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During this time, the 16th Ohio spent their days in camp along the Mississippi River at Morganza Bend, Louisiana. It is assumed the regiment and elements of the 19th Army Corps were kept here as an occupying force and in reserve, in the event the Confederates attempted any significant moves towards Vicksburg, Baton Rouge or to block the river itself.
Diaries indicate the regiment participated in several scouting and foraging missions and, otherwise, stayed in this camp until October 6 when they started their final journey home to Ohio. It should be noted that although the war seemed to be winding down for the 16th Ohio, the Confederates were still very near and active in the area and the Union forces were constantly on guard. Skirmishes were frequent and soldiers on both sides were still being killed, captured or wounded. The Civil War would not end until months later, in April, 1865. Many more battles and great suffering and loss of life would take place during this time.
Here are some of the significant or interesting events involving the 16th Ohio mentioned in diaries and other reports during the regiment's remaining service while in camp at Morganza Bend, Louisiana. Use links to view specific pages for some dates which have since been added to describe more detailed events on that day:
|July 6, 1864||Pvt. Patrick Berry, Company A, drowned in the Mississippi River when he fell while disembarking the steamboat on which he had just returned from a hospital stay in New Orleans.|
|July 6 (or 9)||Champion Drill, a competitive drill between Company C of the 16th Ohio and Company E of the 42nd Ohio. The winner is not known.|
|July 8||Body of Pvt. Patrick Berry was found and buried.|
|July 15||Company G returned from provost guard.|
|July 16||Provost guards arrested men gambling after dark.|
|July 17||Steamer Grey Eagle passed the camp heading south.|
|July 20||Rebels troops reported approaching camp. Picket lines reinforced, troops ordered to be ready for a fight.|
|July 21||Cavalry fight in vicinity.|
|July23||Prisoner exchange with Confederates includes over 1000 soldiers.|
|July 27||A cotton gin was blown up in front of the Union defensive works to clear the field of fire.|
|July 28 and 30||Large numbers of troops arrived at the camp from New Orleans and Vicksburg.|
|July 31||Men charged the post settler and stole his merchandise. Provost guards called to restore order.|
|August 1||16th Ohio had their French rifles replaced with new Springfield rifles.|
|August 2||A detachment of 100 men was sent to gather lumber but met a superior Rebel force and returned to camp.|
|August 4||The 120th Ohio moved their camp near the 16th Ohio.|
|August 7||Steamer Empress leaves with men of the 22nd Kentucky, taking them home. Col. Philip Kershner returns to the regiment after being in New Orleans since June 24 (reason unknown, possibly health issues).|
|August 10||Pvt. Benjamin F. Rish, Company G, died of diphtheria at the regimental hospital.|
|August 12||Pvt. William Shehan, Company H, died of jaundice at the regimental hospital.|
|August 19||Soldiers put on half rations of bread.|
|August 21||Steamer Saratoga arrived from up river bringing mail.|
|August 22||120th Ohio removed from 2nd Brigade and replaced with 24th Indiana.|
|August 23||Steamers Albert Pearce and Nebraska passed by the camp.|
|August 26||Regimental Surgeon Basil Brashear orders soldiers to clean out their wells.|
|August 29||Soldiers haul brush from woods to make shade for their quarters. Rumors indicate the regiment will be mustered out on October 1.|
|August 31||Troops put on alert to be ready on a moment's notice.|
|September 2||Lt. Col. Philip Kershner and Lt. John M. Boling , Company B, leave for New Orleans.|
|September 6||A detachment of 2000 men from various regiments floats 12 miles down river to look for group of Rebels, returning that afternoon with a few prisoners. More troops arrive in camp from Mobile, Alabama.|
|September 7||The troops received news of the fall of Atlanta (on September 2).|
|September 8||Lt. Boling returns from New Orleans.|
|September 9||Capt. George Jones, Company I, and Col. Worthington of the 22nd Kentucky, ran a horse race in the evening.|
|September 13||16th Ohio ordered to be ready to march at any moment and to prepare five days rations.|
|September 16||Several thousand troops, including most of the 16th Ohio, sent in pursuit of Rebels who captured Union cotton train.|
|September 20||A portion of the regiment is sent out on an expedition to the Atchafalaya River with five days rations.|
|September 21||The greater portion of the regiment is engaged in skirmishing with Rebel troops around Centerpoint, Louisiana, on the Atchafalaya River.|
|September 22||Cavalry returns from expedition but leaves infantry, including 16th Ohio troops, at the Atchafalaya River.Steamers Saratoga and Magenta seen passing the camp.|
|September 23||Company A's term of service expires on this day but they remain on duty. Steamer W. R. Arthur passed by camp. The 16th Ohio troops sent up to the Atchafalaya River return in the afternoon.|
|September 25||Records indicate the regiment participated in another scouting mission to the Atchafalaya River, looking to keep the Rebels at bay; Reports that orders have been issued for the mustering out of the regiment.|
|September 28||16th Ohio troops turn in their ammunition.|
|October 1||The regiment is sent on an expedition to Bayou Sara, skirmishes with the enemy; this is the 16th Ohio's last combat experience.
Third anniversary of 16th Ohio mustering into service.
|October 4||A dress parade was held and the troops of the 16th Ohio were read the orders for going home.|
|October 5||Troops turn over all public property.|
|October 6||...to continue with detailed Day By Day pages.|
* Much of the above information researched from Civil War Diaries and Selected Letters of Robert Newton Gorsuch by Everett Gorsuch Smith, Jr., Copyright 2012, Everett Gorsuch Smith, Jr. Mr. Gorsuch is the great grandson of Pvt. Robert Newt Gorsuch, Company B, 16th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. This extremely interesting book is available for purchase at Lulu.com.
This period map shows the approximate location of the site where the 16th Ohio camped from May 29 to July 3, 1864 and then from July 4 to October 6, 1864.
Modern day map showing the estimated location ( A ) of the 16th Ohio's campsite at Morganza Bend, Louisiana, from May 29 to July 3, 1864 and ( B ) from July 4 to October 6, 1864.
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