Friday, January 6, 2012

Creighton and Crane, 7th Ohio

I have developed a special affinity for the 7th Ohio over the last few years, mainly from telling their story at the Battle of Ringgold Gap. This past Fall, after learning that my favorite Band was playing a headline show in Cleveland, decided to visit Cleveland and find the graves of Colonel William Creighton and Lieuteant Colonel Orrin Crane, both as you may remember were killed at Ringgold. This trip to Cleveland turned into an adventure as I landed as the city received its first snow of the year and soon turned into a Winter Wonderland. I was armed with my somewhat trusty GPS and managed to find my way, very slowly, to Woodland Cemetery where they are buried, not far from a monument to the 7th Ohio. Creighton and Crane had both been members of the Cleveland Greys before the war and had become good friends, they went to war together, and they died together. Its only fitting that they now rest side by side.
I also made a short trip to the Western Reserve Historical Society Museum and learned a little more about the men of the 7th Ohio. The region was largely settled by immigration from Conneticut, so a New England sense was exhibited here, and a very dedicated Abolitionist mindset took hold with many of the inhabitants of the area. So a little more comes out about the men of the 7th.


Anonymous said...

So what band was it?

Thanks for the photo. As a native of the greater Cleveland area I'm also interested in the regiment and it's members. Not surprisingly given the abolitionist bent of unit, many of the men seem to have gone on to accept commissions in the USCT. I stumbled across two accounts of the regiment available online. One is a standard regimental history and the second is a history of Company C, the company raised in large part from Oberlin Collede students. You can get them both free at

BobOhioinTN said...

In their newly released book, Baptism by Fire, historians and author's Eric Jacobson and Richard Rupp describe the' forming of the 183rd Ohio OVI during mid to late 1864. “......before the regiment's commanding officer was chosen the unit's second ranking officer was selected. As raw as the enlisted men were, the young man chosen to be the 183rd Ohio's lieutenant colonel was a a solid veteran. Mervin Clark was just twenty-one years old..........”

They go on to describe young Clark's record with the 7th Ohio, first as a private at 17 years of age in April 1861, and finally, at the end of the the regiment's service three years later, a captain. A long paragraph describes the regiments “glorious record” and young Clark's brave leadership during their campaigns and relentless fighting in both eastern and western theaters.

Shortly after Clark returned to Cleveland, Ohio he was recruited to return to the field as a leader in a new regiment, the 183rd.

At 4:00 PM November 30, 1864 an epic battle took place at Franklin, Tennessee. All but two companies of the green, untested 183rd were held in reserve at the rear of main works that had been thrown up that day by men of 4th and 23rd Armies. The two companies, put along the main works, broke at the first massive rush of rebel troops and bolted to the rear. Lt. Col. Mervin Clark “knew it was time to act. Not only were bullets zipping over the main works and striking some of his men as they stood in rank, a volatile situation had unfolded in front of him.”

The regiment was ordered forward and as the men ran toward the works the regiment's color bearer was shot. Without a moments hesitation Clark gathered the colors and encouraged his men. “He mounted the parapet and stood atop it, flag in one hand, urging his troops on............but, just the a single bullet ripped through his head and killed him instantly.”

Jacobson's and Rupp's book is about the mostly unknown stories of three regiments, the 183rd, the 175th Ohio, and the 44th Missouri and their (now) “better” place in history. Their contributions at Franklin and Nashville in late 1864 are now being recognized.

Bob Werner
Lebanon, TN