Camp & Field Chapter 63 Camp & Field Index Page 16th OVI Home Page Camp & Field Chapter 65
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 64 - November, 1863

Camp and Field

Web Author's Note: Wolbach began telling the story of troops who were furloughed shortly after the fall of Vicksburg in the previous chapter (#63), and continues throughout all of this chapter (#64) with the current story resuming in the next chapter (#65). This description covers late July, 1863, through the time the furloughed troops rejoined the regiment in mid-September, 1863.

Published in Holmes County Republican
May 11, 1882


July 31st the steamer started. Rounding DeSoto Point, the good boat with its powerful machinery, walked manfully against the current, taking the boys farther and farther from the city that they could not look at, but with interest, as the distance softened the rough scars of war and beautified the effect to their eyes. The steamer Ruth started north a day ahead of the Hope. These two boats were among the finest and largest on the river, both side-wheelers, painted white, with large pictures on the wheelhouses. On the Ruth was represented an ideal figure, mammoth size, of the scriptural maiden in the midst of her sheaves--perhaps as she appeared when Boaz met her. The Hope had a female figure about fifteen feet high leaning on an anchor. Several miles above Memphis we met many charred fragments of the Ruth, which had caught fire and burned to the water's edge. On the lower deck of the Hope were over five hundred rebel prisoners, captured at Yazoo City and other places. The 29th North Carolina Infantry was liberally represented in the crowd. Some of the 16th boys had met these same gentleman at Tazewell, Tenn., under different and less happy circumstances, and of course they were glad to see them and remind them jokingly that they were the prisoners now. Hours were wiled away among these gray friends listening to and relating the reminiscences of the year that had just passed. The 29th were part of Bragg's army that had furnished reinforcements to Johnson in Mississippi, this summer. It was fun to hear them give their experience in the battle of Merfreesboro [sic].

The speculative spirit run high with some of these rebs and they were on the look out, even in their captivity, to get hold of something that they could exchange for money. One of them made a raise of some greenbacks that enabled him, through an accommodating guard, to buy a twenty pound cheese while the boat was making a short stop at Memphis. In a few hours the Johnnie had retailed the cheese out at a handsome profit. The guards were a fine looking, clever set of young men, detailed from the 2d Michigan Infantry. Their early service had been in the army of the Potomac. They had played a part in the bloody program and knew by experience what war's work meant. Gen. Phil Kearney was killed in front of their regiment at the battle of Chantilly.

Among the furloughed men were some wild, rough boys that got boozy and made some noise. In a few instances, not heeding requests to be quiet, they were suppressed by physical force. The 8th Missouri Infantry was represented aboard. They were about as reckless a set as could be drummed together. One of them, an Orderly Sergeant, privately told a 16th boy that he never expected to return to his regiment--he would desert. Somewhere above Vicksburg a citizen came on the boat. In conversation with our men he made some strong disunion expressions, was very arrogant and insulting--so much so, that Sergt. Thomas T. Dill resented by knocking him down. Soon after, at one of the landings, the man left.

The Hope was a little slow, with her heavy cargo of men, getting up the river. When the boys humorously called her the mope, it didn't sound inappropriate. August 6th, she reached Cairo, and left the furloughed men, who had their furloughs dated here.

Waiting in front of the foot of the stairs that led up to Gen. Buford's headquarters, where the requisite papers were filled out for each soldier, was entertaining to any one who was desirous of studying the gauge of men's patience. Every one could

not be first, and some one must be last. The guards only admitted two men at a time, and the work kept on steadily, yet it was a long, long time for the last, and before the big crowd was ground through.

The 16th squad keeping pretty well together, took train on the Illinois Central R.R. to Centralia, Ill., then east on the Ohio & Mississippi R.R. to Cincinnati. Near Osgood, Ind., a car load of cotton in the train caught fire. The train was broke and the burning car run on a side track at the town. Some of the citizens, fearing it would fire the town, pushed it back on the main track. The soldiers then uniting with the railroad men, removed it from the track altogether and the train passed on its journey.

All soldiers on leave of absence could travel by rail, on special rates that was then called military fare. On account of this some conductors denied the soldiers first-class coaches. On the morning of Aug. 7th, at Crestline, O., a conductor ordered some 16th boys out of a car, telling them they didn't allow soldiers in that car. The boys didn't move. He insisted. Then a lady whose memory should be emblazoned in letters of gold, arose and said substantially this: I honor our boys and am not ashamed to be in the car with them, and hope they will remain here. The soldiers did stay, and would have done so all the same even if the noble lady had said nothing in their behalf.

The furloughed men found their friends jubilant with joy, to receive them, when they reached the old familiar neighborhood. The larger part of the squad got off at Wooster.

One of the social events that accompanied the brief stay of the men at their homes was an evening banquet at Arcadome Hall, at which a pair of elegant silk flags were presented to the 16th by citizens of Wooster. Capt. A.S. McClure, in a masterpiece of eloquence, responded, accepting them for the regiment. The members of the regiment present--who had been gathered on the spacious stage of the hall--followed up with three hearty cheers for the donors of the flags. The little group of sunburnt representatives of a favorite organization, fresh from the field of action, were envied, admired and applauded by the immense crowd.

Following on the heels of this brilliant and peaceable affair, ensued something of a warlike character. In one of the up-town saloons on East Liberty Street, some of the boys met several strangers, whose lack of love for Federal soldiers was manifested in indiscreet utterances.

Coats went off and all went in,
Shouts and bad language swelled the din.

As the fight progressed the crowd augmented, and some civil officers appeared and put an end to the set to that had not been conducted in strict conformity with the rules of the manly art. Beer tumblers, chairs, &c., had borne a part. The result was peeled heads and bloody noses. The naughty 16th fellows were arrested and tried on a charge of assault and battery, and fined. Enthusiastic friends took up a collection, paid the fines and costs, and had money left. The surplus supplied the beer for a spirited jamboree at Jackson's restaurant.

Another unpleasant rumpus, down at Martin Limp's saloon, near the depot, occurred later.

This period was right in the heat of a political campaign. A Governor was to be chosen by the people of Ohio that fall. John Brough was the Republican candidate. The Democrats had chosen C.L. Valandingham, then an exile in Canada. Both political parties worked hard, and big mass-meetings were the order of the day. One held by the Democrats in Millersburg, Holmes county, was, for size, without precedent in the county. Many of the furloughed men attended and were treated courteously by everybody.

Wm. Korna, of Co. B, died before his leave of absence expired. By reason of his previous good health his demise was not looked for, and the intelligence of it was received by his comrades with surprise and keen regret. Billy was an honest, resolute, and reliable soldier.

Camp & Field Chapter 63 Camp & Field Index Page 16th OVI Home Page Camp & Field Chapter 65