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Diary of William Warner Reid
Corporal, Company C
1861 - 1862
Web Author's Notes:
The following excerpts were transcribed from the diary of William Warner Reid, a corporal in the 16th OVI. This transcription was provided by Robert Fisher, great-great grandson of the soldier.

Cpl. William Warner Reid


William Warner Reid


20 September

Company C of the 16th Ohio Infantry went into camp at Camp Tiffin, north of Wooster. Commanded by Captain E.W. Botsford. The Regiment was organized and mustered into the United States service on 2 October 1861.The field officers being:
Colonel John F. d'Courcey
Lt. Colonel George Bailey
Major Phillip Kershner
Quartermaster Cowan

At Camp Tiffin the Regiment was drilled and prepared for the field. Public dinners were frequently furnished by the citizens of the county. When well drilled in maneuvering, preparations were made for leaving.

27 November

The Regiment left Camp Tiffin and was transported by railroad to Camp Dennison. Camp Dennison being 15 miles north of Cincinnati. When we arrived found it nearly underwater, wading through mud, went into unfinished barracks. The sudden change of camp together with bad weather caused much sickness. At Camp Dennison the Regiment was armed with French Zouvre rifles with sabre bayonets.

14 December

Drew dress suits and overcoats. Having now been drilled three months, being well disciplined, having full equipments, the Regiment was ordered to the field in Kentucky. The enemy being then in possession of most of the state.

17 December

Left Camp Dennison. Arriving at Cincinnati, left the cars and marched through the city, crossed over to Covington Ky. where good dinner was prepared by ladies of city. In evening left city.

18 December

Arrived Lexington in morning. Camped on ground near city. Named our camp Camp Clay.


1 January

Ladies in vicinity of camp presented us splendid dinner. Weather very changeable, from warm sunny summer days to freezing rain and extreme cold. Ladies of city often came to see us drill always treated our regiment extremely well.

13 January

Regiment commenced marching southward. Marched 13 miles encamped near Nicholasville. This night snow fell.

14 January

Passing through Nicholasville, marched 10 miles camped near Kentucky River. Road very muddy.

15 January

Marched 12 miles camped near Lancaster.

16 January

Marched 16 miles passing Camp Dick Robinson going through Stanford. Went into camp at Hall's Gap.

17 January

Remained Hall's Gap for rest to wash clothes and clean arms. Very warm pleasant day.

18 January

Rain pouring down yet we resumed our march. Leaving the Pike road, we waded mud 11 miles and quartered in old buildings near Wayneburg. Completely drenched.

19 January

Marched 15 miles camped 4 miles north of Somerset. This day the battle of Mills Springs was fought. We could hear the sound of battle. Our Regiment did not succeed in reaching the scene of action. Our forces were victorious, completely routing the enemy, killing General Zollicoff in whom they placed great confidence. We remained in camp for 12 days naming our camp Camp Duncan. Our arms had got very rusty and were busily engaged in cleaning arms, equipment and clothing.

21 January

Left Camp Duncan and marched Southeast through a very mountainous country. The streams very high, being nearly impassable. In the afternoon rain commenced falling making it very disagreeable. After marching 18 miles we stopped to camp. Our tents not coming up, we laid out on a hillside rain falling all nite. Very disagreeable. Had a good place under an old shed.

1 February

The wagons having come up we marched 2 miles, crossing Buck Creek camping on its bank.

2 February

Marched 11 miles over very rugged country and arrived at Sublimity Springs. Sublimity Springs on Rock Castle River was formerly the summer resort of invalids. The scenery is very beautiful and truly sublime, the water of the springs possess rare medicinal properties. Camped in hotel buildings.

3 February

River rising prevented our crossing. Our provision being all eaten we were almost in a starving position.

5 February

Succeeded in crossing river. Carried our baggage to the top of the mountain, which was 1 mile. Marched until long after dark, went into camp in the woods, having marched 12 miles. During the night a heavy rain fell.

6 February

Resumed our march at 9 o'clock this morning and went 8 miles, arrived at London early in the evening. The roads very bad and the teams could not get to camp, so we were compelled to lay out again. Camped in nice meadow near 9th Ohio Battery. Our teams arrived on the eve of the 7th. Remained here until the 10th.

10 February

Started out at 8 o'clock this morning and marched 14 miles. Roads miserably bad. 49th Indiana came into London as we left. Company I was left at London on guard.

11 February

Marched 11 miles had snowstorm in the forenoon.

12 February

Marched 8 miles passing through Flat Licks Camp near the Cumberland River. Found the 14th and 2nd Tennessee, the 49th Indiana and the 7th Kentucky Regiments here. The river rising surrounded our camp, which was on a small knoll, kept us enclosed for 3 days. On account of this were living on half rations. Remained in camp for 13 days. On 26 February we received our first pay.

27 February

Moved 6 miles to Cumberland Ford and crossed the river went into camp on level piece of ground near Pine Mountain Gap. Stayed in this camp 30 days, built fort on the north side of the river.

11 March

Made a reconnaissance to Cumberland Gap. Arrived near Gap and had a good view of the works, returned on the same evening having marched 24 miles.

21 March

A second reconnaissance was made to Cumberland Gap with 4 Regiments of Infantry and 1 Battery. Got within 2 miles of the Gap. Drove in their pickets and bivouacked for the night.

22 March

Skirmishing all forenoon. Battery opened fire on the works and was soon replied. Changed our position after building large fires.

23 March

By a circuitous route we returned to camp having marched 31 miles in all.

28 March

Left the Ford and moved back across the river about 3 miles camped on the mountain side near the Widow Patton's. Named camp Camp Patton. Water both plenty and good. While here were reinforced by the 42nd Ohio, 19th and 22nd Kentucky, 33rd Indiana, two batteries of the 1st Wisconsin and the 7th Michigan also four siege guns.

28 April

Made another reconnaissance to Cumberland Gap in force. Going on two different roads, the 16th taking the left ascending the mountain to within a mile of enemy works.

29 April

Skirmishing nearly all day supported by 22nd Kentucky. One man slightly wounded in cheek and one mortally in forehead.

30 April

Returned to camp making march of about 35 miles in all. The 26th Brigade was formed, consisting of the following Regiments: 16th and 42nd Ohio, 14th and 22nd Kentucky, and 1st Wisconsin Battery, Colonel John F. d'Courcey commanding. 54 days in this camp.

22 May

The Brigade marched today, went 5 miles to the Moss house, where we camped until 7 June. Had splendid water, received 4 months pay.

7 June

Started at 6 o'clock for Roger's Gap. Marched 8 miles. Our road is through a hilly country, shady and pleasant.

8 June

Marched 14 miles. Roads very good, but mountainous.

9 June

Marched 10 miles. Crossed state line at 9 o'clock amid the cheers of troops and martial music.

10 June

Marched about 8 miles to the foot of the mountain. Found the road much blockaded, which stopped us for the night.

11 June

Got out of the blockade and fixed the road, and by dark moved over the mountain. Camped in a grove on rolling ground in Powel's Valley, Had splendid spring water. Remained here until the 18th. The enemy were in sight every day. The balance of the Division which went by Big Creek Gap joined us on the 17th.

18 June

Marched at 2 o'clock this morning and arrived at Cumberland Gap at dark. Made 21 miles, found the place evacuated and everything destroyed. We marched up into their works and fired a national salute. We camped on a knoll nearby.

27 June

Moved over into Kentucky side of the mountain, left of State Road, at the foot of the mountain. Camp was called Camp Virginia. The scenery from the top of the mountain is very beautiful. Our water was excellent, coming from a spring on the mountainside. The mountains abound with whortleberries and the valleys with blackberries. While camped here enjoyed excellent health.

26 July

The Brigade went to Tazewell, Tenn. on a foraging expedition. Obtained all the forage we wanted.

27 July

Returned as far as Powel's.

28 July

We returned to camp having marched 30 miles.

2 August

Went on another foraging trip to Tazewell. Arrived there about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, drove in the rebel pickets and occupied their posts ourselves. Found an abundance of blackberries, 3 and 4 gatherings. Foraged through the country. Had some skirmishing on 4 August at Sycamore Springs.

6 August

Regiment went on picket this morning and was attacked by a greatly superior force. They attempted to capture our artillery, but we kept them back until the artillery got safely away. We fell gradually back in good order, firing as we retired. We got in a good position behind a fence, where we fought until our last cartridge was gone. Then we retired beyond the town where our batteries were in position. The rebel's tried to plant a battery, but could not do it. Our gunners soon dismounted their cannon. Our loss in this engagement was 2 killed, 15 wounded, and 52 prisoners. They captured our knapsacks so we returned to camp that night meeting our whole Division near Powels River coming to reinforce us. We all returned to the Gap.

18 August

Moved our camp up on top of the mountain 3 miles distant. Named this camp Camp Reconnaissance. Stayed in this camp 21 days. Had to carry our water 1/2 mile up the mountain. Lived on scant rations and green corn.

8 September

Our Brigade left camp at 4 o'clock in the afternoon for Manchester Ky. Marched 12 miles to Camp Patton arriving there about daylight of 9 September and rested until 7 o'clock in the evening. Started and marched all night a distance of 20 miles. Stopped at daylight on 10 September and rested until 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Started on again and marched 14 miles stopping at 11 o'clock in the evening. Rested until 2 o'clock in the afternoon of 11 September, when we resumed our march. Arrived at Manchester about night, having marched 7 miles. Camped on a hill that had only one spring for the Brigade, but good water. Camped here for 10 days. The Division evacuated the Gap on 17 September and joined us here.

21 September

Witnessed the execution of a soldier of the 3rd Kentucky for the murder of a comrade. After the execution we prepared for marching and started at 12 o'clock at night. Roads very rough. Went 10 miles stopping at 10 o'clock on 22 September and rested until 5 o'clock in the afternoon. Started again and went 9 miles and camped until 3 o'clock in the morning of 23 September. Passed a burning spring this morning. After halting we drew a little flour and baked bread. Started again at 1 o'clock this afternoon and marched to Proctor on the Kentucky River. Arrived there at 8 o'clock at night having marched 29 miles. Had a slight shower tonight.

24 September

Resumed our march at 10 o'clock in the morning and went 15 miles halting at 8 o'clock at night. Passed through Compton and camped within 4 miles of Hazel Green.

26 September

Marched at 7 o'clock in the morning, came to Hazel Green and halted for 2 hours then resumed our march. Marched 8 miles when our rear guard was attacked by Guerrillas. Guerrillas killing one man, severely wounding another, and taking 90 head of cattle. Camped in the woods having marched 12 miles.

27 September

Resumed our march at 12 o'clock and after going 2 miles met the enemy. Succeeded in driving them off. Captured 7 mules and a case of surgical instruments. We continued our march to West Liberty arriving there at 9 o'clock at night, making a march of 8 miles. We camped in a meadow on the banks of the Licking River.

28 September

After lightening our loads as much as possible, we resumed our march at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Marched about 5 miles and camped at Mount Sterling Road.

29 September

Moved at daylight and marched 12 miles, camping in the woods.

30 September

Marched at 3 o'clock in the morning and halted for the night about 5 o'clock in the afternoon. Had to go over very dangerous place for water.

1 October

Started out at 4 o'clock in the morning. Found the road very much blockaded, having good pioneers we were delayed little. Seen the enemy several times, but pushed on as fast as possible. Marching 22 miles halting at 2 o'clock in the morning of 2 October, within a mile of Grayson. All very tired and slept soundly in the woods by road side.

2 October

Roused up this morning stiff, sore and hungry. Expecting to have a fight soon, but the Rebs had fled during the night. We marched through a town and went into camp in a nice meadow. Here we grated corn and baked cakes to last us to the Ohio River. At 4 o'clock in the afternoon we marched to Old Town, 12 miles. Arriving there at midnight, very tired of marching.

3 October

Resumed our march at sunrise, stopped at 9 o'clock and made coffee. Started again in half an hour and arrived at Greenupsburg on the Ohio River at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. Had a very hard rain about 11 o'clock. We camped near the river. The people treated us very kindly, for which we were very thankful, having marched 13 miles this day. All the march from the Gap we subsisted mostly on green corn and fresh beef.

4 October

Resumed our march again this morning. Down the river bank 5 miles to Reid's Landing, embarked on steamers and barges. Went down to Wheelersburg where we debarked during a heavy shower and marched into town where we found a nice dinner prepared for our Brigade. The citizens had more prepared than we could eat. We were in a condition to appreciate such kindness. After dinner we marched to Sciotaville, 3 miles down the river and camped near town. During all the march we were without tents having destroyed them at the Gap. Many of the boys marched all the way (over 200 miles) barefooted over a rough mountain road. We were a hard looking set to come into civilized country, many being nearly destitute of clothing.

5 October

This morning at 7 o'clock we got into cars and started for Camp Dennison. Arrived at Hamden, where we were to change cars at noon. After staying for 2 hours we were ordered back to Portland. We arrived at 6 o'clock in the evening and bivouacked in town that night.

6 October

Moved out 1 mile north of town and went into camp at 10 o'clock in the morning. Staid in this camp 16 days. While here many friends of the soldiers visited the Regiment. We drew new clothing and got in good condition for the field again.

21 October

We left Portland this morning at 7 o'clock. Marched 12 miles and camped on nice ground near a creek of clear cold water, and drew new tents.

22 October

Resumed our march at an early hour this morning and went 15 miles passing through Gallipoles. Camped 1 1/2 miles from town on the banks of the Ohio River. Country very beautiful.

23 October

Resumed our march this morning at 6 o'clock went 2 miles and crossed the river at Point Pleasant, Virginia. Went 10 miles, making 13 miles in all. Our road is along the Kanawha River and is in excellent condition. Splendid country.

24 October

Marched at 7 o'clock this morning and went 13 miles passed through Buffalo.

25 October

Went 8 miles today and arrived at Red House about noon, where we camped until 29 October. We had hardly got our tents pitched when a long roll was beat. It was a false alarm.

29 October

Marched at 6 o'clock this morning and arrived at Charleston at 2 o'clock, found it a pretty nice town. The rebels had evacuated and fled without a fight. We staid here until 10 November.

10 November

Left Charleston at 6 o'clock this morning and went 17 miles to Polka.

11 November

Marched to Buffalo. 17 miles.

12 November

Marched to Ohio River. 20 miles.

13 November

Embarked on steamers and started down the Ohio River. Our part of the Regiment was on the Kentucky West No. 3. In the afternoon we received 4 months pay.

14 November

Arrived at Cincinnati about dark and tied up on the Covington side.

15 November

Remained in port.

16 November

At 2 o'clock in the afternoon we proceeded down the river, bound for Memphis, Tennessee.

17 November

Arrived at Louisville at dark.

18 November

At 2 o'clock in the afternoon ran down through the canal, anchored in a stream a short distance below New Albany.

19 November

Remained anchored until evening, when we made a run of 3 hours. Stopped to weed and remained overnight.

20, 21, 22 November

Continued going down river slowly. River very low.

23 November

Arrived at Cairo, Illinois at 10 o'clock this morning. This afternoon at 2 o'clock went down the Mississippi River arriving at Columbus, Kentucky the same evening.

24 November

Left Columbus at 10 o'clock this morning.

25, 26 November

Continued going down river.

27 November

This morning arrived at Memphis, Tennessee. We went into camp 1 mile east of the city. Had a splendid drill ground, which we had to use nearly constantly. While here had a Grand Review by General Sherman. We staid here 23 days. This is a nice city.

20 December

General Morgan's Division embarked on steamers and went down the river to Helena, Arkansas, where we arrived the next morning and lay there until dark. Started out again, some of the fleet was fired into by Guerrillas. They landed and burned all the buildings in the vicinity.

25 December

Arrived off the mouth of the Yazoo River.

26 December

Went up the Yazoo 12 miles and landed on the Vicksburg side. Had a slight skirmish.

27 December

Morgan's Division along with d'Courcey's Brigade in advance, started out this morning at 8 o'clock, going towards Chickasaw Bluffs. Arriving at a bayou of the same name, where we met the enemy and skirmished with them all afternoon. Had several killed and wounded in our Brigade. We succeeded in driving the enemy from their positions. Overnight part of the troops built breastworks for the artillery.

28 December

We were roused this morning by the booming of artillery on our right, the ball being opened by General A.J. Smith. We were soon in line and moved to the front. We proceeded about 1 mile when our Regiment formed a line supporting the 7th Michigan Battery. We went forward and opened fire on the enemy who were in a strip of woods about 800 yards in front of us. The enemies balls hardly reached us, yet by appearance ours affected them severely. An incessant fire was kept up all afternoon. Regiments relieving each other by turns. In the afternoon we charged into the woods driving the enemy into their main works on the bluffs. The roar of the artillery and musketry was terrific, lasting until dark. We lay on the field tonight.

29 December

The morning passed with only a little artillery firing, at 10 o'clock a charge was ordered along the whole line. We were to take the rebel works on the bluffs, the signal for starting was a volley of artillery. We formed in a double line of Companies and started forward at the signal, through a perfect shower of shot and shell from the enemy batteries. We could protect ourselves some while in the woods, but on getting on open ground the enemy made havoc in our ranks. We crossed the bayou knee deep in mud and water only part of the line could cross, those that did were badly cut up, the rest fought from the banks of the bayou. We were forced to retire. Continued.

29 December

The rebels took 139 prisoners from our Regiment. A terrific fire was kept up until after dark by infantry and artillery. The loss on our side was very heavy. We retired from our positions 3/4 mile and lay in a corn field. It rained all night and we got very wet, a great many took colds from which they never recovered. Our defeat had a bad affect on the troops who were generally severely censored by the commanding General. Certainly it was a great waste of life.

30 December

Everything quiet today, except occasional shot. We move again to the front. The rest of the Brigade are building breastworks and standing picket.

31 December

Brought out the dead today under a flag of truce.

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