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16th Ohio Volunteer Infantry
Where was the regiment on
Saturday, May 7, 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 participated in another attack against the harassing Rebels, as described by Pvt. Peter Perrine, Company C:

7th. Our forces advance again to day as far as the bridge in front of Mcnutts hill. they return 3 miles and go into camp.

Cpl. Theodore Wolbach provides a much more detailed description of the day:

The next day they (Rebels) were encountered and fought well for a while but a bayonet charge started them and they didn't stop to show much fight until they reached what was called the Twelve Mile Bridge. The rebs held their ground obstinately and the firing grew terrific. A vigorous forward movement by our troops however made them get out and kept them on the move until they reached McIntosh Hill the writer may have meant McNutt's Hill), where our force abandoned pursuit and bivouacked in line. In the evening, about dusk, the pickets discovered some one prowling near the line. Coming a little too close, a shot from one of our men laid him out. The body was brought in and examined. It proved to be a Major McNeil, a chief of staff. Official papers were found about him showing that they understood our situation perfectly.

Wolbach goes on to tell us more about Gen. Michael Lawler, now in temporary command of the 13th Army Corps defending Alexandria's western approach:

The vim with which Lawler went for the rebs changed the seriousness of our situation at Alexandria very soon. From bold and threatening movements toward our camps they subsided to the sneaking warfare of the guerilla, attacking our foraging parties, creeping up and shooting at the pickets and annoying boats along the narrow river. Some of the gunboats ran short of fuel and were obliged to put men ashore to cut wood. The rebels bothered these fellows very much in the absence of our infantry.

This period military map is annotated with the estimated route taken by the 16th Ohio (and other units) on May 7, 1864, when they marched against Rebel troops north and west of Alexandria, Louisiana. The points shown (red stars) are notional but believed to be a good approximation of the location of the 16th Ohio on this day. In summary, Union troops advanced along Bayou Rapides about seven miles, driving the Rebels, who had been encroaching on Alexandria, across the bayou.It is assumed the point at which the Rebels crossed the bayou was at 12-mile bridge, near McNutt's hill. The 16th Ohio and Union forces then withdrew about three miles back down the road and camped for the night.

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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