The Army of the US Historical Sketches of Staff and Line with Portraits of Generals-in-Chief
The Twelfth Regiment of Infantry
By Lieut. Chas. W. Abbott, Jr.
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The numerical designation " Twelfth" has been borne by four regiments of infantry in the regular service of the United States. The first was organized July 16, 1798, under an act of same date, and disbanded June 15, 1800. The second and third were raised temporarily during hostilities, the former in 1812, its personnel being chiefly from Virginia, the latter during the Mexican War. Both performed well the duty for which intended, and upon the cessation of hostilities were disbanded.
The present regiment was organized by direction of the President in a proclamation dated May 4, 1861. An act of Congress of July both of the same year confirmed the organization. It was to consist of three battalions of eight companies each. The first regimental return shows that the field officers were appointed June 18th, and company officers August 23d; although the actual date of commission of all the former, and many of the latter was May 14th.
The first colonel was William B. Franklin, who was promoted from captain of Topographical Engineers. He never joined, having been appointed brigadier-general of volunteers May 17th. He was promoted to major-general July 4, 1862, and resigned his commission as colonel March 15, 1866. Daniel Butterfield of New York was the first lieutenant-colonel. He never joined, having been made brigadier-general of volunteers to date September 7th, and major-general November 29, 1862. He was promoted to colonel 5th Infantry July 1, 1863. The majors were Henry B. Clitz, Richard S. Smith, and Luther B. Bruen. Major Clitz was promoted from captain 3d Infantry. Major Smith had been 1st lieutenant 4th Artillery, resigning in 1856. Major Bruen had had no previous service.
The organization was commenced in August, Major Clitz in charge of recruiting, headquarters at Fort Hamilton, New York Harbor. The company officers were ordered on recruiting service to various places as soon as they joined. The first adjutant was Bernard P. Mimmack who was appointed 2d lieutenant from sergeant-major to date September 20th. First Lieutenant Walter S. Franklin, a brother of the colonel, was appointed quartermaster on September 30th. On October 20th the fist battalion was organized, and the return of that month shows an aggregate of 520, the companies averaging each about 60 men. Each company had a small nucleus of old soldiers who had served one or more enlistments. The officers were as a rule young men from twenty to twenty-five, most of them perfectly green in the profession of arms. A school was established, and the strictest discipline enforced. There was much enthusiasm, and rapid progress was made.
Fort Hamilton during the latter part of 1861 and through the whole of
1862 was the principal depot for prisoners of state who were confined in Fort Lafayette, which was included in the post. Colonel Martin Burke, a character of the old army, was commanding officer, and many amusing incidents occurred, in connection with the care and safe-keeping of his distinguished captives, which served to while away the tedium of constant drills and recitations through the long winter. There was much anxiety lest the war should be over before the regiment had a chance to show its prowess, and when spring brought marching orders to join the Army of the Potomac there was much enthusiasm and rejoicing. The first order directed a move to Perryville only, but it was changed en route.
On March 5th the 1st battalion, 739 strong, left New York, and reached Washington the next day. The Long Bridge was crossed on the 10th, and a bivouac made on the sacred soil of Virginia. Went into camp on 11th near Alexandria. Embarked on transport Georgia, 26th, for Fortress Monroe, arriving on 28th, and going into camp at Hampton. The first enemy was encountered on this voyage. He was small in size, but in point of numbers and persistency proved himself a terror.
About April 5th the battalion was at Yorktown, where the regular brigade under Brigadier-General George Sykes, the senior major of the 14th Infantry, was formed. It consisted of the 2d, 3d, 4th, 6th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 14th and 17th, and the 5th New York, the latter being Zouaves commanded by Colonel Gouverneur K. Warren, who was then captain of Topographical Engineers. General Sykes immediately began the work of perfecting his command in drill and discipline. How well he succeeded is attested by its splendid record throughout all the trying campaigns of the Army of the Potomac. It was always in condition for immediate service. Transportation and supplies were on hand. As a result extra work was often required of it.
In the fall of 1864 it had become so depleted in numbers, owing to hard service and the difficulty of obtaining recruits for the regulars, when volunteers received such high bounties, that it was withdrawn from the field. The war history of the 1st battalion 12th Infantry, indeed of the 2d also, is inseparable from that of "Sykes's Regulars," for the 2d joined the 1st in September, 1862. They remained together until so reduced in numbers that the 2d was merged into the 1st. Wherever that splendid command was engaged the 12th Infantry did its full share. The brigade organization having been effected the regulars took part in the investment of Yorktown. Building corduroy roads by day, and digging by night, kept their hands fully employed. It was generally understood that they would form the advance in the assault, so their minds were filled as well by the cheerful prospect before them. Yorktown was evacuated by the Confederates on May 8th. A slow pursuit was made up the peninsula to the banks of the Chickahominy.
There was much sickness, owing to malarial influences and a lack of knowledge on the part of both officers and men concerning the proper way to take care of themselves and prepare their food. About the middle of May the 10th New York was added to General Sykes' command, and it became a division, consisting of three brigades. The 1st, under Lieutenant-Colonel Robert C. Buchanan, 4th Infantry, was made up of the 3d and 4th,
1st Battalion 12th, and part of the 14th. The 2d, under Lieutenant-Colonel Chapman, consisted of all the other regular regiments or parts thereof before mentioned. The 3d was composed of the volunteer regiments under Colonel Warren. The division formed part of the 5th Provisional Corps under Major-General Fitz John Porter. The battles of Williamsburg, Fair Oaks, and Seven Pines were listened to from afar.
On June 26th at Mechanicsville the regulars acted as a support. It was a day of great anxiety. The feeling was strong that a crisis was imminent. That night they slept on their arms. On the 27th at Gaines' Mills was experienced the first touch of real war. In the early morning preparations for an important movement were made all around. Everything that could not be readily carried on the wagons, or on the persons of the men was burned. Sutler's stores that were high priced the day before, were given away. In the action the division lost heavily. The 12th Infantry went into battle 470 strong. Its total loss was 212, of which 54 were killed, 102 wounded, and 56 missing. Lieutenant Charles F. Van Duzer was killed, the first casualty among the officers. Lieutenants Stacey and Coster were included in the wounded. The most serious loss was that of Major Clitz and Captain Stanhope missing. The former was reported killed, and a corporal of engineers gave full particulars of his death and burial, claiming to have put a board at the head of the grave. Although severely shot through both legs Major Clitz survived, but was captured and sent to Libby Prison. He was exchanged, and on July 18th was reported on parole. He never rejoined, and thus closed the active career, during the war, of the first virtual commander of the regiment. To him whom the brigade commander called the "gallant and dashing Clitz" was due, more than to any one else, the high standard of efficiency which was displayed by the regiment in this its first battle. General Sykes in his report writes concerning a position taken by the 12th and 14th, "while holding it they were attacked in overwhelming numbers, the 12th decimated, and Major Clitz severely, if not fatally wounded. Around his fate, still shrouded in mystery, hangs the painful apprehension that a career so noble, so soldierly, so brave has terminated on that field, whose honor he so gallantly upheld." The first clause of those thrilling words seems prophetic. In 1887, when the regiment was en route via the lakes from the Department of the East to Dakota, General Clitz, then retired and living in Detroit, visited and expressed the greatest interest in his old command. In October 1888 he disappeared, his "career so noble, so soldierly, so brave," ended, and his fate is "still shrouded in mystery."
From May 28th to 30th, the retreat to the James was continued. At Turkey Bend the regiment supported batteries. At Malvern Hill the whole division was engaged with unbroken success. The losses were slight, and many prisoners were taken. The 1st Brigade, with a portion of Averell's cavalry, the whole under General Averell, was formed into a rear guard on the morning of the 2d. So skilfully [sic] was this force handled that its object was fully carried out, almost without loss, and Harrison's Landing reached in safety, Here the division remained until about the middle of August.
In a marvellously short time the morale of the army, which had suffered much during the seven days' fighting, was restored, and the gain in experience fully compensated for the losses in numbers. During the retreat the regiment lost all its records. This experience seems to have been the rule throughout all the active service in the field, for the retained returns, etc., now in the regimental archives, are all copies made from the originals on file in the Adjutant-General's office, when the regiment was stationed in Washington after the war was over. In August Regimental Headquarters was transferred from the 1st Battalion to Fort Hamilton. A move from Harrison's Landing to Newport News was commenced on the 14th, the latter being reached on the 18th. Embarked, 20th, on steamer Hero, and arrived at Acquia Creek [i.e.. Aquia Creek], 21st. Marched same day to vicinity of Fredericksburg, Left, 23d, and reached Manassas Junction, 29th. The second battle of Bull Run was fought on the 30th. Position was taken in the forenoon, and held for two hours under artillery fire. Then a movement to the right was made, and the battalion was posted on the outskirts of a wood, where it was also exposed to artillery fire. When ordered to retire from this position a march to the rear was made in line of battle by battalion. This was accomplished in perfect order. Assistance being then required on the left the battalion with the 14th was sent in that direction. Here a very severe and unequal engagement was maintained for nearly an hour, when, being almost out of ammunition and greatly outnumbered, it became necessary to retire. This last movement was after sunset, and it was dark before the battalion left the field. An officer present on this day writes concerning the support given by the regulars, that they stood like a stone wall, while the rest of the army was in full retreat. No other troops could have been led to the hill where they were ordered, amid the confusion that then reigned. On reaching the top, firing was done by regiment and file with great execution. When they finally left the field, after heavy loss, they retired as steadily as though on parade. The retreat ended at Centreville, but the work of the regulars was not over. Many of the troops were so demoralized that when placed on picket duty they would stampede as soon as posted. Others refused utterly, thus entailing extra duty upon the faithful.
Early the next morning the defeated army moved towards Washington and thirty-three miles were accomplished. General McClellan met the troops near Chain Bridge, and was greeted with prolonged cheers. His reassignment to command soon after, was received with great enthusiasm. Reorganization was rapidly effected, and the morale of the army restored. In this fight the battalion was commanded by Captain Matthew M. Blunt, and lost 5 killed, including Captain J. G. Read, 32 wounded, and 5 missing. September 5th the 2d Battalion, consisting of Companies A, B, C, D, E and G joined the 1st, and became part of the 1st Brigade. Their movements up to this time were as follows: Early in 1862 recruiting was going on under the superintendence of Major Bruen at Fort Hamilton. On May 20th Companies A, B, E and G were organized, and left on the 24th for Washington, but their destination was changed en route to Harper's Ferry, which was reached on the 26th. Here they were joined to four companies of the 8th
Infantry, forming a provisional battalion, under Captain Thomas G. Pitcher of the latter.
The month of June was spent in movements about Winchester and Middletown. On July 5th, with Banks' Corps, a march was commenced from Middletown to Springville. On the third day the brigade to which the battalion belonged (Cooper's) was lost in the mountains, and wandered about from 2 A. M. until 9 P. M., when but fifty men out of four hundred were present with the colors, many having been overcome by heat and exhaustion. The records were either lost or destroyed. From Springville a move was made to the vicinity of Warrington [i.e., Warrenton], where the battalion did picket duty. Left Warrington on August 2d, and reached Culpeper, 6th. On the 9th at Cedar Mountain the 2d Battalion received its baptism of fire. It was deployed as skirmishers "to cover the front of the division, to advance continuously, discover the enemy's position, and annoy him as much as possible." General Prince, the brigade commander, while in captivity at Richmond, wrote the following concerning the manner in which this duty was performed. "Their part, I have occasion to know, excited the admiration of the enemy, who inquired if they were not regulars, as they had never seen such skirmishing. They were out during the whole battle, and penetrated even to the enemy's position, and annoyed him so as to turn the attention of his guns away from more distant firing with shot and shell, and caused him to waste canister upon the ground of the skirmishers." The loss of the whole battalion was 8 killed, 37 wounded, including 6 officers, among whom was Captain Pitcher; and 1 officer, 14 men missing; in all 60, showing that the praise of the brigade commander was dearly bought.
After this battle a gradual movement was made in the direction of Manassas, which was reached on the 22d. There Company D joined, 26th. On September 1st Company C arrived and the battalion was ordered on picket near Bull Run. Fell back, 2d, towards Fairfax, and were near General Kearney in his action at Chantilly, but were not ordered into the fight. Retreated with Banks' Corps to Alexandria, crossing the Potomac and camping near Tenallytown, Maryland, 4th. On 5th, recrossed the river, and as before stated, joined the 1st Battalion. Captain Thomas M. Anderson succeeded Captain Pitcher when the latter was wounded at Cedar Mountain, and was in command when the battalions joined. Company F was organized on the 10th, and performed garrison duty at Fort Hamilton. Camp at Tenallytown was broken on the 9th, and the battalions, commanded respectively by Captains Blunt and Anderson, advanced through Rockville to Frederick, thence to Middletown, where bivouac was made on the 14th. Crossed South Mountain, 15th, to Porterstown, forming part of the advance. There was some harmless artillery fire in the evening. During the first part of the 16th the enemy's artillery was somewhat annoying. At 5 P. M. the 1st Battalion was ordered to relieve the 4th Infantry in guarding the Antietam Creek bridge. This position was held until about noon of the 17th, when a force of cavalry and horse artillery was crossed. This drew a heavy fire from the enemy's artillery. The fire of sharpshooters being annoying to Tidball's battery, a skirmish line was thrown out under
Captain Frederick Winthrop, which soon drove them back. Shortly after the battalion was advanced in support of the battery. About 7 P. M. orders were received to join the brigade. The loss was 1 killed, and 3 wounded. The 2d Battalion was held in reserve during the entire action, and suffered no loss. General Alfred Pleasanton, commanding the cavalry division, spoke in high terms of the services rendered by the regular battalions in supporting his horse artillery. Camp was made near Sharpsburg, 23d. For the rest of the month and during October, guard duty was performed at the fords crossing the Potomac. Left Sharpsburg, 30th, for Harper's Ferry. During November a move was made by slow degrees to the vicinity of Falmouth, which was reached on the 22d. The only incident worthy of mention was a review by General McClellan on the 10th, preparatory to his relinquishing command of the army.
Remained in camp near Falmouth until December 11th, when a move was made nearer the town, and on the afternoon of the 13th the river was crossed, and position in reserve taken on the outskirts of Fredericksburg. From this time until the morning of the 16th the battalions occupied various positions in and about the city. All day long on the 14th they lay under a galling fire, unable to return it, a most trying test of discipline and courage. On the 15th they built barricades, and dug rifle pits. The next day they formed part of the rear guard, covering the crossing of the army. The skirmishers of the 1st Battalion, together with those of the 3d Infantry, all under Captain Winthrop, brought up the extreme rear, and were the last to cross. The total loss in both battalions was 13. Returned to old camp 17th, and remained during the rest of the month, and until January 19, 1863, when camp was broken. The next five days were spent on the "mud march," Burnside's unfortunate and fruitless attempt to cross the Rappahannock River, and advance, to retrieve the disaster at Fredericksburg. Again the old camp was sought, and preparations made to spend the rest of the winter. Regimental Headquarters joined February 13th.
On March 9th, pursuant to orders from the War Department, Companies E, F and H, 1st, and B, E and G, 2d Battalion, were broken up, and the men distributed among the other organizations. There were left in the 1st Battalion Companies A, B, C, D and G; aggregate present and absent 480, Captain Blunt commanding. The 2d consisted of Companies A, C and D in the field, F and H at Fort Hamilton; aggregate, 524, Captain Anderson in command. The two companies at Hamilton aggregated 185, leaving eight, about 820 strong, in the field. There were actually present, however, only about 600 officers and men, so large was the list of absentees, sick or on detached service. Major Smith commanded the regiment. Lieutenant Mimmack was still adjutant. The position of quartermaster was filled April 9th by the appointment of 1st Lieutenant Robert L. Burnett, Lieutenant Franklin having resigned the same on February 9th. The time during this winter camp was spent both profitably and pleasantly. Picket duty, guard and fatigue, interspersed with drills, recitations and paper work, were done carefully and diligently, for Colonel Buchanan was somewhat of a martinet, and had very decided ideas of what regulars should be. On the
other hand there was much jovial good fellowship, and the opportunities to become well acquainted were improved to the utmost.
The active campaigning of the year commenced in the latter part of April. General Hooker was in command of the army, and General Romeyn B. Ayres had relieved Colonel Buchanan as brigade commander. The operations about Chancellorsville lasted ten days, from April 27th to May 6th. There were many wearisome and harassing marches, taxing the energies of the troops to the utmost. The regulars had but little chance, although willing and eager to fight.
On May first there was an encounter on the Fredericksburg Pike. The regiment was in line of battle on one side of the road. Skirmishers from the 2d Brigade were in advance. The enemy, when met, was driven about a mile. On the 3d some good work was done in covering the 11th Corps. On the evening preceding the retreat a division picket was formed of officers and men, specially selected, without regard to roster, for the purpose of covering the retiring troops. A captain of the regiment was placed in command. An eye witness wrote as follows: "The woods were on fire throughout the length of the picket line, and when night fell, soon after the sentinels were posted, the burning branches and falling limbs made the scene almost appalling; at intervals the enemy would approach our line and fire at random; nobody was hurt, but a more agreeable way of passing the night can easily be imagined. Before dawn the picket was quietly withdrawn, and followed the remainder of the army across the river." The regiment lost 23 men during these operations. Camp near Falmouth was resumed, and retained about a month, when the regiment moved to Banks' Ford, and did picket duty until June 14th.
The march to Gettysburg was made via Manassas, Aldie Gap, Monocacy, Frederick and Union Mills, which was reached on the 30th. July 1st, left Union Mills and passed through Hanover, Pa., to the vicinity of Gettysburg. About five P. M., 2d, the division went into action, and remained under fire for nearly three hours. The battalions were engaged a good part of the time in changing positions, all of which was done in perfect order, although suffering heavy loss. General Ayres commends the gallantry of the division on that occasion, stating that although the casualties were terrible (fifty per cent.) no one thought of retiring until the order was given. The position taken on the evening of the 2d, was held until the morning of the 4th, when the brigade made a reconnaissance. Company B, Captain Winthrop, was sent skirmishing, and performed this duty in such a manner as to win the praise of the brigade commander. The entire loss in these operations was 92, one officer, Lieut. Silas A. Miller, being killed, and four wounded. Captain Thomas S. Dunn was in command. Major Smith having resigned, May 30th, Major Dickinson Woodruff succeeded him in the 2d Battalion, but did not join until October 5th, when he assumed charge of the regimental recruiting. Lieut.-Col. Butterfield was promoted colonel 5th Infantry on July 1st, and was succeeded by Lieut.-Col. Christopher C. Augur. Col. Augur had been appointed brigadier-general of volunteers in 1861, and major-general the next year, and his service during the entire war was with the volunteers.
July 5th the pursuit of Lee began. The march was through Emmittsburg, over South Mountain and Antietam Creek to Williamsport. Here four days, 11th to 14th, were spent in manoeuvring, when the enemy escaped across the Potomac. He was followed on the 17th, and the advance was continued nearly every day until on the last of the month camp was made at Beverly Ford, Va. During this month the companies at headquarters, F and H, 2d Battalion, saw their first actual service, being engaged from 13th to 20th in suppressing the draft riots in New York City. General Wool reports that on the 16th, Company F, Captain Putnam, was ordered to Gramercy Park to support some cavalry. Upon arriving there the mob opened fire, whereupon the adjacent buildings were entered, and the rioters killed, arrested or driven out. They were pursued in all directions and dispersed. After this spirited action they did not again assemble.
From Beverly Ford the battalions moved to Bealton Station, thence to Alexandria, where they were embarked August 16th, on transport Planet for New York, to which place the brigade was sent to prevent a recurrence of the draft troubles. Arrived 19th, and camped at Tompkins Square, remaining until September 17th, doing guard duty at the provost-marshal's office, Police headquarters. Major Bruen was relieved as superintendent of the regimental recruiting service, and assumed command August 23d. Sailed September 19th, on transport Battie, for Alexandria, arriving on 21st. Took cars to Culpeper next day, and remained in camp there until October 10th. Companies F and H, 2d Battalion, sailed from New York on steamer Atlantic, 18th, escorting deserters and conscripts to Alexandria. Left there for Culpeper and joined regiment on 22d. From this time until late in December the battalions marched back and forth with the corps along the line of the Alexandria and Orange railroad during all the operations which resulted in actions at Bristow and Rappahannock stations, and Mine Run. In the former, October 14th, they supported the 2d, and at Rappahannock Station, November 14th, the 6th Corps, losing on that occasion four men missing. At Mine Run, November 27th, they were in line of battle under artillery fire, and one officer and six men were missing. On December 27th camp was made at Kettle Run, and the end of the year found them guarding the railroad. In the meantime Company H, 1st Battalion, was reorganized, and remained in garrison at Fort Hamilton. Major Clitz was promoted lieutenant-colonel 4th Infantry, November 4th. Major Henry E. Maynadier succeeded him, but did not join, being on detached service as a member of the Hospital Inspection Board of Michigan. Lieut. Burnett resigned as quartermaster on November 19th, and was succeeded by 1st Lieut. Evan Miles.
The monotony of the winter camp was enlivened by numerous small affairs with guerrillas, whose constant aim was to cripple the railroad by burning bridges or tearing up the tracks. Major Bruen was brigade commander until early in spring, and Captains Stanhope and Alexander J. Dallas commanded the regiment at different times. Camp was broken on April 30th, the band having left on 26th to join Company H, 1st, at Fort Hamilton. The total number present was about 450, officers and men, Major Bruen commanding. The regiment was in the 1st Brigade (Ayres'), 1st Division (Grif-
fin's), 5th Corps (Warren's). The forward movement was through Bealton Station, across the Rappahannock and Rapidan, thence along the Orange and Alexandria turnpike, until the morning of May 5th, when the skirmishers of Ewell's Corps were engaged near the old Wilderness tavern. About noon an advance was made in line of battle, the regiment being in the front on the extreme right, through a dense undergrowth in a forest of large trees, until the enemy's main line was sighted, when fire was opened. As the 6th Corps was supposed to be on the right within supporting distance, the presence of troops in that direction excited no remark until it was discovered that a division of the enemy, Johnson's of Ewell's Corps, had completely enveloped that flank. Retreat was made in confusion, only one company, C, 2d Battalion, Captain C. L. King, preserving good order, but all were soon rallied. The enemy made no further advance that day. The official loss, killed, wounded and missing, was 110, but it is believed to have been greater. Lieutenant Jean P. Wagner was mortally wounded, and Captain Henry C. Morgan lost a leg. On the 6th, log breastworks were thrown up, and some skirmishers advanced, who engaged those of the enemy. On the 7th, in company with the 2d and 14th Infantry, a reconnaissance was made. The enemy's main line was discovered in an entrenched position. Earthworks were thrown up in front, and skirmishers sent forward. An advance by the enemy necessitated an extension of the works on the flanks, but when night came the whole force was withdrawn, and at midnight a strong position taken near a battery. The next day it was found that the army had moved towards Spottsylvania, whereupon an advance was made in that direction, and that evening the brigade went out on picket.
The next three days were spent behind breastworks, more or less under fire. On the 12th, the division moved forward to attack the enemy's works. When 200 yards distant, the troops on both flanks gave way, leaving the regiment in a small wood, which it held for two hours under heavy fire, when it was withdrawn to the main line. The loss was not very great owing to the protection afforded by the trees. The next day was spent in moving from place to place, acting as a support, rejoining the brigade and marching with it to Spottsylvania Court House in the evening. The brigade was ordered on the 14th to make a charge and retake a hill from which a brigade of the 6th Corps had been driven. This was done successfully through a dense wood, the line being maintained in remarkable order. On the 15th the regiment went out by companies on the division skirmish line, and was under a hot fire, causing much loss. Rejoined the brigade, 16th, and began building log breastworks, under a heavy cannonade by which Major Bruen was mortally wounded. Captain Winthrop, who had been acting as inspector-general of the brigade, then took command. The next four days were spent behind the breastworks, most of the time under fire. The losses from the 8th to 20th were 65 killed, wounded and missing. Crossed the Po River on the 21st, and advanced towards the North Anna, which was forded about 3 P. M., 23d. Later in the afternoon a vigorous attack was made by Hill's Corps. The regiment at the beginning was in the second line, but as the loss began to be heavy, Captain Winthrop asked to be allowed to move forward, which was permitted, and a very rapid fire opened. In half an hour Hill was repulsed with
severe loss. The next day was spent in burying the enemy's dead and breaking up the Virginia Central railroad. 25th, moved down the river and skirmished with Hill's Corps, remaining in this position until evening of the 26th, when a crossing was made, followed by an all-night march in a heavy rain.
This march was continued south over the Pamunky and Tolopotomoy, with frequent skirmishing, until the 31st, when Bethesda Church was reached, and the division threw up two lines of entrenchments, the regiment being posted in the first. There was more or less skirmishing that day and June 1st. The losses from May 22d to this time were 15 killed, wounded, and missing. On June 2d the regiment occupied the extreme right of the corps which, with the 9th, was ordered to proceed to the left. The 9th Corps moved away, thus leaving the right uncovered, whereupon the enemy attacked with his skirmishers, followed by long lines of battle, extending far beyond the exposed flank. There was some firing when the regiment was faced about and moved to the rear, with the intention of occupying the second line. By the time that line was reached the enemy was close behind in overwhelming numbers. The next three-quarters of a mile was passed over at a remarkable rate, until a clearing was reached, and a rally made, when the enemy was repulsed. The next forenoon the corps acted as support of an attack by the 2d, 6th, and 10th Corps, and in the afternoon the brigade repulsed a forward movement of the enemy, north of the Mechanicsville road. Position in the trenches was occupied the next three days. 6th, Company H, 1st, about 80 strong, joined from Fort Hamilton, having left there May 10th, and been detained at Belle Plains. The losses since the 1st were 53 killed, wounded and missing. 7th, moved to a fortified position at Sumner's Bridge on the Chickahominy, and remained until the 11th, when a movement began towards Petersburg. The Chickahominy and James were crossed, and on the 18th, near Jerusalem plank road, the regiment was engaged in an attack on General Beauregard's lines in front of the city. A mile was advanced in the face of heavy cannonading, and entrenchments thrown up, which were occupied until the 28th under constant fire from artillery and sharpshooters.
Major Bruen died at Washington on the 21st, from the wound received at Laurel Hill. The end of the month saw the regiment in camp before Petersburg, where it remained until July 30th, when the corps was ordered out to assist the 9th in the attack after the mine explosion. This being a failure, the camp was resumed, and retained until August 18th. On August 6th, Companies A, C, D, F and H, 2d Battalion, were disbanded and the men transferred to the 1st, in which Companies E and F were reorganized. On the 18th the regiment, Captain Stanhope in command, moved with the division to Globe Tavern near the Weldon railroad, and assisted in repulsing Heth's Division of Hill's Corps. The next morning the enemy attacked, broke through and almost enveloped the right, capturing a large part of the division, and causing severe loss in killed and wounded. Captain S. S. Newberry was among the killed. That afternoon the ground lost in the morning was retaken, reinforcements having been received from the 9th Corps. 20th, were withdrawn to a strong position with artillery, and the
next day repulsed an attack. The regiment had 48 men present, Lieutenant Miles being the senior officer. This position was held until September 30th. A movement about two miles to the left on the Squirrel Level road then took place, camp was made, and retained until October 1st, when there was a spirited engagement in which the enemy was repulsed, and 1st Lieutenant T. D. Urmston killed. 2d, camped at Poplar Grove Church, and remained until the 27th, when a reconnaissance was made. Returned to camp next day. On November 2d left for City Point, and embarked 3d for Fort Monroe, thence to New York, via Norfolk, arriving 6th.
Thus ended the active service of the regiment during the war. The statistics of losses during that period show that of all the regular regiments the 12th stands fourth in the total of deaths including killed, died of wounds, disease, or in prison. The number that died in prison, 77, exceeds that in any other regular regiment, and indeed is one of the largest in the entire army. The greatest loss in any one battle was at Gaines' Mills, the first important engagement. In the number of killed the regiment stands three in that action, and in killed, wounded, and missing, six. It is believed, however, that it was smaller in point of numbers than any regiment whose loss was greater, all the others being volunteers.
On arriving at New York, regimental and 2d Battalion headquarters were established at Fort Hamilton, Major Woodruff commanding. 1st Battalion took cars for Elmira, N. Y., arriving there November 7th. The duty to be performed at Elmira was guarding prisoners of war. The battalion numbered about 230 officers and men, and was commanded by Major Maynadier. Lieutenant Mimmack resigned as regimental adjutant on January 30, 1865 and 1st Lieutenant James E. Putnam was appointed in his stead. Lieutenant Miles resigned the position of regimental quartermaster February 5th and was succeeded by 1st Lieutenant Emerson H. Discum. Major Maynadier left Elmira on detached service in January, and from that time on, several of the captains were successively in command.
The battalion was gradually increased by the arrival of recruits, and in July, numbered 400, when orders came for a transfer to Camp Winder, near Richmond, Va. In September a change was made to Camp Winthrop. The reorganization of the 2d Battalion commenced the same month at Fort Hamilton. Lieutenant Discum was relieved as R. Q. M. October 14th, by 1st Lieutenant Edgar C. Bowen. As soon as the companies of the 2d Battalion were filled, they were sent to join the 1st, and the end of 1865 saw the 2d at Winthrop, fully reorganized, numbering over 500, Captain Anderson in command. The 1st was smaller. Five companies were at Winthrop under Captain Richard C. Parker, two at Yorktown, and one at Fort Magruder. A beginning had been made of the 3d Battalion at headquarters, and two companies had a few men to account for.
In January 1866, the companies of the 1st at Winthrop were sent to Fort Monroe, where they were joined by those at Yorktown. Thence battalion headquarters and Companies B and D went to Williamsburg, C to Camp Hamilton, and H to Norfolk. The latter was joined by F from Camp Magruder. The 1st Battalion remained in this vicinity until August, when all the companies were collected at Camp Augur, Washington.
Companies B, D, E, F, G and H, 2d, were changed in January from Winthrop to Petersburg. The 2d Battalion continued about Petersburg until the consolidation in December, Major Woodruff joining in November. Companies A and B, 3d, joined at Richmond in January, leaving C and D organizing at headquarters. In March, companies A, B, C and D under Captain Morgan changed from Richmond to Washington, and were there joined by F company, E being in process of organization at Hamilton. By July the entire battalion, numbering over 570, was in Washington at Russell Barracks, where regimental headquarters had been moved in June, Lieutenant-Colonel Wallace in command.
In February fourteen second lieutenants were appointed to fill vacancies. Almost all had held commissions in various grades in the volunteers. In March, General Franklin's resignation promoted General Augur to be colonel, and Major George W. Wallace succeeded the latter as lieutenant-colonel. The return for April shows aggregate in the regiment, 1723. On August 4th, Lieutenant Bowen resigned as R. Q. M., and was succeeded by 1st Lieutenant Edward Hunter, to date 11th. Lieutenant Putnam resigned the adjutancy on the 18th, and it remained vacant. Early in November Companies I and K 1st, 2d, and 3d Battalion joined at regimental headquarters from Davids' Island, via Fort McHenry, Baltimore, at which place they were supplied with arms and accoutrements. Companies I and K 2d, left on the 20th for Petersburg. The return for that month shows the highest aggregate, 1883.
On December 7th, pursuant to G. O. No. 92, A. G. O., dated November 23d, the regiment was divided into three, as follows: 1st Battalion remained the 12th, 2d became 21st, and 3d the 30th Infantry. Headquarters were then moved from Russell Barracks to Camp Augur, Lieutenant-Colonel Wallace in command. Majors Woodruff and Dodge were assigned to the 21st, and 30th respectively, dating from September 21st. 2d Lieutenant David J. Craigie was appointed adjutant to date December 1st. The aggregate for that month was 586. The company officers remaining were as follows: Captains H. R. Rathbone, P. W. Stanhope, W. J. L. Nicodemus, B. R. Perkins, R. C. Parker, M. H. Stacey, H. C. Egbert, R. H. Pond and A. G. Tassin; 1st Lieutenants A. Thiemann, J. E. Putnam, J. H. May, J. L. Rathbone, E. Hunter, C. S. Luipler, A. B. Mac Gowan, and J. L. Viven; 2d Lieutenants W. E. Dove, A. M. Trolinger, D. W. Applegate, S. L. Hammon, L. Nolen, D. J. Craigie, W. A. Coulter, W. W. Deane and R. C. Breyfogle. During the whole of 1867 the regiment remained in and about Washington doing garrison duty. Company A went to Phillippi, West Va., in October, returning in November.
On January 18, 1868, Companies B. C, F and K, under Major Maynadier, proceeded by rail to South Carolina where stations were taken at Darlington, Georgetown and Beaufort. Afterwards Charleston and Summerville, S. C., Montgomery, Ala., and Fort Pulaski and Savannah, Gal, were occupied, and at the latter place on December ad Major Maynadier died. The duties performed in this locality during the reconstruction period were of a very trying and delicate nature, requiring as they did a combination of good sense, courage and forbearance. In the meantime various outposts
about Washington were occupied from time to time by companies or detachments, and Company H went to Fairmount, W. Va., in October, returning in November. Headquarters were changed that month from Russell to Lincoln Barracks. There were some changes of station among the companies in the South during the early part of 1869, and in March all were collected in Washington. Lieutenant Hunter resigned as R. Q. M. March 1st and his place was filled by 1st Lieutenant Viven. Colonel Augur was promoted to brigadier-general to date March 4th, and was succeeded by Colonel Orlando B. Wilcox, 15th, while Major Henry R. Mizner was assigned vice Maynadier, same date. The regiment was not affected by the reorganization made that year.
On April 5th Headquarters and Companies A, E, G and I left Washington by rail for Omaha, and proceeded thence by the Union Pacific railroad to the end of its track. A march of 45 miles was made to the terminus of the Central Pacific railroad, where cars were taken to San Francisco, Company I being detached at Humboldt Wells to take station at Camp Halleck, Nev. The other three companies arrived at Angel Island, via San Francisco, on the 29th. Companies B, C, D, F, H and K, under Lieutenant-Colonel Wallace, left Washington, 10th, and proceeded west by the same route as that taken by the first detachment. Company C disembarked at Reno, and H at Wadsworth, to take station at Camp Bidwell, and Churchill Barracks, Nev., respectively. The other four companies reached Angel Island May 6th. Headquarters and Company G remained there. The other companies proceeded to posts as follows: A, Camp Wright; B. Camp Independence; D, Fort Yuma; E and K, Camp Gaston, Cal., and F, Fort Whipple, Ariz. H changed from its first location at Churchill Barracks to Fort Mohave, Ariz., leaving a detachment at Camp Cody, Cal., and G was soon moved from headquarters to Camp Colorado, Ariz.
The regiment was thus scattered over three states or territories, occupying eleven different posts. The two most remote stations were nearly 700 miles apart, as the crow flies, and owing to the meagre facilities for transportation it took at least six weeks to go from one to the other. Lieutenant Craigie resigned as adjutant October 31st, and was succeeded by Lieutenant Hunter, November 1st. The latter was transfered [sic] to the 1st Cavalry February 19, 1870, leaving the adjutancy vacant until May 13th, when 1st Lieutenant Thomas F. Wright was appointed. He was placed upon the unassigned list June 9th, again leaving a vacancy until February 7,1871, when 1st Lieutenant John M. Norvell succeeded to the position. Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson D. Nelson, 6th Infantry, was transferred, vice Wallace retired, December 15, 1870. Lieutenant Viven resigned as R. Q. M. February 28, 1871, and Lieutenant Craigie succeeded him, to date March 1st.
Various changes of station occurred among the companies during the years 1870, 1871 and 1872. Camp Hall, Idaho, was the most northern point occupied, Company C moving there from Bidwell in April, 1870. Company F was posted in various places in Arizona, such as Camps Aqua Frea, Ben Richards, and Beale Springs. The isolated posts were almost all at or near Indian agencies, which involved more or less work inspecting supplies, etc. The routine of drill, signalling, and a primitive sort of target practice was
relieved by occasional scouts, and hunting trips. Headquarters was a receiving station for recruits, who were held there until transportation could be furnished to their posts, and for months at a time the garrison consisted only of the band, a few men on detached service from their companies and the aforesaid recruits. Its proximity to San Francisco made its social attractions very great. Lieutenant Norvell resigned as adjutant, January 17, 1873. Later in the same month, Company E, with Lieutenants Wright and George W. Kingsbury, was sent to operate against the Modocs in the Lava Bed country. Company G. Lieutenant Charles P. Eagan, joined it in February. Both companies were ordered out after the massacre of General E. R. S. Canby and the Peace Commissioners on April with. On the 15th, 16th and 17th there was a general engagement with severe fighting in which Lieutenant Eagan and 2 privates were wounded, and a corporal killed, all of Company G. 26th, Company E with two batteries of the 4th Artillery was engaged with terrible loss, 4 officers and 18 men being killed, 2 officers and 16 men wounded. Lieutenant Wright and three men were among the former, and 4 men, the latter.
From this time the companies were continually scouting until late in May, when the Modocs surrendered and were escorted to Fort Klamath, Oregon, arriving there June 10th. Lieutenant Kingsbury was placed in charge of the prisoners, and afterwards detailed as a member of the military commission which met to try them on July 1st. Captain Jack, the chief, and three others were sentenced to be hung, and the execution took place October ad, Companies E and G being present. The latter formed part of the guard which took the remainder of the prisoners east, immediately after, while the former returned to Camp Gaston on the 28th. Second Lieutenant George S. Wilson was appointed adjutant June 12, 1873, and resigned the position February 20, 1875, being succeeded by 2d Lieutenant William D. Geary. In September, 1875, Companies C, G, F and I were ordered from Angel Island to southeastern Nevada to operate against hostile Indians. There was nothing but a little marching, and the next month all returned to their stations, C to Yuma, G. Bidwell, F and I, Angel Island. Lieutenant Craigie resigned as R. Q. M. January 31, 1876, and was succeeded by Lieutenant Kingsbury, February 1st. On May 14, 1877, a mutual transfer was made by which Major Mizner went to the 8th Infantry and Major Thomas S. Dunn, who had been one of the war captains, returned to the regiment.
In the summer of this year the Nez Percé Indian outbreak occurred, and Companies B. C, D, F and I were ordered from their respective stations to the scene of hostilities, northern and central Idaho. Companies D and I went to and remained at Lewiston, Idaho, and Camp McDermit, Nev., respectively. B and F, together with A, 21st Infantry, all under Captain Egbert, having arrived at Boise, Idaho, in July, were there designated as part of the reserve column under Major John Green, 1st Cavalry. The battalion left Boise on the 14th, joining Major Green at Little Salmon Meadows, ten days later, and spent the remainder of the month marching, reaching Crossdale's Ranch on the 31st. Thence Company B went to Kamai Agency, and F to camp at Mount Idaho. Late in September the two com-
panies joined, and returned to Angel Island. Company C, Captain Viven, with H, 8th Infantry, left Fort Yuma, July 8th, and proceeded via Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Portland to Lewiston, arriving 17th. It numbered 13 men, but was reinforced at San Francisco by a number of cavalry recruits, who continued with it during the entire campaign. From Lewiston the company marched to Lawyer's Cañon, arrived 22d, joined General O. O. Howard's command, and remained with it during the long pursuit of the Nez Percés from the Clearwater, across the Yellowstone, where there was a skirmish in which the cavalry only were engaged, to the Missouri, arriving October 1st. Thence on the 14th with H, 8th, and four batteries of the 4th Artillery, went from Little Rocky Creek to Little Rocky Mountains, and towards Bear Paw, but were stopped en route, for the hostiles were defeated at that place by the troops under Colonel N. A. Miles, 5th Infantry. Returned to Little Rocky Creek, and thence on Steamer Benton proceeded to Omaha. Left there by rail, and arrived at Angel Island, November 8th. The company marched and travelled during this campaign 7194 miles.
In March of 1878 headquarters moved from Angel Island to Whipple Barracks, General Willcox having been placed in command of the Department of Arizona. The next month Company A joined at Whipple from Mohave. Major Dunn was retired June 29th. The Bannock outbreak took place this summer, and called into the field Companies B and K from Benicia Barracks, Cal., and C, D and F from Angel Island, all under Captain Egbert, and numbering 13 officers, 180 men. The battalion proceeded by the Central Pacific railroad to Carlin, Nev., and there debarked June 11th, thence to divide of Humboldt Mountains, where orders were received from General Howard to move with care as he expected to drive the hostiles in that direction. 14th, in compliance with instructions the officers were mounted, and wagons hired for the men, in order that movements might be as rapid as possible. As a result many of the marches were from 30 to 40 miles a day, thus showing the capabilities of infantry mounted on wheels in a country where the roads were suitable. 17th, crossed into Idaho, and at the end of the month the battalion was at old Camp Lyon, where instructions were received to be in readiness to move rapidly in any direction. Thence ordered to Boise, arriving July 2d and leaving 5th. The hostiles having been driven toward Powder River Valley, which was well settled, it became imperative to move there and make dispositions, which was done so well that the valley was saved from devastation. Company C under Captain Viven was sent to the head waters of Clover Creek on a scout, and at Ladd's Cañon on the 12th prevented a party from crossing, capturing 21. The battalion was then sent to head off the hostiles should they reach Snake River. Crossed the river 16th, and moved towards head of Main Weiser River, thence over Little Salmon River to camp on Goose Creek, being obliged to build roads in many places, through forests, over hills and down canons. From there detachments were sent out to watch all the trails.
Word having been received that the hostiles had abandoned all attempts in that direction, the command was ordered back, and gradually made its
way to the Snake River, where it was divided, Companies F and K remaining at Rhinhart's crossing, the others patrolling up the west bank to Henderson's Crossing on the Owyhee, arriving 29th. There on August 1st a concentration was made, reports having been received that the hostiles were in the vicinity. Scouting along the river was continued until the 9th, when it was reported that the hostiles were trying to cross. Three detachments were made, two mounted, one in wagons, crossed at Glenn's Ferry, and sent down the river. One, under Captain Dove, found a strong party entrenched at Bennett's Creek. A spirited attack was made and returned, and one man was wounded. Night came on and stopped the fighting. A courier was sent to Captain Egbert, who hastened to the scene with all the available men. The hostiles escaped in the darkness, and were followed the next morning, but as orders had been received to proceed to Cold Spring depot the pursuit was abandoned. The detachments were called in, and the march began to Cold Spring. Left there 18th for Kelton on the Central Pacific, arriving 25th, thence to Angel Island.
Shortly after the return of the battalion from the field a general movement towards Arizona commenced, and by October the companies were distributed as follows: B and K, Camp Verde; C and D, Camp Apache; E, Camp Supply; F, Whipple Barracks; G, Camp McDowell; H, Camp Thomas, and I, Camp Grant. Then followed almost four years' service of nearly the same nature as that at the preceding station. During the entire period the companies were quite as much scattered about, although the distances separating them were not as great. There was considerable post constructing and road building. The restless Apaches required constant watching. For this purpose four Indian companies were maintained and much scouting done. These companies were commanded by young officers, the regiment being represented in this capacity at various times by Lieutenants Wilson, F. Van Schrader, Guy Howard, S. C. Mills and F. J. A. Darr. Lieutenant Geary resigned the adjutancy November 17, 1878, and was succeeded by 1st Lieutenant F. A. Smith. Major M. A. Cochran was assigned to the regiment March 4, 1879. Lieutenant-Colonel Nelson retired June 7th same year, Major R. S. La Motte being promoted to his vacancy. Lieutenant Kingsbury's resignation as R. Q. M. July 1st, resulted in the appointment of 1st Lieutenant W. W. Wotherspoon to that position.
The first serious outbreak of Indians occurred August 30, 1881, at Cibicu Creek, near Fort Apache, where the Indian scouts turned upon Cal. E. A. Carr's command of the 6th Cavalry, which had gone out to suppress trouble caused by a medicine man. Company D formed part of the garrison, and a detachment was engaged next day at a ferry near the post. On September 1 the whole company took part in the defense of the post. This led to a general concentration in the vicinity of the San Carlos Agency and along the Gila River. Company H went into the field from Yuma, C, from Thomas, F. partially mounted from Whipple, and K, under 1st Lieut. J. H. Hurst made a wonderful march from Fort Huachuca to Grant, the details of which are as follows: At 10 A. M. September 4 orders were received to take the field, and at 12.30 P. M. the company left the post, 31
strong, having for transportation one old cavalry horse, four broken down mules, one very lame, and a wagon the wheels of which did not track. At 7 P. M. went into bivouac 22 miles out. At this place such alarming news was received that it was deemed best to push on, and at 9 P. M., in the midst of a terrific storm that lasted twenty hours, the company started on a march that continued until 2 A. M. of the 6th, when a point known as the Horse Ranch, nine miles from Grant, was reached. Nearly all the first night the route lay along a cañon, which, ordinarily dry, had been turned by the storm into a raging torrent up to the men's knees. At three different times it seemed necessary to abandon the wagon, but it was finally pulled through. After a four hours' rest at the ranch the march was resumed to Grant, which was reached a little after 9 A. M. Every man was present, and on his feet. The distance was 100 miles, time 44½ hours, certainly a wonderful exhibition of pluck and endurance.
None of the companies in the field were engaged in any action, and by December all had returned to their posts. During the spring and summer of 1882 there was more trouble, which called at various times Company E from Grant, G from McDowell, H from Fort Lowell, K from Huachuca, D from Apache, and F from Whipple. With the exception of Company E, which continued at Camp Price, at the southern end of the San Simon valley until August, none remained long in the field, nor were there any encounters with the hostiles.
In September came the welcome order for a new station, first to Fort D. A. Russell, Wyoming, but almost at the last moment it was changed to the Department of the East. The companies were concentrated at various places on the railroad, and went east in two detachments, Headquarters, and Companies A, B. C, D, F and G taking station at Madison Barracks, E and K, Fort Niagara, and H and I, Plattsburgh Barracks, all in New York. This change, after so many years on the Pacific coast and in the southwest, was very agreeable. Greater concentration and better facilities for travel allowed more intercourse. The older members of the regiment thus had the opportunity to recall old times, and the younger to become acquainted. Such military exercises as parade and battalion drill, which had been almost unknown since the regiment left Washington, were taken up with zeal, and had almost the charm of novelty. Five years were thus spent very pleasantly with but few changes, the most important being as follows: Major Cochran was promoted to lieutenant-colonel 5th Infantry, May 31, 1883, and Captain W. H. Penrose, 3d Infantry, took his place, with station at Fort Niagara. In May, 1884, Fort Ontario at Oswego was regarrisoned by Company H, which was replaced at Plattsburgh by Company C. In November Company I moved from Plattsburgh to Madison Barracks. In July, 1885, Company E was sent from Niagara to Mt. Gregor, N. Y., as guard for General Grant, then lying sick at that place. Upon his death the company formed part of the funeral escort from Mt. Gregor to Albany, thence to New York, taking part in the ceremonies at each place, and returning in August to its post.
On October 13, 1886, Col. Willcox received the reward of his distinguished services by promotion to brigadier-general, and left the regiment,
after being over seventeen years at its head. Lieut.-Col. Edwin F. Townsend, 11th Infantry, became colonel, and joined soon after. Lieut.-Col. La Motte was promoted colonel 13th Infantry, December 8, and was succeeded by Lieut.-Col. W. F. Drum, who had been major 14th Infantry. In March, 1887, the law limiting the tenure of regimental staff positions to four years resulted in the displacement of Lieuts. Smith and Wotherspoon, who had held their offices more than eight and seven years respectively. 1st Lieut. Von Schrader was appointed R. Q. M., and 1st Lieut. R. K. Evans adjutant, to date April 1st. In May Company A was sent to Fort Wood on Bedloe's Island, New York Harbor, to guard the Statue of Liberty.
Late in June came an order for a move to Dakota, exchanging with the 11th Infantry, which was not received with as much pleasure as had been the one five years before. On July 6th a concentration was made at Buffalo, and the regiment was together for the first time since 1869. The companies embarked on the steamer Vanderbilt, the officers with families taking passage on the India. The trip through the lakes was delightful, Duluth being reached on the 31st. From Duluth, Headquarters and Companies E, F, G, H and I proceeded by rail to Bismarck, N. D., thence by boat down the Missouri River to Fort Yates, F being left at Fort Abraham Lincoln. Companies A, B, C, D and K moved by rail to Pierre, S. D., thence up the river to Fort Sully, K going to Fort Bennett. Thus commenced another tour of duty with the noble red man. It had an element of diversion, however, in the fact that the Dakotas were the superiors of any Indians with which the regiment had ever been thrown, and having made a start towards civilization their development could be watched with interest. Lieutenant Evans resigned as adjutant July 1st, 1888, and was succeeded by Lieutenant Howard. Major Penrose became lieutenant-colonel 16th Infantry August first, promoting Captain J. A. P. Hampson 10th Infantry. Lieutenant Howard's resignation as adjutant May 13, 1889, resulted in the appointment of 1st Lieutenant C. W. Abbot, Jr., to that position. In July, Companies G and H. with Troop G, 8th Cavalry, went to Bismarck to take part in the celebration of the admission of North Dakota to statehood on the 4th. In September, Companies E, G, and I, with Troop F, 8th Cavalry, from Yates, and F with I, 22d Infantry, from Lincoln, all under Colonel Townsend, camped for nearly three weeks on the Cannonball River, and spent the time in working out practical problems in minor tactics. Companies A, B and C from Sully and K from Bennett were similarly engaged at points near their respective posts. Every summer or fall since, there has been more or less field work of this nature, an instructive and pleasant change from garrison duty.
In January, 1890, Company A was sent from Sully to Fort Pierre to prevent the intrusion of settlers upon the Sioux reservation. On February lath it was opened for settlement and the company remained as a guard. In April Company C went from Sully to the Lower Brulé Agency for the same purpose. Captain Egbert, the last officer still in the regiment who had served in it during the war, was promoted to major 17th Infantry on April 23d. Companies A and B exchanged in May. On August 26th Companies I and K were "skeletonized," the men of the former being distributed
among F, G and H. and the latter among A, B, C and D. The letter of the company at Bennett then became A. About this time the regiment was honored by the selection of its colonel as commandant of the Infantry and Cavalry School at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and Headquarters and Company E moved to that post, arriving in September. Later on Companies B and C returned to Sully, and in November B went into camp at Bennett, to furnish additional security to the agency there in view of expected trouble leading out of the Ghost dances, which the Indians had begun, in anticipation of the coming of their Messiah.
Lieutenant-Colonel Drum in command at Yates received orders on December 12th to arrest Sitting Bull, who was, as of yore, one of the leading malcontents on the Sioux reservation. To accomplish this the cavalry at the post, Troops F and G, 8th, under Captain E. G. Fechét, were sent out on the evening of the 14th and proceeded to his camp on Grand River, whither they had been preceded by the Indian police from Standing Rock Agency. The next morning a lively fight took place, Sitting Bull was killed by the police, and his band dispersed. News of this having reached the post about noon that day, Companies G and H were ordered out, and under Colonel Drum started to reinforce the troops, which were met on their return about 23 miles out. The next day the command returned to the post. The remnant of Sitting Bull's band made its way south to Cherry Creek, and there joined a camp of dancers, which 2d Lieutenant H. C. Hale had been sent from Bennett to watch. He, at great personal risk, persuaded them to remain there until he could bring Captain Hurst, then in command at Bennett, for a further parley. They returned next day to the camp, attended only by one enlisted man and two Indian scouts, and induced both bands, consisting of 221 men, women, and children, to go peaceably to the post. This wise and plucky action received the commendation it deserved.
Company G, increased to 60 men by a detachment from H, left Yates for the field late in December, and returned in January, 1891, doing considerable marching, but having no opportunity for an encounter with the hostiles. In February, Headquarters and Company E formed part of a command from Fort Leavenworth which attended the funeral of General Sherman in St. Louis. The next month Company G moved from Yates to Fort Leavenworth. Lieutenant Von Schrader's tour as R. Q. M. expired March 31st, and he was succeeded by 1st Lieutenant P. G. Wood. Company B returned to Sully in May, and in the same month I was reorganized at Mt. Vernon Barracks, Ala., by the enlistment of 47 of Geronimo's band of Apaches then at that place under charge of Lieutenant Wotherspoon, who was put in command of the company. 30 more were enlisted at San Carlos, and 1 at Washington, which with four white sergeants, made a total enlisted of 82, the largest company in the army. The discipline and drill of these Indians has been reported as excellent, being superior in the latter, in some particulars, to the white soldiers with whom they are associated.
The abandonment of Lincoln and Bennett, in July and October respectively, sent Companies F and A to Yates. On July 4, 1892, Lieutenant-Colonel Drum died suddenly, promoting Major Hampson whose place was filled by Captain J. H. Gageby, 3d Infantry. Lieutenant-Colonel Hampson
died October 14th, and Major E. W. Whittemore, 10th Infantry, succeeded to his vacancy. The same month Headquarters and Company E, the latter increased to 60 men by a detachment from G, constituted a portion of a command from Fort Leavenworth, which took part in the dedicatory exercises of the World's Fair in Chicago, on the mist. While there, a gentleman seeing the regimental colors, introduced himself to the adjutant as an ex-sergeant, who had served in the regiment during the '64 campaign, and told many interesting reminiscences. Finally he produced a small package, which he carefully undid, showing a much defaced gilt star and saying—"You may look at, but not touch that. It is one of the two last stars remaining on the battle flag. In front of Petersburg another sergeant and myself cut them off, and each took one. I think everything of it." This incident indicates a lesson of devotion to the principles of duty of which the flag is emblematic, that may well be taken to heart by all who now, or may hereafter, serve under the colors of the 12th Infantry. They will have the proud consciousness of the fact that the regiment has done its duty in the past. It only remains for them to sustain that reputation in the future.
NOTE:—The following names and dates appear upon a battle flag now at regimental headquarters.
|Siege of Yorktown, April, 1862|
|Gaines' Mills, June 27|
|Malvern Hill, July 12|
|Cedar Mountain, August 9|
|Bristoe, August 27|
|Bull Run 2d, August 29 and 30|
|Chantilly, September 1|
|South Mountain, September 14|
|Antietam, September 17|
|Fredericksburg, December 13|
|Fredericksburg, April 30, 1863|
|Chancellorsville, May 1 to 5|
|Gettysburg, July 2 and 3|
|Bristoe Station, October 14|
|Rappahannock Station, November 7|
|Mine Run, November 27|
|Wilderness, May 5, 1864|
|Spottsylvania, May 8 to 19|
|North Anna River, May 23|
|Tolopotomy Creek, May 30|
|Bethesda Church, June 1 and 5|
|Cold Harbor, June 2 and 3|
|Petersburg, June 18 to 30|
|Weldon Railroad, August 18, 19 and 21|
|Peeble's Farm, September 30|
|Chapel House, October 1|
This flag was purchased by subscription of the officers of the regiment after its return from the field. It was kept at regimental headquarters and used for several years, until it became worn and torn, when it was put away, and so remained until shortly after Colonel Townsend joined in 1886. It was then sent to the Quartermaster-General's office and restored, by having the eagle and scroll, which are very heavily and beautifully embroidered, transferred to a new field, upon which the battle names and dates were worked. It is a very beautiful object, and one highly cherished in the regiment. It is not known that another such flag exists in the service, except the battered relics now stored at the War Department.
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