|Camp & Field Chapter 77||Camp & Field Index Page||16th OVI Home Page|
Camp & FieldArticles
by Theodore Wolbach
The Final Chapter
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 78 - October-November, 1864
Published in Holmes County Republican
The Luminary was carrying a detachment of men north that belonged to the Veteran Reserve Corps. They had taken a lot of bounty jumpers from Boston via the Atlantic and Gulf to New Orleans, and were now on their way back. They were rather a peculiar sort of a crowd for us to drop into just then. When we got aboard they had all the berths on the lower deck occupied, and monopolized the only stove outside of the boat's cooking department, and early gave us curt hints that they didn't want us to disturb them in their possessions, and told us that the captain who had charge of them outranked our Colonel. A few hours on the boat with them bred familiarity, so when our boys were ready to make coffee they shoved the pots and frying pans of the V.R. to one side to make room. They remonstrated and told us of their big officer and what awful things might happen to us if there was no abatement of such vandalism. By and by the boys invaded the berths and lifted out such baggage as was found there belonging to our snappish companions in arms. Much bluster and many threats was the natural result but our boys hung to every advantage gained with grim tenacity. When we reached Cairo on the 12th the Veterans and us parted company, which, perhaps was more of a relief to them than to us. On the way up a detail of men was constantly kept on the hurricane deck ready to return any fire that might come from the shore. The arms used belonged on the boat. A steamer that was several hours ahead of us was struck from the Arkansas shore by a volley in the night. Our regiment, with its usual good traveling luck, went on unmolested. We soon embarked in freight cars on the Illinois Central R.R., and before long were rolling along through a part of the greatest corn region of the world.
On the 13th at 10 a.m. we reached Terra Haute, Ind. 4:30 found us at Indianapolis. On the way a lot of the boys broke open a freight car and made a raid on some boxes of canned fruit. One of the participants, James Deets, took sick suddenly and severely and had to be left at Indianapolis where he died before the end of the month. We disembarked at this great capital city, marched to the soldiers' home, took supper, and returned to the cars.
Bill Garing comes to the front again in a round here with a thief that was detected stealing his baggage.
On the 14th at 5 p.m. our train reached Columbus and we marched out to camp Chase, four miles. Some spacious vacant barracks were assigned to us. A few days sufficed to acquaint the boys with all of the conspicuous surroundings. The comfortable quarters of the 88th O.V.I.; the big enclosure where thousands of Confederate prisoners were then kept; shady land with its romances; the capital city with its public buildings and many other attractions were taken in.
The 18th O.V.I. came in one evening and pitched tents back of us a short distance. After three years of busy soldiering they were on hand for their walking papers. Some of our fellows had cleaned up and put on new clothing. Probably by this some of the 18th fellows mistook us for new troops and came over to
make a raid on our cooking utensils. It was a huge joke on them, but they got better acquainted and didn't trouble us any more.
The daily theme with the boys was "when will we be discharged?" Such a spirit of restlessness took possession of the majority that high board fences and vigilant guards could not confine them to camp limits. Many took lodging in the city, while others visited their homes. Finally the entire regiment was boarding in the city at their own expense. When the paymaster was ready the companies, one at a time, were marched to his office in an upper room of the State House, received their pay, including the one hundred dollars bounty, and discharged. A red whiskered sutler from Morganzie had followed the 16th to make collections from many of the boys who owed him.
The roll of the regiment showed about four hundred and forty including the absent sick. Before the evening of Nov. 4th every company was mustered out of the United States service. The 16th O.V.I. as an organization ceased, is disbanded, its ranks dissolved like mist. The war-worn boys are citizens once more, to go and come at will. Comrades take a final hand-shake and depart for their homes. The flag of the old 16th is placed in the flagroom of the State House. On either hand are the flags of sister regiments, whose eagles have pointed to victory and final triumph. Shut in from sunshine and storm the silken fabric peacefully hangs an honored relic of a mighty civil war.
With this issue closes my long series of imperfect articles in which I have attempted to revisit in memory the war trail of our soldier days, extending over a distance of many thousand miles and embodying a period of three years service. For the result of my effort I make no claims for literary merit. Many errors have crept into the columns. Almost every article was written at night when my day's work was done, and other people were sleeping. Much of the material was gleaned from memory, and brief notes long in my possession. For many accurate dates and interesting incidents I am indebted to Dr. B.B. Brashear and his noble wife, the diary of Fred F. Falk, deceased, Enos Pierson, Wm. B. Taneyhill, James Morrison, R.N. Gorsuch, and others. Many items worthy of mention have recurred to memory or reached me too late for insertion, but should a sufficiency of interest be manifested by my comrades the entire series will be revised and published in book form--then the new matter will be added.
In this retrospection I have, in simple language, endeavored to tell the story of a soldier; a story that might look grander under the embellishments of an abler pen. The task of reviewing the campaigns and marches of the 16th is constantly attended by the serious fact, that the glory of the regiment was purchased at a ghastly price. From camp Tiffin, in 1861, through campaigns extending from the mountains of West Virginia almost to the Mexican frontier the eventful pathway of the 16th was flecked with graves and streaked with blood. For some time it was my intention to sum up in one chapter the services of the three month's 16th, but as I was not a member of that efficient organization and could not collect in time the necessary data, the matter is abandoned for the present. Now, indulgent reader, after endeavoring under many disadvantages to interest you, I affectionately bid you adieu.
|Camp & Field Chapter 77||Camp & Field Index Page||16th OVI Home Page|