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12th Michigan Infantry
in the American Civil War

Regimental History
Twelfth Michigan Infantry. Cols., Francis Quinn, William H. Graves, Dwight May; Lieut. -Cols., William H. Graves, Phineas Graves; Majs., George Kimmel, Lewis W. Pearl. This regiment was organized at Niles during the fall of 1861 and following winter. It was mustered in, March 5, 1862, and left the state on the 18th, for Pittsburg landing, which was reached in time to take part in the battle of Shiloh, being assigned to Peabody's brigade, Prentiss' division, Army of the Tennessee. The first Union troops to be attacked were five companies from the 12th Mich., and 21st Mo., which Gen. Prentiss had ordered out at 3 a.m. as a precaution. These five companies held the enemy in check until daylight, then fell back to the support of their regiments, which were in turn forced back, a large portion of the division being captured. Col. Graves reported 226 killed, wounded and missing. April and May were passed at Pittsburg landing, June and July at Jackson, Tenn., and August at Bolivar. The regiment was on picket duty near Iuka in September and in the battle at Metamora Oct. 5. It guarded the Mississippi Central railroad from Hickory valley to Bolivar from Nov. 4, 1862 until May 31, 1863. On Dec. 24, 1862, 115 men in a blockhouse at Middleburg, repulsed a force of Van Dorn's cavalry numbering nearly 3,000. The affair lasted over 2 hours and over 4,000 rounds were fired at the enemy, inflicting serious damage, the Confederates losing 135 in killed, wounded and prisoners. The men received Gen. Grant's commendation in general orders. The regiment was sent to Vicksburg in June, 1863, and participated in a skirmish at Mechanicsburg. It was in the siege of Vicksburg and the campaign of Arkansas, being encamped at Helena and near Little Rock after its surrender. It moved to Benton in October and back to Little Rock, where 334 reenlisted as veterans and were furloughed home during Feb., 1864. They rejoined the regiment on April 1, with a large number of recruits. The regiment was on the march almost continuously during the summer, engaged in short expeditions, and was in an engagement at Clarendon. It dispersed a force of guerillas at Gregory's landing on Sept. 4, was stationed at Devall's Bluff in October, and engaged in heavy detail duty on picket, provost, railroad guard and fatigue work, with occasional scouting until June, 1865. During 1864 it had traveled over 3,000 miles and lost 4 by wounds and 109 by disease. On June 6 it moved to Little Rock, thence to Washington, Ark., where companies were detached to various points for guarding public property and scouting. Camden became its headquarters on Nov. 1, and on Jan. 28, 1866, the companies were ordered to assemble at that point. The regiment was mustered out Feb. 15. Its original strength was 1,000: gain by recruits, 1,325; total, 2,325. Loss by death, 432.

Regimental history taken from "The Union Army" by Federal Publishing Company, 1908 - Volume 3

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