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12th Massachusetts Infantry
in the Civil War

Regimental History
Twelfth Infantry. — Cols., Fletcher Webster, James L. Bates; Lieut- Cols., Timothy M. Bryan, Jr., David Allen, Jr., Benjamin F. Cook; Majs., Elisha M. Burbank, Daniel G. Handy, Benjamin F. Cook, Edward P. Reed. The 12th, recruited at Boston, was mustered in for three years from June 26 to July 11, 1861, at Fort Warren, and was mustered out on Boston Common, July 8, 1864. Co. A was composed of the Felton Guards ; Co. B, Dehon Guards ; Co. D, Latin School Guards ; Co. E, Emerson Guards ; and Co. K, Dale Guards. The regiment numbered 1,575 men and its loss by death from wounds was 179. It received its colors from the women of Boston and left the state July 23, arriving at Sandy Hook, Md., on the 27th. In camp at Hyattstown and on guard duty along the Potomac, the summer passed, and the regiment went into winter quarters at Camp Hicks, near Frederick, Md. The first battle in which it took part was the battle of Cedar mountain. At Antietam the killed, wounded and missing numbered 283, which, following on a loss of 138 at the second Bull Run, where Col. Webster was fatally wounded, was well-nigh discouraging. Shortly after Antietam, at a review, the 12th showed only 119 men. It was with the Army of the Potomac at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville and its conduct was always brave and reliable. Again in the thick of the fight at Gettysburg, the loss was heavy. It then moved to Virginia with the Army of the Potomac, and was in the Mine Run campaign. During the winter it was shifted about and obtained but little relief, yet it marched bravely into the battle of the Wilderness. Through the remainder of its term of service, which expired while it was before Petersburg, it was repeatedly engaged and its endurance was severely tried. In July it was ordered home and mustered out, the recruits and reenlisted men being transferred to the 39th infantry.

Regimental history taken from "The Union Army" by Federal Publishing Company, 1908 - Volume 1

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