Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Fighting Colonels: Colonel Carr B. White
A Mexican War veteran and a pre-war physician, Carr Bailey White enlisted in the 12th Ohio with the rank of major in May 1861. A month later he was appointed lieutenant colonel of the regiment. Following the Battle of Carnifex Ferry, White was promoted to command of the regiment, with the rank of colonel, due to the death of Colonel John Lowe at Carnifex Ferry. He would lead the regiment in the campaigns in the western Virginia theatre of the war until the Kanawha Division was rushed east to augment the newly formed Army of Virginia under John Pope in preperation for the campaign that would culminate in the Union defeat at the Battle of 2nd Manassas/Bull Run. Carr would lead his regiment into Washington where a "new" Army of the Potomac was being formed to beat back the Confederate threat that was entering into Maryland. Leaving the defenses of Washington, the regiment was with the 9th Corps under Jesse Reno and was part of the vanguard of the army. Carr lead his regiment in Frederick on September 12th and by the 14th, the regiment was encamped near Middletown.
Colonel Eliakim Scammon deployed his brigade in a line that stretched about a mile south of the Old Sharpsburg Road and Colonel White's Ohioans were deployed in the center and when firing broke out to their left, White advanced his regiment until it was hotly engaged elements of the 12th, 20th, and 23rd North Carolina regiments. The regiments battle line was more of a heavy skirmish line than an actual battle line as noted in Colonel Scammon's report on his brigade, "The Twelfth regiment being in the center, was moved directly to the front, and briskly engaged the enemy. Its first advance, deployed as skirmishers, told upon the enemy with marked effect. It was more like a charge than an advance of skirmishers."
Colonel White continued pushing his regiment until they had broken the Confederate line. White stopped his advance at about mid-morning to allow the 23rd Ohio to link up with his left and the 30th Ohio with reinforcement from the 11th Ohio of George Crook's Brigade, to link up on the right. During this lull, a section of McMullin's Battery under Lieutenant George Crome came up and deployed in the immediate front of the regiment and began raining shot and canister on the Confederates still holding on. To the horror of the infantry, Crome's men were being systematically picked off until Crome himself was mortally wounded while loading one of his pieces. With Crome's guns silent, they were open for the taking. Confederates from Alfred Iverson's 20th North Carolina advanced to capture the guns but were turned back by the fire of White's men. Around 11 A.M., a general advance was ordered and White's regiment leapt up and charged forward sweeping the field, only the stand of the 13th North Carolina and the arrival of the 2nd and 4th North Carolina regiments under Colonel C.C. Tew stopped the Union wave from capturing the gap and advancing any farther.
White's men would rest for the for the better part of the afternoon before another general advance, this time by the whole 9th Corps, broke the back of the Confederate defense at Fox's Gap. For the day, Colonel White kept his men in the battle line for the better part of the day and these men experienced the heaviest fighting they had up to that point in the war. They would suffer 35 killed, 100 wounded, and 30 missing while capturing 200 Confederates and 3 battle battle flags. White would lead his regiment at Antietam and for the rest of the war, he would serve in the Department of West Virginia where he would be brevetted a brigadier general for his actions at the Battle of Cloyd's Mountain.