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16th Ohio Volunteer Infantry
Where was the regiment on
Thursday, February 19, 1863

On this day, Col. John F. DeCourcey, the dashing officer, adventurer and English nobleman, who volunteered his military expertise to the United States at the start of the Civil War, leaves the 16th Ohio and his brigade. DeCourcey's health had been poor for some time and he decided to head north.

It must also be noted that there are several instances where history refers to Col. DeCourcey as General DeCourcey. It is believed that DeCourcey was in line to be promoted to brigadier general and that he may have actually been breveted, that is, given the rank of brigadier general on a temporary basis, indicating his superiors' satisfaction with his performance. However, the promotion did not come and some believe this may be part of the reason he left the brigade. It is also speculated that President Lincoln wanted to promote DeCourcey but other officers were against it because he was a foreigner.

Other stories indicate that DeCourcey may have been so distraught over the losses his regiment incurred at Chickasaw Bayou, just seven weeks earlier, that he chose to leave the command. Private Frank Mason, of the 42nd Ohio, gives us his view of DeCourcey's departure:

On the 19th ... Col. DeCourcy, whose health had failed, went North on leave of absence. He was dissatisfied with his failure to attain his well-earned promotion to a brigadier generalship, and did not return to the army. From that time until the 29th of July following, the Second Brigade was commanded by Col. Sheldon of the Forty-Second (Ohio)...

Mason's information is only partially correct: DeCourcey did not leave the army until the following year and was involved in organizing and leading a brigade in eastern Kentucky during the summer of 1863. Research indicates DeCourcey was a key commander when the Union re-took Cumberland Gap in September, 1863, in fact, was first to enter and re-occupy the Gap for the Union. However, he apparently entered the Gap too quickly and against the orders of his superiors and was court-martialed. It is believed the court martial did not convict DeCourcey, however, he resigned from the Army in good standing on March 3 of 1864.

Additionally, records indicate that Colonel Daniel Lindsey was in command of the 2nd Brigade under Gen. Osterhaus' Ninth Division, at least during the campaign against Vicksburg in the spring and summer of 1863.

* Some information and 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., Publishers.

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