Friday, November 27, 2009

7th Ohio at Ringgold Gap

Today marks the 146th Anniversary of the last engagement in the Chattanooga Campaign, the Battle of Ringgold Gap. This rear guard action would pit Patrick Cleburne and his division against the ad hoc Corps of Joe Hooker, facing nearly 2 to 1 odds, Cleburne would deliver a sound defeat to Hooker, earning the thanks of the Confederate Congress for saving the Army of Tennessee. So today we are going to depart somewhat from our theme and discuss one of the opponents of the Army of Tennessee. One of the worst phases of the battle would see the attack of Col. William R. Creighton's brigade be caught in a devestating cross fire as it attacked up a ravine in White Oak Mountain, just north of Ringgold Gap. Creighton's old regiment, the 7th Ohio, would suffer particularly hard, losing 12 of the 13 officers that it had taken into action, Creighton among them. It should also be noted that they lost more men than they had lost at Gettysburg a few months prior. The 7th was known throughout the army as the Rooster Regiment, many of the officers sporting Rooster pins on their uniforms, and going into action crowing. At Ringgold, Creighton had stood on a rock as the regiment formed, flapped his arms and crowed, the men responding in kind as they started forward in their attack.

Colonel William R. Creighton was a dapper soldier, he had enlisted along with the rest of the 7th when Lincoln issued the call to arms in the spring of 1861 to preserve the Union. Creighton, born in Pittsburg, PA, had moved to Cleveland, OH, a few years prior and found employment with the Cleveland Herald. He had earned a name for himself in the local social circles as commander of the Cleveland Light Guard Zouaves, a drill team inspired by Elmer Elsworth's efforts, and with the call to arms, quickly raised a company for service. Creighton would find himself a Captain in the newly formed 7th Ohio Infantry. Seeing service first in Virginia, by the late summer of 1863, Creighton was Colonel of the regiment and bound for Chattanooga, TN. In the Battle of Lookout Mountain, Creighton's brigade commander, Col. Charles Candy, was injured giving Creighton command of the brigade, which he would command for a few days before being mortally wounded at Ringgold Gap, moments after his friend, Liet. Col. Orrin J. Crane was killed. Creighton's body along with Crane's would be carried back to Cleveland and buried side by side.

The 7th Ohio never recoved from the fight at Ringgold, and refused to reenlist in the spring of 1864, feeling they had been needlessly sacrificed at Ringgold.

1 comment:

Jacob Dinkelaker said...

Great post Lee. Interesting that the 7th Ohio refused to reenlist - I never knew that.