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16th Ohio Volunteer Infantry
Where was the regiment on
Saturday, December 27, 1862

On this day at 8:00am Morgan's division with DeCourcey's brigade and the 16th Ohio, leading, moved south, from near their landing point on the Yazoo River, toward the Rebel positions in the fields below the bluffs. The colorful description of this day by Cpl. Theodore Wolbach, Company E, is clear and concise:

...we moved in larger force farther from the boat landing. Progress was slow and attended with very little firing until about five o'clock in the evening when a furious musketry fire was opened on the 22nd Kentucky Infantry that was operating in the advance. The sudden onslaught confused the men slightly but under the clear, sharp commands of Col. DeCourcey, who was with them, they promptly dressed their line, and at the word of command, returned the fire driving the enemy away. Ten of the Kentuckians were wounded and one killed. After this sharp set it was quiet for a while. The 16th stacked arms in a large turnip field near the edge of the road that (ran) along the (Chickasaw) Bayou. Across from us was the gloomy, vine-tangled forest. From the branches of the trees hung the gray Spanish Moss in abundance.

It had become dark and some of the boys had spread their blankets for a 'snooze' when a strange noise, up in the front, brought us quickly into ranks. A team of horses, attached to a wagon belonging to the pioneer corps, had taken fright and were running away and the handle of a crosscut saw had got into such a position that it played on the spokes of a wheel which had the effect to make the horses perfectly frantic with fright. They shot past our front like a rocket.

After this had subsided, Company C, who were deployed as skirmishers down by the banks of the Bayou, commenced discharging their rifles at the opposite bank, but no responsive shots coming back, they ceased. In a few minutes a large cotton gin building nearby caught fire. The soldiers had been carrying cotton away from it to make beds and someone with a lighted match, probably by accident, ignited the dry fibre. In less time than it takes to tell it the big building was a roaring bonfire. The exciting events of the evening began to look a little portentous to us. The last incident had lighted up the country and revealed every bivouac of our men within a half mile.

The night air was damp and chilly and thick fog hung close to the earth.

The regiment slept that night in a field along Chickasaw Bayou, not far from the burned cotton gin.

* Some information from Civil War Diaries and Selected Letters of Robert Newton Gorsuch, recently published in book form by Newt Gorsuch's great grandson, Everett Gorsuch Smith, Jr. The book is available for purchase from various Internet sources.

* 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.

Period map showing the approximate movement of DeCourcey's brigade, south, along Chickasaw Bayou and toward Chickasaw Bluffs or Walnut Hills. The red line indicates location of a battery of Rebel field artillery and troops on the north side of the bayou (McNutt Lake or Fishing Lake). Chickasaw Bayou, which runs south from the Yazoo River, turns to the east at the junction with McNutt Lake:

A more detailed map showing the locations of Union and Confederate forces on December 27, 1862.

Map drawn by Major Gray M. Gildner, U. S. Army, 1991

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