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16th Ohio Volunteer Infantry
Where was the regiment on
Wednesday, May 4, 1864

On this day, the right wing of the 16th Ohio continued to work on building Bailey's Dam, across the Red River near Alexandria, Louisiana. The left wing remained in camp, on the outskirts, just west of the city. The Union needed to hold and control Alexandria long enough to let the dam work complete and free the trapped Federal fleet up river.

Pvt. Peter Perrine, Company C, mentions they had an inspection in the afternoon and that the Rebels fired several shells into their camp but Foster's battery returned fire and silenced the Rebel guns.

Perrine also mentions that about 160 members of the 120th Ohio Infantry arrived in camp, having marched from a location about 12 miles down river where their transport steamer, the City Belle, was ambushed and destroyed by the Confederates. These 160 men were all that remained of the entire 120th Ohio, the rest of which had been killed or captured during the ambush.

This period military map shows the approximate position of the 16th Ohio's left wing in camp near Alexandria, Louisiana, and the right wing on the opposite bank of the Red River helping to build Bailey's Dam, on May 4, 1864. The Federal gunboats, under Admiral David Porter, were trapped several miles upstream, above a set of rapids that were not navigable during low water. Also shown is what is believed to be the location of Snaggy Point, on the Red River, about 12 miles down river from Alexandria, where, on this day, May 3, 1864, the 120th Ohio was ambushed and decimated by a Rebel force which had circumvented the Federal lines.

This map shows the location of the dam, across the Red River just north of Alexandria, Louisiana, designed by Col. Joseph Bailey and built by troops investing the city and under Gen. Nathaniel Banks, including the 16th Ohio. The right wing of the 16th Ohio was probably the first unit assigned to begin building the dam, part of a desperate effort to raise the river level and allow the Federal gunboats, stranded above the upper rapids, to move down the river to safety. Many other soldiers would join them. The 16th Ohio began work on the east side of the river while other units worked from the west side.

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