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12th Iowa Infantry
in the American Civil War

Regimental History
Twelfth Iowa Infantry.— Cols., Jackson J. Wood, John H. Stibbs; Lieut. -Cols., John P. Coulter, Samuel R. Edgington, John H. Stibbs; Majs., Samuel D. Brodtbeck, Samuel R. Edgington, John H. Stibbs, Edward M. Van Duzee, Samuel G. Knee. This regiment was organized at Dubuque in Oct. and Nov., 1861, and was mustered in at intervals during those two months. It left the state late in November, went into quarters at Benton barracks, St. Louis, for two months, and like its predecessors, suffered greatly from diseases that seemed to be a part of the experience necessary to prepare them for the field work. Some 75 died of measles, pneumonia and typhoid. At Smithland, Ky., it joined Grant for the movement upon Fort Henry, was present at the capture of that place, then moved to Fort Donelson, where it took part in the fight and assault which resulted in victory. It won immortal glory for itself at Shiloh by fighting in the advance until sundown and holding back the enemy while the demoralized army withdrew to a new point and waited the arrival of Buell. The 8th, 12th and 14th Ia. comprised four-fifths of that advance line and surrendered only when surrounded by ten times their numbers. (In the history of the 8th will be found an account of the disposition of the prisoners until their parole and exchange.) Those who escaped capture were assigned to the "Union Brigade" and served with it until disbanded, being sent to Davenport, Ia., and remaining there during the winter. The paroled men were declared exchanged Jan. 1, 1863, and soon after went to Rolla, which was threatened by Marmaduke, but returned on the 15th to St. Louis, where they were stationed. Lieut. -Col. Coulter resigned and was succeeded by Maj. Edgington, and the latter as major by Capt. John H. Stibbs of Co. D. The regiment was reorganized about April 1 and became a part of Sherman's command, participating in the movements of that division during the Vicksburg campaign, though it was in reserve at the assault of May 22. After the surrender it was engaged at Jackson and was in the skirmish at and capture of Brandon. It went into camp near Bear creek on July 23 and remained there until Oct. 10. Lieut. -Col. Edgington resigned, Maj. Stibbs became lieutenant-colonel, and was succeeded as major by Capt. Van Duzee. In October the regiment was in a skirmish at Brownsville; proceeded thence to Vicksburg, Memphis, Lagrange and Chewalla, where it remained on railroad guard duty until near the close of Jan., 1864. While here it broke up the guerrilla bands that were pillaging the country, and built a strong fort. It was ordered to join the forces for the Meridian raid, but reached Vicksburg too late to take part and went into camp. Having been mustered in as a veteran organization, the reenlisted men were sent home on a furlough in March. In their absence, the non-veterans, numbering about 70, accompanied the 35th Ia. on the Red River campaign and was in battle at Lake Chicot. On their return from home the men reached Memphis on May 2 and were joined by the detachment about the middle of June. In May six companies under Lieut.-Col. Stibbs, went to the mouth of the White river, established a military post and left Cos. A and F under Capt. Hunter. The command proceeded to Tupelo, where it was engaged in July. The regiment while acting as a train guard, was attacked by a brigade, but repelled it in a handsome manner, and in the subsequent fighting it occupied the most dangerous post and received special commendations of the general commanding. Returning to Memphis, the regiment moved to Lagrange, thence to Holly Springs, via Lumpkin's mills, remaining on duty there for some time. The detachment at White river in the meantime had been busy, protecting the loyal people of that section and building a stockade. The little force of but 47 was attacked before daybreak on the morning of June 5 by a force of 400, the men being compelled to fight in their shirts only, so sudden was the attack. A number of the enemy gained the stockade at one side, but Sergt. Isaac Cottle and Corp. George Hunter, armed with revolvers, boldly attacked them and drove them out in confusion. Hunter was shot dead and Cottle was so severely wounded that he died soon after, but the entire besieging force was finally driven off with a loss of over 50 in killed, wounded and prisoners, their commanding officer being among the slain. Joining the regiment at Holly Springs, this detachment accompanied it to Oxford, then to Memphis, whence it proceeded to Devall's Bluff and Brownsville in search of Price. With 10 days' rations it made the 350 miles march to Cape Girardeau via Jacksonport, Ark., and Jackson, Mo., in 19 days. From St. Louis it proceeded to Jefferson City, Smithton, Sedalia, Lexington and Independence, into Kansas, and to Harrisonville, Mo., after Price but was unable to catch him and returned to St. Louis. The non-veterans and some of the officers were mustered out, Lieut.-Col. Stibbs remaining as commanding officer. Moving to Nashville the regiment aided in the defense of that city and in the battle in December captured 2 flags. It joined in the pursuit as far as Clinton, then proceeded to Eastport, Miss., where it assisted in building quarters and fortifications. Lieut.-Col. Stibbs was called to Washington in Jan. 1865, to become a member of the military tribunal, the same, which later, tried the notorious Capt. Wirz, who was held responsible for the infamies of Andersonville prison, and Maj. Knee took command. The regiment was ordered to Mobile in February, was engaged at Spanish Fort in the front line and occupied an exposed position for 13 days and nights. At the conclusion of the siege of Mobile it moved to Montgomery, thence to Selma and remained in guard and garrison duty until the early part of 1866 when it was mustered out. Lieut.-Col. Stibbs received a merited promotion to a colonelcy. The original strength of the regiment was 926; gain by recruits, 55, total, 981.

Regimental history taken from "The Union Army" by Federal Publishing Company, 1908 - Volume 4

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