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16th Ohio Volunteer Infantry
Where was the regiment on
Thursday, April 28, 1864

Today, the 16th Ohio was camped about three miles west of Alexandria, Louisiana. Confederate troops, under Gen. Dick Taylor, were approaching from the northwest and the 16th Ohio was ordered to advance about one mile further and form a battle line. Union cavalry was skirmishing with the Rebels and, about 3:00 pm, the 16th Ohio was ordered back to town (Alexandria) where they formed two lines of battle and built breastworks. The Rebel attack never came that day.

Cpl. Theodore Wolbach, Company E, adds additional detail:

On the 28th two companies of the 16th were sent back to the boat landing to unload Quartermaster's supplies, consisting mainly of corn and oats for the horses and mules. While at work a report reached them that the regiment had suddenly got orders to break camp and fall back toward town. The men on duty at the landing having left their arms and accoutrements in camp, hurried away to the front to look after them. On their way they met mule teams, ambulances, cavalry, stragglers and everything coming back in an unwarranted stampede. The enemy had shown himself in our front in force and pitched some shell over into our advanced camp, doing no further damage than demoralizing a coffee pot standing on a fire in the camp of the 16th. The federal troops with commendable promptness formed line and awaited the action of the enemy, who soon retired. Instead of making a real attack they were only making a reconnaissance in force.

It should be noted that the 16th Ohio's participation in the Red River Campaign came near the end of that endeavor, mainly as an attempt to provide support for Gen. Nathaniel Banks whose forces were being routed by a much smaller, Confederate force lead by Gen. Richard Taylor (son of former U.S. president Zachary Taylor). The 16th Ohio arrived at Alexandria, from the east, shortly after Banks' troops arrived there, retreating from the northwest after losing the battle of Mansfield (Sabine Cross Roads) on April 8, and abandoning Pleasant Hill on April 9. Banks' rapid retreat back down the Red River put the large Union fleet of gunboats at risk and they were attacked from the shore several times. Once the gunboats arrived in Alexandria they found the water level too low to pass the falls and some brilliant engineering, lead by Col. Joseph Bailey, was performed in the making of dams, causing the river level to rise and the boats to finally escape down the river. Banks would soon be removed from field command, replaced by Maj. Gen. Edward Canby, but the campaign was over and Union troops fell back to the safety of the Mississippi River. The Confederates held the Red River area until surrendering in 1865, at the close of the war.

This period military map shows the route of the 16th Ohio on its journey from New Orleans to Alexandria, Louisiana. The latest entry for April 28, 1864 (the curved arrow at the top) is a notional idea of the regiment's route on April 28, having first advanced then retreated back to Alexandria.

Close view modern day map showing the estimated route and location of the 16th Ohio from its initial campsite on the banks of the Red River in Alexandria, to their campsite three miles outside of town, then their advance and withdrawal back to town on April 28, 1864.

D - Location of the 16th Ohio at Alexandria, Louisiana, at the end of the day on April 26, 1864.
E - Approximate location of the 16th Ohio's campsite in a cornfield near Alexandria, Louisiana, at the end of the day on April 27, 1864.
F - Notional route and location of the 16th Ohio during their advance to the battle line on April 28, 1864.
G - Notional route and location of the 16th Ohio during their fall back to Alexandria, Louisiana, on April 28, 1864.
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