Previous Date Day By Day Index 16th OVI Home Page Next Date
16th Ohio Volunteer Infantry
Where was the regiment on
Friday, January 9, 1863

On this day, McClernand's flotilla and the 16th Ohio, laying in the Mississippi River at the mouth of the White River, begin their move toward Arkansas Post. The fleet proceeds up the White River but, in an attempt to fool the Confederates as to their true destination, takes a bayou across to the Arkansas River, on which Confederate held Arkansas Post is positioned some miles to the west.

The fleet arrived and moored their boats just below Fort Hindman sometime on January 9, 1863.

Private Frank Mason of the 42nd Ohio describes part of Union General McClernand's plan, now that the flotilla is nearing its destination of Arkansas Post:

As long as (Arkansas Post) remained in Confederate hands, there could be no safety for the communications of an army operating river-ward against Vicksburg, and Gen. McClernand, while waiting for the water to rise and the Winter to pass away, resolved to move his whole force against it.

The fleet steamed up, and on the 8th of January reached the mouth of White River, which flows into the Mississippi a few mile above the mouth of the Arkansas. Between the White and Arkansas rivers there is a bayou or cut-off, navigable at ordinary stages of water, and forming a perfect channel of communication. To deceive the enemy as to its destination, the transport flotilla, preceded by three ironclads, moved up the White River, took the cut-off across to the Arkansas (River)...

Private Newt Gorsuch tells us that the troops wake up this day still at the mouth of the White River and they start moving up that river at 10:00am. He mentions the fleet moving through the cut off into the Arkansas River and indicates the fleet moved up near the Rebel forts at Arkansas Post and stopped.

* Some information from Civil War Diaries and Selected Letters of Robert Newton Gorsuch, a private in Company B, 16th OVI, 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.

* Italicized text, 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.

Period map of the area around Arkansas Post, Arkansas:

Blue star - mouth of the Arkansas River on the Mississippi River
Green star - mouth of the White River on the Mississippi River, where McClernand staged his attack fleet on the morning of January 9, 1863
Yellow star - the cut off, a navigable bayou that connected the White and Arkansas Rivers and which McClernand's fleet moved through on January 9, 1863, on its way to Arkansas Post (Fort Hindman)
Red star - Confederate stronghold Arkansas Post, the target of McClernand's attack; please note that the site of the fort at Arkansas Post has been covered by the ever changing waters of the Mississippi River, a historic marker and overlook now exists near that place.
Previous Date Day By Day Index 16th OVI Home Page Next Date