The Civil War in the East

12th New Hampshire Infantry Regiment

The 12th New Hampshire Infantry Regiment lost 11 officers and 170 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded and 1 officer and 138 enlisted men to disease in the Civil War.

 

It is honored by a monument at Gettysburg (right).

Monument to the 12th New Hampshire Infantry Regiment at Gettysburg

1862

 

Organized at Concord under Colonel Thomas Whipple

September 10

Mustered in under Colonel Joseph H. Potter, a Regular Army captain who Governor Berry brought in to replace Whipple, to the dismay of the regiment. John F. Marsh was appointed lieutenant colonel and George Savage major.

September 27

Left State for Washington, D.C. for duty in the Defenses of Washington. Attached to Casey's Division, Military District of Washington

October 18

Moved to Point of Rocks, Md.

October 19

To Pleasant Valley

October 24-
November 16

Movement to Warrenton, Va.

November 18-24

To Falmouth

December

Attached to 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, 3rd Army Corps, Army of the Potomac

December 12-15

Battle of Fredericksburg

Two officers and five enlisted men were wounded by artillery fire in the town, but the regiment's assault up deadly Marye's Heights was cancelled and it escaped heavy casualties. When the army withdrew to the north saide of the Rapahannock Companies C and F were left behind, and the pontoon bridges were being taken up when Lieutenant Colonel Marsh rushed back across the river to bring them to safety.

1863

January 20-24

Burnside's 2nd Campaign ("Mud March")

February - April

Duty at Falmouth

April 27-May 6

Chancellorsville Campaign

May 1-5.

Battle of Chancellorsville

Posted near the edge of the woods below the Chancellor House, the regiment maintained its position while units around it were pushed back or withdrew, until it was surrounded. Finally, the regiment fought its way back Union lines, losing 325 casualties. It was reported by General Sickles to be the last regiment of his command to leave the field.

 

Nine officers and 69 men were killed and 250 officers and men wounded out of around 580 men engaged. Colonel Potter was badly wounded in the leg and was captured; although parolled after a short time. Lieutenant Colonel Marsh was also wounded and captured; neither officer would return to the regiment. Major Savage was wounded in the jaw, and his brother, Captain Moses Savage, was killed. Captains Keyes and Durgin were also killed or mortally wounded, and Captains Barker, May, Lang, and Shackleford were wounded. Lieutenan Cram was killed and Lieutenant Edwin Bedee wounded.

 

The next day the 5th mustered only 97 men under Lieutenant Gorham Dunn.

June 11-July 24

Gettysburg Campaign

Attached to 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 3rd Army Corps, Army of the Potomac

July 1-3

Battle of Gettysburg

The regiment was commanded by Captain John F. Langley until he was wounded in the fighting north of the Peach Orchard. The regiment held its ground north of the Klingel Farm while attacked by Wilcox's Alabama Brigade until it was ordered to retreat by General Birney. Lieutenant French was killed and Lieutenant Bradbury Morrill was wounded. Lieutenant Fernal took over the survivors and returned them to the fight, freeing a number of captured Union troops.

 

Only 50 men mustered for duty the next day under Captain Thomas E. Barker.

 

From the monument:

"The New Hampshire Mountaineers. This regiment was raised in four days served nearly three years in the Army of the Potomac and the James and lost in killed and wounded over 50 per ct of those engaged at Chancellorsville and Cold Harbor of its original number. While in the service it marched to this field on the night of the 1st, fought here on the 2nd, and supported the center against Pickett's Charge on the 3rd"

 

"July 2, 1863. Engaged 224. Killed, 26. Wounded, 73. Die of wounds, 6."

 

"Our Union is river, lake, ocean and sky; Man breaks not the medal, when God cuts the die."

July 26

Ordered to Point Lookout, Md. and duty there guarding prisoners attached to Marston's Command, Point Lookout, Md., District of St. Mary's

1864

April 7

Moved to Yorktown then to Williamsburg, attached to 2nd Brigade, 2d Division, 18th Army Corps, Dept. of Virgin!a and North Carolina

May 4-28

Butler's operations on south side of the James River and against Petersburg and Richmond

May 9-10

Swift Creek (or Arrowfield Church)

 

Operations against Fort Darling

May 14-16

Battle of Drewry's Bluff

May 16-27

Bermuda Hundred

May 27-31

Moved to White House, thence to Cold Harbor

June 1-12

Battles about Cold Harbor

Ordered to charge the Confederate lines in a tightly packed formation, the regiment lost in ten minutes 63 men killed or mortally wounded and many more wounded out of the 190 men engaged, including Gorham Dunn, who was killed.

June 15-19

Before Petersburg; Siege of Petersburg and Richmond begins

July 30

Mine Explosion, Petersburg (Reserve)

August 26

Duty on the Bermuda Front

September

Colonel Potter returned from convalescent leave but was immediately given command of a brigade, and did not return to the regiment.

November 17

A picket detail of fifty men was surrounded during a Confederate assault when neighboring units fell back, losing one oficer and six men wounded and 2 officers and 35 enlisted men captured.

December

Duty in trenches before Richmond attached to 2nd Brigade. 3rd Division, 24th Army Corps, Dept. of Virginia

1865

April 3

Occupation of Richmond

Captain Bohonon led a picket line into the city, claiming to be the first infantry in Richmond.

April 14

Captain Bedee was on special leave in Washington and attended Ford's Theater. When Lincoln was shot, Bedee leaped into the Presidential box and lifted a doctor into the box from the audience. Bedee held the President's head while the doctor examined him, and it was Bedee that found the site of the wound. Mrs. Lincoln gave Bedee documents that had fallen from the President's coat pocket for safekeeping, which Bedee delivered to Scretary Stanton.

April-June

Guard and Provost duty at Manchester and Danville

After the 12th left, Mayor J. W. Walker of Danville thanked them for "the proper and gentlemanly bearing of yourself, your officers, and your entire command while on duty here..... It is proper that you, Colonel, and the officers and men serving with and under you, should know that you and they possess our respect as soldiers and our esteem as men for the manner in which you and your command have discharged duties which might have been, in another spirit, painful or annoying to our community; and we deeply regret your removal from this post while a military occupation is continued. We request you make known to the men of your command our high appreciation for their uniform good conduct, their quiet and unassuming deportment, and their prompt and efficient service in the protection of private property..."

June 21

Mustered out 218 men under Colonel Thomas R. Barker. Replacement recruits were transferred to the 2nd New Hampshire.




 
About the Author • ©2014 Steve Hawks