The record of our toils and sacrifices cannot be better closed than by introducing the Farewell Address of General Williams, in which the services of the Regiment are briefly reviewed:
Head-Quarters 12th Regiment Indiana
Indianapolis, Ind., 19th June, 1865
Officers and Soldiers:
Your Commanding Officer addresses you for the last time as an organization. In a few more hours the Twelfth Indiana will live in history alone. Its members, the heroes of many a hard fought battle, will soon have separated, to gladden, by their presence, their firesides of the homes from which they have been so long absent.
Your commander embraces the opportunity, before we separate, to pay tribute to the devotion with which you have served your country during the long and bloody struggle from which we have just emerged. Your conduct upon many bloody fields attests the high regard you have borne the "starry banner" --the emblem of our nationality.
You return to your state with Richmond, Ky., Vicksburg, Jackson, Miss., Mission Ridge, Resaca, Dallas, New Hope Church, Kenesaw Mountain, Nickajack Creek, Atlanta, 20th, 21st, 22nd (p318) and 28th July, Jonesboro, Savannah, Griswoldville, Columbia, S.C., Bentonville and Raleigh inscribed upon your colors. The blood of six hundred of your comrades defines the manner in which the Twelfth Regiment conducted itself upon these fields.
For more than four years your Regiment has had an existence. Many of you have been present during the entire period, and all of you have fought under the same battle-scarred colors for three long years. You have numbered thirteen hundred men in all, who have marched with you to battle. Nine hundred of your number today do not answer to the call of the roll. The bones of three hundred of these may be found in Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, the two Carolinas, and Virginia. Your feet have pressed the soil of every Southern State save two (Texas and Florida.) You have fought upwards of twenty distinct and bloody engagements; and have, in the same time, with knapsacks upon your backs and guns upon your shoulders, marched upwards of six thousand miles.
Your first bloody act in the great rebellion was the part sustained by you in the battle of Richmond, Ky. You went into the field at early morn; through the entire day you were engaged. No soldiers ever fought better than you did. Thirty killed and one hundred and forty-three wounded speaks for the gallantry with which your services were rendered on that memorable day. It was there you lost your lamented commander, Colonel William H. Link, who fell gloriously in the heat of battle.
From this ill-fated field, you visited the valley of the Mississippi, and were attached to the grand old Army of the Southwest. With it you did your duty at Vicksburg and Jackson, Miss. At a later day you hurried with Sherman to the relief of the beleaguered army at Chattanooga. You arrived there hungry, tired, ragged and barefoot. No rest was allowed you. The battle of Missionary Ridge was fought and won, and the army of General Bragg driven in rout from that stronghold, though mother earth drank blood from more than a hundred of your comrades. Then followed the long mid-winter campaign to Knoxville, which you accomplished without rations, sufficient clothing, and scores of your number barefooted. Your commander recollects well of many of your number encasing their bleeding feet in strips of raw hide to protect them from the snow and ice and sharp pointed rocks which met you at every step.
Again, with the Fifteenth Corps, under the glorious Logan, you participated in the great Atlanta campaign. You opened the ball at Resaca, being the first regiment engaged, losing fifty-eight in killed and wounded. From this time until the fall of Atlanta you were scarcely ever out of reach of the enemy's fire. Your losses during the campaign numbered two hundred and forty killed and wounded.
Soon again you were on the war path, accompanying General Sherman on his "March to the Sea," participating in the battle of Griswoldville, and were frequently under fire during the march and upon the occupation of Savannah. The grand triumphal march of this army from Savannah to Columbia, S. C., from thence to Raleigh and Washington City, is so well known as to render comment useless.
While at Washington, you had the honor of leading General Sherman's grand army in the greatest review ever held upon this continent, where, by your soldierly appearance, you elicited the praise of thousands and tens of thousands of spectators who had crowded thither from every part of our country to welcome your arrival.
Many of our gallant officers are numbered with the dead. The memory of Colonel W. H. Link, Captains Avaline, Beeson, Peoples, Anderson and Huston, and Lieutenants Day, Wescott, Waters, Weaver and Kirkpatrick, who have given their lives to their country, will ever be revered. I would gladly mention the names of every man of your number who has fallen in this harvest of death, had I space to do so. Our sympathies shall ever be enlisted in behalf of the gallant officers and men who have (p320) been disabled from wounds received in action. Among those of this class are Chaplain Gage, Quartermaster McClellan, Adjutant Bond, Captains Price and Bowman, and Lieutenants Blackwell and O'Shaughnessy, all of whom have received severe and dangerous wounds while in the line of duty.
During these years of service you have, by your strict observance of the duties of a soldier, acquired a reputation second to no regiment from our State. Our State, its officials, your friends and relatives have much reason to be proud of you.
The cordial and hearty support that both officers and men have given me at all times and places is most satisfactory. I shall, in after years, look back with pleasure to the three years that I was connected with this Regiment, as its commanding officer.
Hoping that you may all prove as good citizens as you have heretofore been faithful soldiers, and that peace and prosperity will ever be your lot,
I am, your obedient servant,
Brevt. Brig. Gen. U.S.A.
Marsh. H. Parks,
Act. Asst. Adj. Gen.