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16th Ohio Volunteer Infantry
Where was the regiment on
Thursday, November 13, 1862

On this day, the 16th Ohio, along with Col. John DeCourcey's brigade, left their camp at Point Pleasant, (West) Virginia, and boarded steamships. The 16th Ohio occupied two boats, the Key West #3 and Mamora (see images below), which had been staged and were waiting for the troops at Point Pleasant on the Ohio River. The flotilla began its journey south and west on the Ohio. Cpl. Theodore Wolbach writes:

The fleet conveying our brigade made a grand appearance as it moved steadily down the Ohio. The weather was mild for the season and the river air refreshing and healthy. At Guyandotte, on the Virginia side, near the mouth of the Big Sandy, the Federal troops turned out and remained in line until the fleet had passed. The paymaster was reported to be on one of the boats. The report was verified in a day or two by us receiving pay I think for four months. Plenty of money so suddenly launched into the pockets of the soldiers was the forerunner of luxurious living. At every place the boats touched, guards were promptly placed upon the staging and places where men could reach the shore. Precautions were taken to prevent the smuggling of whiskey on to the boats. All aboard were lively and happy in anticipation of something that was not clearly defined, and had it not been for the indiscreet use of intoxicating liquor this long boat ride would have been a series of merry holidays for us. Intoxication in several instances produced trouble. The offenders were arrested and punished, and possibly this caused several of the desertions that took place before we reached Cairo.

It is not known how far the flotilla went on November 13th but Cpl. Wolbach gives us clues in the telling of the following story believed to have taken place on this night:

The officers congregated in the cabin had their spurts of amusement as well as the soldiers below. One very dark night, while our boat was moored to the shore at one of the little Kentucky towns, the officers drew 'cuts' to see who should go ashore and get a supply of apples. Captain Harn was the first lucky man, and he promptly started down the cabin stairs on his errand. A large lamp hanging between the two forward posts cast sharp shadows in both directions. Harn, mistaking one of these shadows for the gangplank, undertook to walk ashore on it, and fell into the water. He scrambled out and went back dripping wet to the cabin. After a good laugh at the Captain's expense, they all drew again and sent Lieutenant Liggett. He went forth and met with a similar experience, mistaking the shadow for a plank. When Liggett, sopping wet, had rejoined his companions and the uproarious laughter had subsided, a happy thought suggested itself to one of the party. Harn and Liggett had been at variance, for some time, so one of the officers proposed that as both had a ducking they should drop animosities and be friends. Both of the victims were willing and grasping each other's hands. Harn addressed the Lieutenant: 'We have now been baptized in the same church, let us henceforward be friends and bury the hatchet.' And so it was until the captain fell in battle the following month.

The 42nd Ohio, brigaded with the 16th Ohio and 22nd Kentucky, took their passage on the steamer Fanny McBurney, the three (or more) boats staying close together in their voyage down the Ohio River. Pvt. Frank Mason of the 42nd tells us that they learned the fleet was under orders to go to Memphis, Tennessee. They also learned that General Morgan's 7th Division of the Army of the Ohio was to be broken up. General Baird's brigade returned to Kentucky; Generals Spear's and Carter's brigades returned to Tennessee, and General Morgan took DeCourcey's brigade and Foster's Battery and were ordered to Memphis to join the army now organizing under General William T. Sherman for a campaign against Vicksburg, Mississippi.

DeCourcey's brigade, just a few weeks after near disaster and the grueling march from Cumberland Gap to the Ohio River, was off to a new and possibly dangerous adventure.

* Information and italicized quotations from a series of articles entitled Camp and Field - The Old 16th Ohio, written in the 1880s by Theodore Wolbach, late Corporal in Company E, 16th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

* Some Information and some paraphrasing, above, taken from The Forty-Second Ohio Infantry - A History of the Organization and Services of That Regiment In the War of the Rebellion, 1876 - F. H. Mason, late Private of Company A - Cobb, Andrews & Co., Publisher.

The steamship Key West #3 (front row, left most complete boat) after conversion to a gunboat carried parts of the 16th OVI from Point Pleasant, (West) Virginia, to Memphis, Tennessee

The steamship Mamora, carried portions of the 16th OVI from Point Pleasant, (West) Virginia to Memphis, Tennessee

Modern day map of the 16th Ohio's journey from Point Pleasant on the Ohio River, heading south and west (positions approximated):

Green pin (with dot) - Point Pleasant, (West) Virginia
Green pin - Greenupsburg (now Greenup), Kentucky - point where Morgan's division immerged from their long march from Cumberland Gap to the Ohio River on October 3, six weeks earlier.
Yellow pin - Approximate half-way point between Point Pleasant and Cincinnati (100 miles), roughly where the flotilla would have been near the end of the day
Red pin - Cincinnati, Ohio
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