Twelfth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry

Acton men who served in the 12th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry:

Martin Cunningham, Co. B (drafted)

Herbert Davidson, Co. B (res. Boston)

Sylvanus Hunt, Co. K (drafted)

George E. Peck, Co. G (draft substitute)

Regimental history from Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the Civil War, compiled and published by the Adjutant General:

The 12th Regt. Mass. Vol, Inf., known as the "Webster Regiment ", was recruited in the latter part of April, 1861, through the personal efforts of Fletcher Webster, son of the statesman, Daniel Webster. During the first week in May, 1861, the regiment was transferred to Fort Warren, where its organization was completed. Five companies were raised in Boston and one each in Abington, North Bridgewater, Gloucester, Stoughton, and Weymouth. On June 26, Col. Webster and a large majority of the officers and men of the regiment were mustered into the service.

The regiment left Fort Warren for the seat of war July 23, and on the 27th it reached Sandy Hook, Md., near Harper's Ferry. The summer and fall of 1861 were spent in guarding the line of the upper Potomac near Darnestown, Serteca Creek, Muddy Branch, and other points between Washington, D. C., and Frederick, Md. Early in December, with the rest of Abercrombie's Brigade, it went into winter quarters at Camp Hicks on the Baltimore pike about four miles east of Frederick. In the latter part of February the regiment was sent into the Shenandoah Valley, Gen. N. P. Banks being in command of that district. As a part of Abercrombie's Brigade, Williams' Division, Banks' (5th) Corps, it was occupied during the spring and early summer reconnoitering in the neighborhood of Winchester, Aldie, Front Royal, Manassas, and other places. In May, 1862, it formed a part of Hartsuff's Brigade, Ricketts' Division, McDowell's (3d) Corps, Army of Virginia. With Ricketts' Division it reached the battlefield of Cedar Mountain, August 9, 1862, just at the close of the action and suffered several casualties by artillery fire.

At Second Bull Run, August 30, General Z. B. Tower being in command of the brigade in the absence of Gen.  Hartsuff who was ill, the 12th Regt. was heavily engaged near Bald Hill on the Chinn farm, losing its commander, Col. Webster, and 25 officers and men killed or mortally wounded.

The reorganization of the army in early September, 1862, made Ricketts' Division a part of Hooker's (1st) Corps, and as a part of Hartsuff's Brigade the 12th Regt. joined in the operations which forced the Confederates out of Frederick, Md., and on toward South Mountain. The 12th was engaged in the battle of South Mountain, Sept. 14, suffering only slight loss. On the 17th, at Antietam, it fought in the Bloody Cornfield, losing 224 officers and men, of whom 74, including Major Elisha Burbank and Assistant Surgeon A. A. Kendall, were killed or mortally wounded. Here it came into conflict with the famous Texas Brigade and captured the colors of the 1st Texas Infantry.

At Fredericksburg, Dec. 13, 1862, under command of Col. James L. Bates, as a part of Lyle's Brigade, Gibbon's Division, Reynolds' (1st) Corps, it participated in the attack on the Confederate right, losing heavily. Among the killed was First Lieutenant Arthur Dehon, who was serving on Gen. Meade's staff. The winter of 1862-63 was spent in camp near Belle Plain on the Potomac.

At Chancellorsville, May 1 to 4, 1863, the regiment as a part of Baxter's Brigade, Robinson's Division, Reynolds' (1st) Corps was engaged with small loss. At Gettysburg, July 1, 1863, the 12th was in action on the extreme right of the 1st Corps near Oak Hill, where it performed valuable service and suffered severe loss. In October it was active in the operations along the line of the Rappahannock, was in the advance to Mine Run in the latter part of November, and spent the winter of 1863-64 in the neighborhood of Culpepper, Va.

In the spring of 1864, Robinson's Division, now a part of Warren's (6th) Corps, was engaged on the Orange turnpike, May 5, and on the Plank road, May 6, in the battle of the Wilderness, suffering severely. At Spottsylvania, May 8 to 12, it fought on the Alsop, Jones, and Spindle farms on the Union right, again losing heavily. At North Anna, Cold Harbor, and in front of Petersburg it was in action with loss, remaining on duty until June 25, when it turned its recruits and re-enlisted men over to the 39th Regt., and started for home, reaching Boston, July 1, 1864. A week later the regiment was reassembled on Boston Common and was mustered out of the United States service.


Regimental history from A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, by Frederick Dyer:

Organized at Fort Warren and mustered in June 26, 1861. Moved to Sandy Hook, Md., July 23-27. Attached to George H. Thomas' Brigade, Dept. of the Shenandoah, to October, 1861. Abercrombie'$ Brigade, Banks' Division, Army of the Potomac, to March, 1862. 2nd Brigade, Williams' 1st Division, Banks' 5th Army Corps and Dept. of the Shenandoah, to May, 1862. 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, Dept. of the Rappahannock, to June, 1862. 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 3rd Army Corps, Army of Virginia, to September, 1862. 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 1st Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to November, 1862. 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 1st Army Corps, to March, 1864. 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 5th Army Corps, to May, 1864. 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, 5th Army Corps, to July, 1864.

SERVICE.--Operations on the Upper Potomac August, 1861, to February, 1862. Operations opposite Edward's Ferry October 21-24, 1861. Operations in the Shenandoah Valley March 24-April 27. Strasburg March 27. Edenburg April 1-2. Rappahannock Crossing April 18. Battle of Cedar Mountain August 9. Pope's Campaign in Northern Virginia August 16-September 2. Rappahannock Station August 20-23. Thoroughfare Gap August 28. Bull Run August 30. Chantilly September 1. Maryland Campaign September-October. Battles of South Mountain September 14, and Antietam September 16-17. Duty at Sharpsburg until October 30. Movement to Warrenton, thence to Falmouth, Va., October 30-November 19. Battle of Fredericksburg December 12-15. "Mud March" January 20-24, 1863. At Falmouth and Belle Plain, Va., until April 27. Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6. Operations at Pollock's Mill Creek April 29-May 2. Fitzhugh's Crossing April 29-30. Battle of Chancellorsville May 1-5. Gettysburg (Pa.) Campaign June 11-July 24. Battle of Gettysburg July 1-3. Picket duty on the Rapidan until October. Bristoe Campaign October 9-22. Advance to line of the Rappahannock November 7-8. Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2. Demonstration on the Rapidan February 6-7, 1864. Campaign from the Rapidan to the James May-June, 1864. Battles of the Wilderness May 5-7; Laurel Hill May 8; Spottsylvania May 8-12; Spottsylvania Court House May 12:21. Assault on the Salient May 12. North Anna River May 23-26. Jericho Ford May 23. Line of the Pamunkey May 26-28. Totopotomoy May 28-31. Cold Harbor June 1-12. Bethesda Church June 1-3. White Oak Swamp June 13. Before Petersburg June 16-18. Ordered home for muster out June 25. Mustered out July 8, 1864.

Regiment lost during service 18 Officers and 175 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 83 Enlisted men by disease. Total 276.

See also:

Cook, Benjamin F. History of the Twelfth Massachusetts Volunteers (Webster regiment). Boston: Twelfth (Webster) Regiment Association, 1882.;