Tuesday, October 16, 2007

ON THIS DAY: Wednesday, Oct. 16, 1861

Brig. Gen. William S. Rosecrans has arrayed Union forces along a western Virginia turnpike in the Kanahwa region. Brigades are stationed at intervals from Gauley Bridge eastward ten miles along the turnpike. Robert E. Lee has settled his forces a few miles away. For the moment, both sides seem content to watch and wait. Rosecrans’ commanders include several Ohioans. Brig. Gen. Jacob D. Cox is in charge of the District of the Kanawha, while his brigade commanders include Cols. Robert C. Schenck, Robert L. McCook, and Eliakim Scammon—Ohioans all.

Elsewhere in western Virginia, a Union force composed of several regiments, none from Ohio, gets into a lively little scrap at Bolivar Heights but escapes to return to safety at Harpers Ferry.

Overall, however, it is a slow day for Ohio soldiers almost everywhere. In Kentucky, Battery F of Ohio’s 1st Light Artillery is involved in a skirmish near Wildcat Mountain. Skirmishes can turn into major engagements but often they amount to little more than a few shots fired and a lot of nerves jangled. So goes the life of soldiers—long intervals of drudgery interrupted now and then by moments of terror.

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