The military operations of 1861 failed to secure any important advantages to our arms, and the confidence of the enemy in his ultimate success was unbounded. The Peninsular campaign, in the spring of 1862, was a series of failures, and the finely equipped army under McClellan was withdrawn from its perilous position, after a remarkable series of engagements, in which it displayed the most unconquerable courage and power of endurance. The disastrous results of this campaign awakened a deep anxiety for our cause, and indicated the necessity for re-inforcement of our armies.
But while disaster had befallen our arms in Virginia, affairs wore a more hopeful aspect in the West. Tennessee had become the theatre of great events. The fall of Fort Donelson and the evacuation of Nashville, the defeat of the enemy at Shiloh and the occupation of Memphis compelled the rebel army to retire into Alabama. The subsequent effort of General Bragg to force our army, (p23) under Buell, from its advance position, by a skillfully executed flank movement, was successful, and the aspect of affairs in the West became no less forbidding than in the East. The enemy pushed forward, exalting in hope of a speedy triumph, and Buell was compelled to fall back to Nashville. In the meantime President Lincoln had issued a call for 300,000 troops, soon after followed by a second call for an additional force of the same number. The exigency of the times stimulated a spirit of activity far exceeding that of the preceding year, and volunteering continued rapidly, filling the quotas of the respective States without resort to conscription. The troops were rapidly organized, armed and equipped, and sent into the field; those from the West being ordered to Kentucky, and those from the East to Virginia.
An effort was made to re-organize the Twelfth
Indiana Volunteer Infantry, for three years service immediately
after the return of the Regiment from Washington. In the absence
of any call for troops, and before the reverses of fortune in
the West had rendered a call imperative, recruiting was attended
with great difficulty. A few companies were raised in June, and
rendezvoused at Indianapolis, but not sufficient to constitute
a regiment. In response to the call of the Executive, volunteers
flocked to the standard, and the Regiment was soon filled, and
mustered into service, by Colonel Simonson, at (p24) Indianapolis, Aug. 17th, 1862. The following is the
original Roster of the Regiment:
Colonel --William H. Link.
Lieutenant Colonel -- Reuben Williams.
Major -- Sol D. Kempton.
Surgeon -- William Lomax.
Assistant Surgeon -- Alfred B. Taylor
Adjutant --Jared D. Bond.
Quartermaster -- James A. McClellan.
Sergeant Major --Larrey D. McFarland.
Quartermaster Sergeant -- John H. Waters.
Commissary Sergeant -- Alfred G. Lee.
Hospital Steward -- John A. Campfield.
Senior Principal Musician -- Henry C. Keely.
Junior Principal Musician -- Henry C. Hubler.
Co. A -- Captain, James Goodnow; 1st Lieutenant, John B. Conner; 2nd Lieutenant, George W. Wright.
Co. B -- Captain, Elbert D. Baldwin; 1st Lieutenant, Frank H. Aveline; 2nd Lieutenant William H. Harrison.
Co. C -- Captain, David P. Cubberly; 1st Lieutenant, Hezekiah Beeson; 2nd Lieutenant, Edward S. Lenfesty.
Co. D -- Captain, George Bowman; 1st Lieutenant, John A. Blackwell; 2nd Lieutenant, Benjamin F. Price.
Co. E -- Captain, Samuel M. Rooker; 1st Lieutenant, Thomas N. Peoples; 2nd Lieutenant, Caleb Day.
Co. F -- Captain, Samuel Boughter; 1st Lieutenant, Alonzo H. Hubbard; 2nd Lieutenant, Edward H. Webster.
Co. G -- Captain, James Huston; 1st Lieutenant, Eastly Helms, 2nd Lieutenant, Robert Alfont.
Co. H -- Captain, George M. Trotter; 1st Lieutenant, Joseph E. Hart; 2nd Lieutenant, Josephus Bills.
Co. I -- Captain, Samuel W. Wells; 1st Lieutenant, Henry S. Wescott; 2nd Lieutenant, Thomas J. Anderson.
Co. K -- Captain, George Nelson; 1st Lieutenant, John M. Godown; 2nd Lieutenant, James O. Shaughnessy. (p25)
Reinforcements were constantly pouring into Kentucky, from the Western States, to resist the advance of Kirby Smith upon Cincinnati, and that of Bragg upon Louisville. The Twelfth Indiana received marching orders Aug. 22nd, and left for Lexington, Kentucky, via Cincinnati, marching direct form the former place for Richmond. A force of about 6,000 fresh troops was collected at that place, under command of Brigadier General Nelson, in whose temporary absence Brigadier General Manson held command. This force consisted of the following regiments: Twelfth, Sixteenth, Fifty-fifth, Sixty-sixth, Sixty-ninth and Seventy-first Indiana, and Ninety-eighth Ohio. Kirby Smith was already advancing upon the place with a superior force of disciplined troops. Instead of falling back toward Lexington for re-inforcements, which were on their way to join them, an advance was ordered, and on the morning of Aug. 30th, this handful of raw troops marched out to meet a confident foe numbering more than 30,000 men. Colonel Link being assigned to command a brigade of the Indiana troops, Lieutenant Colonel Williams, who had that morning arrived from home, led the Regiment. They encountered the enemy four miles south of Richmond, and a severe engagement ensued, the troops fighting like veterans till compelled to give (p26) way. The retreat continued to and through Richmond, when the troops were rallied to check the enemy. This second engagement resulted in the capture of the greater part of the force. About a thousand escaped, and made their way to Lexington. The loss in killed and wounded was nearly a thousand. The death of Colonel Link, of wounds received during the last engagement, occurred on the 20th of September. He was a popular and efficient officer, and his death was lamented by all in the Regiment. Lieutenants Day, of Company E, and Wescott, of Company I, also died of wounds. They were greatly beloved in their respective Companies. The following is a complete list of the casualties in the engagement:
Field and Staff --Killed; Colonel William H.
Co. A --Killed; John E. Branham, John H. C. Bard, John H. Clinton, John Rawles, Robert Reid, Charles W. Warsham. Wounded; Sergeant John D. Clark, Bishop Church, Stephen Gerrard, John C. Lewman, William H. Randall, Abram Wagner.
Co. C --Killed; Corporal William P. Thrasher, William Bradwick, Edwin Lenox, William Meisse, Thomas Persnett, William Shane. Wounded; William Barnhouse, John Dunn, Nathan W. Day, Emanuel Edwards, Jesse D. Frazee, Andrew Goodrick, James W. Grindle. (p27)
Co. D --Killed; Sergeant James H. Rook, Corporal Samuel McIntire, Benjamin McCormick, Elihu B. Miller, Enoch M. Todd. Wounded; Captain George Bowman, Samuel Dickey, James H. Edwards, John W. Glascock, John C. Johnson, William H. Little, Robert T. Little, Robert McMahan, George Reiger, Henry Sprecker, William Skevington, John C. Tedford.
Co. E --Killed; Second Lieutenant Caleb Day, Richard Berge, Harmon B. Cox, William Hutchinson, Milton V. Petitt, James Pointer, John D. Williams. Wounded: Corporal Joshua H. Woodward, Corporal Vincent Carter, Eli Bray, James A. Hutson, Corry McPherson, Elisha F. Ray, George Rudicil, Caswell B. Sumner, John K. Zimmerman.
Co. F --Killed; Harmon Beeson, John H. Basore, John B. Graham. Wounded; William H. Bowen, Martin B. Lightner, George W. Stoler, John Willard.
Co. G --Killed; Milton Curry, Edward Pauly. Wounded; Abraham D. Bannon, John Watterman, Richard Alfont, Melville Hunter, James W. Moulden, John W. Reynolds, Milo Shaffer, Marcellus B. Walker, Amos Wilson, John Humphreys.
Co. H --Killed; John T. Vanmeter. Wounded; Sergeant Dick Jones, Benjamin Brown, Amos Bucy, Nelson Bills, William J. Bradford, George W. Camp, David H. Davidson, Logan P. Herod, (p28) David Layton, John B. Tirey, David Vanskike, Francis Vanzant.
Co. I --Killed; First Lieutenant Henry S. Wescott, Daniel Denzer, Allen Jennings, James Nixon, Joseph Nagle, Joseph W. Sellers. Wounded; Joel W. Hawley, Warren O. Herendeen, Perry Oliver, Henry Paulus.
Co. K --Killed; William Collar. Wounded; Second Lieutenant James O. Shaughnessy, Sergeant James C. Peltier, Corporal Lucius T. Barbour, Corporal Frederick Tomblison, Alexander Horton, James F. Savage, Francis C. Stilwell, Lawrence Teutsch, David M. Utley. (p29)