After reviewing old posts, I tried various arguments to the cp command in Terminal (e.g., -p, -a, -R) attempting to copy folders/files to an external drive while keep attributes like "Date Created" the same as the source. No matter what I've tried the dates are not preserved. Helpful advice would be greatly appreciated.
ditto instead of
ditto copies hierarchies by default (so no need for
ditto src_folder /Volumes/external_drive most likely will be enough (but check the man page for details).
PS: Ability to preserve attributes depends on the format of the target device (so if you copy to a FAT-formatted drive some attributes will be lost).