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12th Michigan Infantry
in the American Civil War
|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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