Short Bios | John D. Ritter

Captain John D. Ritter, 32nd Indiana
By Michael A. Peake

John Ritter immigrated from Kassel, Germany, to the United States with his wife Elizabeth and son Charles, arriving at Evansville, Indiana, in 1859, where he engaged in his profession as a cabinetmaker. Ritter joined William Schnakenburg’s Evansville Company in August 1861. They traveled to Indianapolis where they were mustered in as Company “K,” 32nd Indiana. Schnakenburg was elected Major of the regiment and Ritter became 2nd Lieutenant of the company. Not long after his departure, Ritter’s wife died leaving their seven-year-old son in the care of an uncle.

In May 1863, Ritter was promoted for valor to Captain of Company “B.” Four months later, he was killed leading his company during the battle of Chickamauga. After the carnage of the battle, Willich lamented the profound personal loss he felt by the deaths of so many fine officers and men of the 1st Brigade in his official report. Noting the 32nd Indiana’s loss of Captain John D. Ritter, commander of Company B, Willich reported that Ritter was, “good and brave to the last moment.”

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Captain John D. Ritter
Library of Congress: LC-USZ62-126233