub they had up to the present time since the beginning of the march.

In the after part of the day the troops all moved forward, constantly prepared for battle.

Beyond Clinton, and about four miles from Jackson, we passed the night. Soon, on the morning of the 10th, rifle firing was heard along our front; possibly our advance exchanging shots with the Confederate pickets in front of the works at the town. We advanced along the Vicksburg road until within about one mile of the fortifications, then turned through a woods to the left. When we had cleared this, we advanced along its north side in column of companies. Now the shells from the enemy's batteries began to wake us up a little.

A soldier of one of the regiments ahead of us, rolled over on the sod apparently in agony. As we marched by some one asked what was the matter? He replied: Cramp in the bowels. Although it proved to be a genuine case and no play off, it amused the boys and raised a laugh.

Behind a slight ridge, thinly covered with large trees, we stacked arms in line of battle. Our skirmishers went over the ridge out of sight, and immediately attracted a brisk musketry fire from the line of works a few hundred yards away. Two of Foster's twenty-pounders were run into position on the elevation ahead, and at once attracted a terrific fire from numerous entrenched cannon, that seemed to have accurate range of the ground. In the midst of flying dirt and exploding shell, our brave gunners worked their pieces a few minutes, unwilling to be whipped out even by such fearful odds. The patient horses standing in their regular position, showed little excitement in those moments of suspense. One of the faithful animals was struck fatally and sank to the earth without a struggle. An artilleryman, by the name of Murphy, temporarily assigned from Co. A, 16th, had a leg fearfully lacerated by a piece of shell. A cannon ball struck under one of the guns, bounded upward, and tore the heavy iron sheeting on the under side of the trail as if it had been pasteboard. Shells came so thick and close that we laid low. One shell struck a stack of guns in Co. D, and ruined several of the pieces. Our cannon were pulled back by hand and the fury of the fire ceased.

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