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Colonel William B. Creasman (complete)
Posted by: Kevin White Date: October 10, 1999 at 20:35:27
  of 211

I am deeply indebted to Ruthanna Vincent and her mother, Mabel Harvey, for portions of this information, and also to Ethel Stroupe. Any errors here are mine, and i welcome any corrections or additions.

William Burton CREASMAN was born in 1825 in North Carolina, probably in that part of Buncombe County which today is Yancey County. He was the son of Joseph CREASMAN and Martha ????. Joseph, born ca 1798, was the tenth and youngest child of Adam CREASMAN and Nancy "Jane" REEL. Adam was born about 1748 in Sleepy Creek Township of Hampshire County, VA, now Morgan County WVA, one of five sons of Philip CHRISTMAN Sr. Of the five sons, Philip Jr. stayed in the Hampshire County area, two went to Kentucky, and Adam and Conrad (b ca 1750) wound up in Buncombe County NC, after an intermediate stay in Lincoln County NC. The first CREASMAN in Buncombe was Philip, who is thought to be Adam's son, and who was joined on Bull Creek by his father and uncle and other family members.

William Burton Creasman married 6 April 1848 Joyce Caroline WHEELER, daughter of John WHEELER and Rhoda RAY. John WHEELER was born 1793-4 in Washington County VA, and married Rhoda RAY 8 March 1821. Rhoda RAY was born ca 1805 in what became Yancey County NC, the only daughter of Thomas RAY Jr and Ivey HENSLEY. She had eight brothers.

William Burton CREASMAN and Joyce Caroline WHEELER had:

1. Absalom P. b. 26 Mar 1851

2. Altha J. b. 21 Nov 1852

3. Harriett Suffronia b. 29 Dec 1855, d. 6 Sep 1856

4. Manley Atison b. 8 June 1856

5. Mary Lucinda b. May 1858

6. Martha Rhodica b. Dec

7. Willa (or Willie Hardy Loduska) Lodusky b. 15 Aug 1861, m. 11 April 1878 Francis Marion Williams, a schoolteacher, d. 26 Dec 1948, both are buried at Morgan Hill Baptist Church, Ivy Township, Buncombe County. They had 8 children.

8. Julia Cordelia b. 9 Nov 1863, d. 14 Nov 1864

9. John Henry Joseph b. Nov or Dec 1864, in South Carolina according to the 1870 census - the only one of their children not born in NC

10. Louisa b. 10 Sep 1868

11. Alice Burton b. 6 Nov 1869, m. Napoleon Bonaparte NELSON

The first out of the ordinary mention i find of William CREASMAN was in 1857. Dr. Elisha Mitchell was measuring the height of the mountain in Yancey County which is called today Mt. Mitchell, in his honor - the highest mountain east of the Mississippi, as Dr. Mitchell established, but which was disputed at the time. Dr. Mitchell was alone on the mountain and had nearly finished his surveying when he fell to his death, winding up in a pool at the base of a waterfall. When Dr. Mitchell was overdue to return his son became alarmed and travelled to Yancey and asked William CREASMAN's neighbor, the well-known bear hunter "Big Tom" WILSON, to locate Dr Mitchell. Big Tom found the Dr's camp and followed the two week old trail and located the Dr's body. It was late in the day, though, and they decided to leave the Dr in the pool until the next morning. When they returned the next morrning to start up the mountain they met a party of "men of the vicinity" who had already retrieved the Dr's body and were bringing him down. Word had spread over night to Asheville of the Dr's death and the "Asheville News", a weekly, dispatched a reporter. This was Zeb Vance, who would be elected governor of NC in 1862, but at this time he was at home, having lost the only election he ever would. Vance had an ownership interest in and was closely politically associated with the "News". Vance filed a story which included the names of the "men of the vicinity" who had retrieved the Dr, and they included William CREASMAN and his brother-in-law John H. WHEELER.

It was late May 1861 before NC left the Union, and after that the same scene was enacted in every county seat across the land. Companies of 100 or so men were raised, and following long established custom, elected their own company officers - a captain and (usually) three lieutenants. On July 3, 1861 a company was raised in Burnsville, Yancey County. The company elected as its captain William Burton CREASMAN. Also in the company were the captain's brother-in-law, John H. WHEELER, and his father-in-law, John WHEELER, age 68, a Baptist "minister of the gospel". The captain's brother, Berry C. CREASMAN served as a second lieutenant with this company, but there isnt a record of when he joined or was promoted. Berry resigned in April of 1863 for medical reasons. John Wheeler was discharged 15 May 1862 by reason of "age and a diseas(e) of the liver". John H. WHEELER apparently served throughout the war. Also in this company was Nathaniel O. ALLEN, who was married to the captain's sister-in-law, Lucinda WHEELER, and John HENSLEY, who was married to another of the captain's sisters-in-law, Clarissa WHEELER. Nathaniel O. ALLEN mustered in as a corporal and was discharged 11 April 1862 for medical reasons. John HENSLEY mustered in as a sergeant and was promoted to second lieutenant 2 May 1862 and to first lieutenant June 26, 1862. He resigned 9 November 1863, reason not reported.

The company marched to Asheville and joined other companies to form the 29th Regiment of North Carolina Troops, an infantry regiment. A regiment was supposed to have 1000 men, and at this stage they did, but by late in the war a regiment with 300 present would be considered quite large.

Captain CREASMAN was promoted to Major 26 June 1862, and to Lieutenant Colonel 16 May 1863. This same day the original Colonel of the 29th NC, Robert B. VANCE, elder brother of Zeb, was promoted to Brigadier General. This left CREASMAN commanding the regiment as a Lieutenant Colonel until 8 September 1863, when he was promoted to Colonel. Colonel Creasman resigned 29 Dec 1864, no reason reported.

The 29th was the first NC regiment to go to Tennessee. Their first duty, from late 1861 to Feb 1862, was guarding the vital railroad from Virginia through Bristol to Chattanooga - one of only two connecting the eastern and western portions of the confederacy. East Tennessee was strongly unionist in sentiment and at least one bridge had been burned along this railroad. The 29th was strung out by companies from Bristol to Chattanooga guarding the road from further disruption. Captain Creasman and his company B were in Chattanooga during this time. Then the 29th joined the garrison at Cumberland Gap, first under Col James E. Rains, later under Gen Carter L. Stevenson, as part of "Stevenson's Brigade". There was skirmishing around the gap in March and April and an attack by the Federals on April 29, which was repulsed. The Federlas then manuevered around the gap and the rebels had to evacuate the gap on June 18. Stevenson's Brigade fell back to Bean's Station. Stevenson was promoted to Major General and Rains to Brigadier General, and the 29th was now in the Second Brigade (Rains') of the First Division (Stevenson's) of the Army of East Tennessee, under Edmund Kirby Smith.

Kirby Smith and Braxton Bragg "invaded" Kentucky in a campaign that lasted from Aug-Oct 1862. Stevenson's Division reoccupied Cumberland Gap after the Yanks were flanked from it, then followed the withdrawing yanks to near the Ohio River, rejoining Smith in Frankfort by Oct 2. The 29th was not in the Battle of Perryville, following which the rebels withdrew to Tennessee.

In early December 1862 Kirby Smith was sent to command the trans-mississippi, and Rain's Brigade was transferred to the Division of John P. McCown, in William J. Hardee's Corps, Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee. The Battle of Murfreesboro (Stone's River) took place 31 Dec 1862 - 2 Jan 1863. The 29th was on the extreme left of the rebel line when the Battle began early in the morning of Dec 31. Bragg attacked with his left against the yankees right, and during this attack the rebels drove the yanks several miles. During this fighting Gen Rains was killed and Vance temporarily assumed comand of the brigade, which seems to have left the 29th under the command of Major CREASMAN. The rebels carried this first day but when fighting resumed two days later the yanks got the best of it, so the Battle was basically a draw, but afterwards Bragg chose to pull back, so it was regarded as a Union victory. During the Battle the 29th lost about sixty men killed and wounded.

Bragg pulled back to Shelbyville, where William B. Bate was assigned to permanent command of the brigade, and Alexander P. Stewart replaced McCown as division commander. Then in May, Vance was promoted and transferred, and CREASMAN was promoted to Lieutenent Colonel and got command of the 29th. Also in the brigade at this time was the 39th NC, another regiment from western NC, and other units from other states.

That May the 29th and 39th NC regiments were ordered to Mississippi to join the forces Gen Joseph E. Johnston was collecting to raise the seige of Vicksburg. While in Mississippi the 29th was in the brigade of Col Claudius C. Wilson, in William H. T. Walker's Division of Johnston's Army. Still in Mississippi, on 24 August 1863 the 29th was transferred to the "Texas" Brigade of Br Gen Matthew D. Ector. The 29th would remain in Ector's Brigade for the rest of the war.

Ector's Brigade was then ordered to Bragg's Army of Tennessee and joined Bragg near Chickamauga in late August.

The Battle of Chickamauga was fought 19-20 Sep 1863. The first day the divsion remained under Gen William H. T. Walker, who also commanded the "Reserve Corps" of Gen Leonidas Polk's "Right Wing" of Bragg's Army of Tennessee. The second day Gen States Rights Gist commanded Walker's Division. During the Battle the 29th lost about 80 men killed and wounded and 30 missing.

On 22 Sep Ector's Brigade was ordered back to Mississippi, where it arrived on 2 Oct and was assigned to the Division of Gen Samuel G. French, in Johnston's Army. Ector's Brigade, with the 29th, would remain in French's Division for all but the last few months of the war. The 29th spent the winter of 1863-4 in Mississippi.

In early May the 29th once again joined the Army of Tennessee under Johnston in northwest Georgia. French's Division was in Polk's Corps until he was killed June 14. Gen W. W. Loring temporarily commanded the corps until July 7 when Gen Alexander P. Stewart was given the corps. In late May the 39th NC once again joined Ector's brigade and would remain in the brigade for the balance of the war.

General Ector lost a leg at Ezra Church 27 July. Some accounts state that he returned to the Army before the end, others say that he never rejoined the brigade. He was replaced temporarily by Colonel William H. Young, who himself would die of disease in December.

French's division fought a sharp engagement at Allatoona Pass GA on 5 Oct. The 29th was that day commanded by Major Ezekial H. Hampton, who would also succumb to disease, in March 1865. At Allatoona the 29th NC went into action 138 strong and lost 12 killed, 39 wounded and 3 missing.

Ector's Brigade was along on Gen Hood's last disastrous expedition into Tennessee. They were in reserve and missed the bloodbath at Franklin 30 Nov. But at Nashville 15-16 Dec the 29th and Ector's brigade were on the extreme left of the rebel line, and their positions werent connected to the main rebel line. The first overwhelming attacks fell on Ector's small brigade, which was sent reeling. Hood retreated following this mauling, recrossing the Tennessee River just after Christmas. Col Creasman resigned 29 Dec.

Ector's Brigade was sent to Mobile AL, joining the garrison at Spanish Fort, and enduring weeks of seige there, before being surrendered with the rest of Gen Richard Taylor's forces 8 May 1865 at Demopolis AL.

Col Creasman returned to western NC, where he died July 9, 1869. He is buried at Bethel Baptist Church in Asheville, Buncombe County, NC. His grave is marked both a modest marker of the type the state gave its veterans, and by a much larger blue marble monument erected in 1964 by the Daughters of the Confederacy. Unfortunately both these markers state that William CREASMAN's rank was "Lieutenant-Colonel" - a mistake which is literally carved in stone.


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