Stories from the Battles
Chapter 41 (November 27, 1863)
When Colonel Candy dislocated his hip at Lookout Mountain, Colonel Creighton, of the 7th Ohio, succeeded him as our brigade commander. He was a brave and fine officer, only, strong drink at times got the better of him. His regiment was called the rooster regiment. They all wore a silver badge of a rooster on their coat lapels, and whenever they went into a fight the Colonel would flap his arms and crow like a rooster and the boys would also crow. At Ringgold the Colonel had just purchased an elegant military uniform and he looked fine. While leading our brigade into action he was near his old regiment when the Colonel and Lieutenant Colonel Crane both got up on a rock, flapped their arms and crowed. The forward command was given and in the charge Colonel Creighton, our brigade commander, Lieutenant Colonel Crane, and all the commissioned officers of the 7th Ohio were killed or wounded, with the exception of one old Dutch Captain. The writer after the battle when the 7th Ohio and our regiment stacked their arms in the streets of Ringgold counted the number of guns on stack in the 7th regiment and found them to be only 33 guns. As I said above, only one commissioned officer out of the entire regiment remained. Every soldier who participated in the fight felt sad at the loss of so many precious lives.
Company G felt sorely the loss they had sustained. Many a tear was this day shed for those who were killed and wounded, and for the families who were far away and unable to give a parting kiss or even a drink of cold water to the loved ones who fell in this battle. Finally after the enemy was driven off the hill, our artillery came up, they having been stuck in the mud and unable to get there any sooner. The troops were again put into motion and with the aid of the cannon the hill was soon in our possession and the Rebels on the retreat towards Dalton, some seven or eight miles away.
Details were now made to care for the wounded. U. P. Hafley, Ed Fisher, D. W. Gross and J. A. Lumbard were detailed from Company G. All the ambulances were filled and sent to Chattanooga, 22 miles away. The balance of the wounded were packed in box cars, and by ropes and pushing by hand were taken about eight miles when they came to Chickamauga Creek, where they found the bridge burned. The wounded were taken out of the cars, and, while a temporary bridge was built across the creek, arrangements were made for the wounded men in houses for the night, as it was getting dark. Eleven died that night.
When ambulances arrived next morning from Chattanooga, the remainder were taken to the hospital. Captain Davis died in Ringgold, GA, November 28th, about two A. M. His body was sent home for burial, in care of Orderly Sergeant F. M. Stuck, and it lies in Trinity Lutheran cemetery in sight of his once happy home, in Selinsgrove.
Our regiment was placed on picket on the ridge, which had been occupied by the enemy the night before. A snow had fallen and the earth was covered with a white mantel. Weather was very cold and without blankets or shelter of any kind, we suffered much.
During the night one of the guards called for the corporal of the guard. The writer, acting in that capacity responded and challenged one outside the line. He said he was a friend, but coming from the direction of the Confederate camp, we were not so sure about him being a friend. We prepared ourselves for any emergency and told him to advance, cautioning him that only one would be allowed to come at a time. On came the fellow but when close enough I asked him his name.
He said it was Sam. I knew then it was a colored man and admitted him. “Who is that with you,” I asked. He said “Jim, dat’s all,” when he too was admitted. Sam said they had been slaves and that they had served their master during the war thus far but had tired of it, ran away and come into our lines. I took them to the Colonel’s headquarters, and what disposition he made of them I cannot tell.
When Lieutenant Parks was shot thru the neck, we were advancing along the side hill, and being smaller than the writer, and further down the hill, yet close to me, he was hit in the neck by the ball, which could not have been more than three inches from my head. No doubt had it hit me it would have gone clear thru me. The Lieutenant always said that he believed the Johnnie aimed at me and hit him, and I used to tell him I did not care. I had another narrow escape, when coming off the ridge and in the open field a bullet struck the ground only an inch or two from my left foot, on which was a No. 10 army shoe, This was a good mark as it covered quite a patch of real estate. The next step with the same foot another bullet struck, while the third step a similar occurrence, I felt that the fellow was determined to cripple me in the foot and after the third bullet struck the ground I made a flank movement by turning the toes of my left foot in as far as I could and fortunately got thru safe.