The nomination of Abraham Lincoln for the Presidency of the United States, in June, 1860, and his triumphant election in November following, upon the popular principle of non-extension of slavery into the territories, was made the occasion of secession from the Union, by eleven of the slave States, South Carolina taking the lead, immediately after the result of the election was known. The mischievous doctrine of State Rights, inculcated by Calhoun and a large class of extremists who succeeded him, like a delusive phantom, lured those States form their allegiance to the Constitution and laws of the Union, to engage in the Utopian scheme of founding a Southern Confederacy, based upon the declared right of capital to own the labor of the subject African race. (end p15)
The gathering storm roused the anxieties of the people of the free States, who beheld, with deep indignation, the craven spirit of the Chief Executive of the nation, who made no honorable effort to arrest the progress of the conspiracy. In this condition of affairs Mr. Lincoln succeeded Mr. Buchanan, deeply conscious of the vast responsibility imposed upon him. No wisdom or firmness could at that time stay the fierce storm of passion engendered in the revolted States, and, after vigorous preparation, the insurgents inaugurated the conflict by an attack on Fort Sumter, April 12th, 1861. After a gallant defense, the garrison was surrendered to General Beauregard, by Major Robert Anderson, April 14th. The intelligence of this event caused intense excitement throughout the country, and was immediately succeeded by a call of the Executive, for 75,000 men, to serve three months. The quotas of the several States were promptly filled, and large numbers volunteered in excess of the call, who were returned to their homes.
The promptness of Indiana was equal to that of her sister States. Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi, had been placed at the head of the newly organized Southern Confederacy, as President and Commander-in-chief of the insurgent forces. Smarting under the unjust imputation of cowardice, cast upon the Indiana troops by Jefferson Davis, at Buena (p16) Vista, in 1847, the people of the State were stimulated to avenge the insult. One regiment took a solemn oath, on bended knee, at the State Capitol to wipe out the dishonor. Nobly has the pledge been fulfilled by 150,000 Indianians, on nearly every battle-field from the Potomac to the Rio Grande. Indiana has cause for pride in review of the achievements of her sons during the great conflict. Her noble Governor has earned for himself a brilliant reputation, and all our sister States point to him as an example of earnest devotion to the interests of the noble men who have achieved lasting honors in the service of their country. The blessings of heaven and the gratitude of the people have been dispensed to those who have placed the character of the State among the foremost in the strife. To those who represented the loyalty of Indiana on the field of battle the remembrance of her glorious record is peculiarly precious.
The quota for the State, under the call of the President, was six regiments, of the minimum strength. These were speedily organized, armed and equipped, and sent to the scene of hostilities in Western Virginia. They were numbered as follows: Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Indiana Volunteer Infantry. The spirit of volunteering continued after the quotas were filled. To provide against incursions from Kentucky, which State was then a field of contending (p17) factions, the Legislature, in extra session, provided for the defense of the State, and Governor Morton called for several regiments for State service. The Twelfth and Sixteenth Indiana Volunteer Infantry were accepted, under this call, for one year, and assigned to duty on the Ohio River. The intermediate regiments, viz: the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth, were organized for three years, under the call of the President for 300,000 troops. The Twelfth Indiana was accepted by the State May 5th, 1861. The following is the Roster of the Regiment
Lieutenant Colonel -- William H. Link.
Major -- George Humphreys.
Surgeon --William Lomax.
Quartermaster --M. R. Dixon.
Co. A --Captain, Thomas J. Morrison; 1st Lieutenant, John Moore; 2nd Lieutenant, John Cox.
Co. B --Captain, Thomas Noel; 1st Lieutenant, Sol D. Kempton; 2nd Lieutenant; James Huston
Co. C --Captain, James Bachman; 1st Lieutenant, Michael Kirchner; 2nd Lieutenant, ___ Wallace.
Co. D --Captain, William O'Brian; 1st Lieutenant, ___ McCole; 2nd Lieutenant, J. T. Floyd.
Co. E --Captain, Henry Hubler; 1st Lieutenant, A. P. Gallagher; 2nd Lieutenant, Reuben Williams
Co. F --Captain, George Nelson; 1st Lieutenant, O. N. Hinkle; 2nd Lieutenant, John M. Godown.
Co. G --Captain, A. W. Reed; 1st Lieutenant, William Angel; 2nd Lieutenant, Elbert D. Baldwin. (p18)
Co. H --Captain, Thomas Doane; 1st Lieutenant, George W. Steele; 2nd Lieutenant, William Wallace.
Co. I --Captain, H. B. Thompson; 1st Lieutenant, Alexander Buchanan; 2nd Lieutenant, William Wood.
Co. K --Captain, James F. Draper; 1st Lieutenant, Benjamin Ayers; 2nd Lieutenant, ___ Dixon.
The following promotions were made during the term of service:
Lieutenant Colonel William H. Link, to Colonel,
vice Wallace, resigned, Aug. 6th, 1861.
Major George Humphreys, to Lieutenant Colonel, vice Link, promoted, Aug. 6th, 1861.
Captain Henry Hubler, Co. E, to Major, vice Humphreys, promoted, Aug. 6th 1861.
1st Lieutenant Reuben Williams, Co. E, to Captain, vice Hubler, promoted, Aug. 6th, 1861.
1st Lieutenant Alexander Buchanan, Co. I, to Captain, vice Thompson, resigned, July 24th, 1861.
2nd Lieutenant William Wood, Co. I, to 1st Lieutenant, vice Buchanan, promoted, July 24th, 1861.
Sergt. Alfred B. Taylor, Co. I, to 2nd Lieutenant, vice Wood, promoted, July 24th, 1861.
Sergt. George Carroll, Co. H, to 2nd Lieutenant, vice Wallace, resigned, Sept. 1st, 1861.
Sergt. George Collins, Co. C, to 2nd Lieutenant, vice Wallace, resigned, Dec. 1st 1861.
____ Watson, Chaplain, to fill vacancy, Oct. 1st, 1861. (p19)
The Regiment remained in camp at Indianapolis till June 1st, when it was ordered to Evansville, and distributed as follows: Companies B, D,. and F, were stationed at Newburg; C, G, and K, at Mount Vernon; and A, E, H, and I, at Evansville, with Regimental headquarters at the latter place. The Regiment continued on duty at these points, blockading the river for the prevention of contraband trade with the enemy, till the 23d of July. The alarm on the border having subsided, the presence of the troops was no longer deemed necessary, and Governor Morton effected an arrangement for the Transfer of the Twelfth and Sixteenth Indiana to the United States service for the unexpired term. The Regiment was ordered to Indianapolis, where it arrived on the last named date, and received pay for the service rendered the State, proceeding direct to Harper's Ferry, Virginia. On its arrival the Regiment was assigned to Abercrombie's Brigade of General Banks' command. The season passed away without any offensive operations of importance. The troops marched from Harper's Ferry to Hyattstown, thence to Darnestown and Williamsport, and in October the Regiment was ordered to Sharpsburg, and assigned to picket duty on the Potomac, where it remained for five months. During this period Captain Williams, of Co. E, with Lemuel Hazzard and several others of the Regiment, was surprised and captured by (p20) the enemy, and confined in prison at Richmond for five months. It was while the Regiment remained at Sharpsburg that Lieutenant Taylor, of Co., I, visited the camp of the enemy, and spent several days in their midst, as a spy, returning safely to camp, and swimming the Potomac on his way. The occurrence of a storm, at the time of the intended movement, prevented the accomplishment of the capture of the force, which would doubtless have resulted from this bold undertaking.
On the 1st of March, 1862, the army resumed the offensive, crossing the Potomac and advancing upon Martinsburg, where the Twelfth Indiana and Twelfth Massachusetts skirmished with a small force of the enemy, and occupied the place. In the movement upon Winchester the Regiment was in advance, skirmishing with Ashby's cavalry, being the first Federal troops to enter the city after the enemy retired. The Brigade was ordered from Winchester to Centerville, and thence to Warrenton Junction, where the Regiment was detached from the command and ordered to Washington for discharge, arriving there April 27th. It was not till the 19th of May that the muster-out was effected, and the troops received their discharge and pay.
The service on the Potomac was one of comparative ease during the period of the Regiment's connection with the army under General Banks, and it returned to the State with its ranks nearly full, (p21) having lost but nineteen men during the year. Many of the officers and men again entered the service in the new organization, and in other regiments, and distinguished themselves by their valor. (p22)