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Excerpt from the Wooster Republican newspaper
abt. Decmeber 27, 1863
including letters discussing the regiment's presentation to Col. John F. DeCourcy
Web Author's Notes:
The following excerpt from the Wooster Republican newspaper is believed to have been published about December 27, 1863. The article contains a letter from Capt. Hamilton Richeson, Company G, to the regiment's former Colonel, John DeCourcy, presenting him a special sword the 16th Ohio soldiers purchased for him to show their thanks and respect for his leadership. Also included is Col. DeCourcy's response from Lexington, Kentucky.

It is believed a copy of this article was included with the letters and diary of Pvt. Thomas B. Linn, Company B.

Col. DeCourcy left command of the 16th Ohio on February 19 of this same year (1863) apparently due to dissatisfaction in having not been promoted to General. He was given command of an independent brigade in Kentucky, under General Ambros Burnside, and was instrumental in the re-taking of Cumberland Gap, in August, 1863. Read the detail of this action on the Soldier's Profile page for Col. DeCourcy.

Pvt. Thomas Buchanan Linn

Arcticle from the Wooster Republican newspaper

The 16th Ohio and Colonel DeCourcy

There are but few, if any, of our readers who have not heard of the brave and accomplished Col. DeCourcy, the first officer who commanded the Old Sixteenth Ohio. The citizens of Wayne County in particular, recall with pride, the weeks and months spent in Wooster Encampment by Col. DeCourcy, in teaching the brave boys of the 16th, the art of war, and all the maneuvers of company and brigade drill. None performed his work better or more industriously, and no regiment in Ohio went into the field of active service better prepared for the conflict than the first American regiment commanded by Col. DeCourcy. Through the eventful and bloody history of the 16th Col. DeCourcy was their pride. The history of the first capture of Cumberland Gap, and the long, toilsome and almost unheard of marches, to and from the American Gibraltar, are but a part of the history of DeCourcy and his regiment.

In the bloody and disastrous charge upon Vicksburg, (although made against his advice) Col. DeCourcy was a leader, and the 16th Ohio foremost of all the brave men, who made the charge. And again, at the recapture of Cumberland Gap, Col. DeCourcy, in command of a brigade, leads the vanguard, and his men are the first to plant the Stars and Stripes upon the heights. But we must not further extend our remarks by the recital of events know so well to most of our readers.

As will be seen by the following correspondence, the brave soldiers of the old 16th have presented Col. DeCourcy a very valuable and beautiful sword, sash and belt, in token of their esteem of their much loved Commander. The award was for a few days in care of Capt. Richeson, at the Exchange Hotel, where many of our citizens had the pleasure of seeing it, and the competent judges speak of it as an exquisite piece of workmanship, surpassing any thing of the kind ever exhibited in Wooster. The following is the correspondence between the regiment and Col. DeCourcy.

Wooster, Wayne County, Ohio Dec. 19, 1863.

Sir: The officers and soldiers of the Sixteenth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, have requested me to present to you the accompanying beautiful sword, sash and belt, in token of esteem for their much loved Commander.

I cheerfully comply with their request. The duty is a pleasant one, and in performing it, I esteem it necessary to mention the motives which impelled us to thus manifest to you the high regard in which you are held by the officers and soldiers you disciplined, and have more than once led to "glorious victory."

Officers there are who command the confidence of those under them, but who cannot win their respect. Others have the respect of the men but not their confidence. You, sir, not only possess the confidence, but also the respect of the soldiers of your regiment. They know you to be, from the history of your past life, which they have heard, an accomplished officer, and they soon learned to respect you for the qualities of your heart, for the frankness of your character and for the uniform courtesy of your deportment.

At Cumberland Gap, at Tazewell, at Chickasaw Bluffs, at Arkansas Post, in which actions you led the brigade to which the gallant 16th was attached, your bravery was conspicuous, and gained our applause; your courage amid danger was marked, and won our admiration; your skillful handling of your troops was unsurpassed, and made us proud to possess a leader so competent. Indeed, through all the vicissitudes, dangers, privations and vexations of a soldier's life, while you were with the regiment you made so perfect, your conduct was admirable.

The men of the "Old Sixteenth" observed all these things, and they soon learned to love and be proud of you; and it was to give you a proper testimonial of their love and pride, that they purchased for, and requested me to present to you, the sword which accompanies this.

Accept it, sir, and be assured that the soldiers of the 16th will mark the days of their as- sociation with you, as one marks the margin of his book, and the passages he especially loves, and would cherish in his recollection. And when we separate, may our separation throw back a glorious light upon the chequered scenes through which we have passed, and as the rays of the setting sun gild their various outlines, may we forget the softened troubles of the past in the glory of the present.

With the hope, sir, that the day is not far distant, when the efforts we, in common with thousands, have made for the Union, will bear their legitimate fruit, and thus return all the States to their former brotherly peace and prosperity. I have the honor, Colonel, in behalf of the regiment, to subscribe myself, very respectfully your obedient servant and fellow - soldier,

Hamilton Richeson,
Captain 16th Ohio Volunteers

To Col. John F. DeCourcy, 16th Ohio Volunteers,
Lexington, Ky.

Col. DeCourcy's Reply

Lexington, Ky., Dec. 26, 1863

Sir: -- Probably the highest reward a man can receive, is the approval of his acts, by competent judges, and when the judges have also been co-workers in the things for which they have him praise, that man may well remain entirely tranquil, under neglect or adverse criticism from other sources.

Such a reward has now been bestowed on me. The beautiful sword presented to me, by the officers and soldiers of the 16th O.V.I., the highly complimentary letter accompanying it, and the fact that you, sir, were chosen to make the presentation, and thereby add another grace to its value, form a recompense of a higher degree than I had ever hoped for.

I pray you to express to the officers and soldiers of the 16th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, my sincere thanks and heartfelt gratitude, for their great and generous kindness, as shown in these testimonials, and assure them that, as they are tangible proof of their good opinion of my doings, as a soldier, so they will forever be, to me, as a source of honorable pride.

Say to them, likewise, that if I succeeded in making so good a regiment of the 16th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, I owe my success to their own great intelligence, which was always ready to second my efforts. Their never flagging industry enabled them to learn quickly that which had been taught me in the Veteran armies of Europe, and they submitted cheerfully to the severe discipline which I insisted upon, because their sense of honor and their common sense told them that an undisciplined soldier, sooner or latter, will become contemptible in the eyes of the enemy, and dangerous only to those in whose cause he is supposed to be fighting.

In the field, before the enemy, in all moments of danger or difficulty, if I did well it was because they did better; under fire they were ever firm, cool and self-reliant.

From their knowledge of what feelings I cherish toward them, they need no further assurance how great and pure a source of joy their honorable success and prosperity will, in the future, always afford me.

Finally, sir, I heartily join you in the wish and hope that peace may again, and soon, smile over this great country and people, and restore to them their former glorious prosperity.

I have the honor to remain, sir, your obediently and gratefully,

John F. DeCourcy,
Colonel 16th O.V.I., U.S.A.

To Captain H. Richeson, 16th O.V.I.
Wooster, Wayne County, Ohio

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