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

On this day, the 16th Ohio awoke at 4:00 am and started their march toward Marksville, Louisiana. The Rebels made a stand in front of the town and the Union troops, tired of constant harassment and believing they would eventually need to fight their way out, seemed ready for it. Cpl. Wolbach, Company E, provides the details:

At 4 a.m. we were called into line and resumed the march, approaching a section of prairie country in which the little village of Marksville is situated. The rebels were in line of battle and in heavy force beyond the town.

Artillery firing had opened at day light and was kept up all morning, a part of the time quite brisk. A battle seemed imminent. The glistening gun barrels of the enemy's long infantry lines shown brightly in the morning sun. Sudden puffs of smoke revealed the positions of their cannon. They looked as if they had established themselves to stay. Their position was squarely across our line of retreat and to get past we must fight. When we came into view our troops were in line and moving forward in good order. Everything looked clean and clear in the grand summer morning, as the line of dust-stained blue swept over the almost level surface toward the hostile force. The supreme moment must surely soon come, and the crash of musketry in a few minutes will make the stoutest nerves twitch. The thumping of the field pieces is kept up. Some men have been killed, though the marching line does not halt or falter. There is a movement in the rebel line. It is falling back, and keeps going until it disappears in the moss grown forest at the edge of the prairie. The fences had been pretty generally thrown down, and the green sward was, in many places, ripped by cannon balls. The army that was to intercept us was large and had been an ugly and dangerous foe. Their rapid and effective fighting at Sabine cross-roads and valuable victory had given them full blown assurance that they could wipe out Banks' army by following it and pitching into it with energy. But these deluded ruffians of the Trans-Mississippi were to learn a lesson to be deeply impressed on their memories by the glitter of onrushing bayonets and yells of undaunted veterans. ...

We marched only about six miles on the 16th, our brigade lying at the crossing of a bayou until the wagon train had passed. Several dashes by mounted men were made at our train during the day, but all were repulsed, though in one instance a colored regiment didn't fully do its duty, when about one hundred and fifty came charging down on them, but abandoned the wagons and took to cover behind the levee of a neighboring bayou. However the fire of the negroes kept the enemy from destroying any property until some white troops at hand came along. Our colored soldiers were not all alike in their behavior when brought under fire. The day following another colored regiment was attacked by a considerable force, whom they promptly and courageously repulsed.

Pvt. Peter Perrine, Company C, adds the following comment:

We move up to Marksville. Our advance (the 19th corps) meet the rebs in prety heavy force. after 1/2 hours fighting we drove them back. they retired to Cheneyville and after we passed they came on to our rear. We go a few miles to a bayou and lay all night, being much fatigued and worn out.

This period military map shows the approximate route taken by the 16th Ohio and other troops under Gen. Nathaniel Banks as they evacuated Alexandria, Louisiana, heading south and east along the Red River.The location of the regiment's campsite on May 16, 1864, is considered very close to the actual site.

Note that original military attributions on the map reflect the earlier routes of Gen. Banks when he first marched up the Red River in an attempt to capture Shreveport, Louisiana.

Modern day map showing the estimated route and location of the 16th Ohio on its march from Alexandria, Louisiana, southeast along the Red River toward the Mississippi River, retreating from the attacks of Confederate General Richard Taylor.

C - Highly estimated location of the 16th Ohio when it camped for the night of May 14, 1864.
D - Approximate location of the 16th Ohio when it camped for the night of May 15, 1864, near Ft. DeRussy, Louisiana.
E - Approximate location of the 16th Ohio when it camped for the night of May 16, 1864, below Marksville, Louisiana, and near where an unnamed bayou crosses the road.
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