Missouri State Genealogy Trails

History of the 12th Regiment Cavalry

This regiment is still in service, and is stationed at Julesburg, Colorado Territory.
The following is a copy of the order of organization of the regiment:
Headquarters State of Missouri, Adjutant General’s office.
St. Louis, March 15, 1864.

General Orders, No. 12.
The organization of the 12th Cavalry, Missouri volunteers, having been completed, the following appointment are hereby announced for the information of all concerned:

A-01 Oliver Wells, Colonel
A-02 Richard H. Brown, Lieutenant Colonel
A-03 Edwin D. Nash, Major
A-04 J. M. Hubbard, Major
A-05 Levi Pritchard, Major
A-06 William Kerrigan, Adjutant
A-07 Paul R. Kendall, Quartermaster
A-08 John G. Woods, Commissary
A-09 George W. Corey, Surgeon
A-10 Wesley Jones, Assistant Surgeon
A-11 H. C. Linn, Assistant Surgeon
A-12 ----- -----, Chaplain
A-13 Andrew J. Hughes, Captain, Company A.
A-14 Arthur J. Devlin, Captain, Company B.
A-15 William M. Delano, Captain, Company C
A-16 Joseph H. Richards, Captain, Company D.
A-17 Jefferson Miller, Captain, Company E
A-18 Robert G. Hubbard, Captain, Company G
A-19 Sylvester H. Vansyckel, Captain, Company H.
A-20 William A. Mills, Captain, Company I
A-21 William W. Owen, Captain, Company K
A-22 Harry M. Sherman, Captain, Company L.
A-23 Oscar F. Smith, Captain, Company M.

(Note: The I.D. has been added for indexing purposes only.)

II. Colonel Oliver Wells, Commanding 12th Cavalry, Missouri volunteers, will report for orders to Major General W. S. Rosecrans, commanding Department Missouri, without delay.
By order of the Commander-in-Chief:
John B. Gray, Adjutant General


Headquarters 12th Cavalry, Missouri Volunteers,
Camp near Fort Laramie, October 17, 1865

Colonel Samuel P. Simpson, Adjutant General of Missouri:
Colonel, I have the honor to transmit a statement, herewith annexed, of operations of this regiment since its organization:

The organization of the 12th Regiment Cavalry, Missouri volunteers, was completed on the 22d of March 1864, and on the 25th of the same month was turned over to the Major General Commanding the Department of Missouri, and assigned to duty in the city of St. Louis until relieved. June 1, 1864, then ordered to report to Major General Washburne, commanding District of West Tennessee, at Memphis, Tennessee. Here the regiment was assigned to the 1st Division Cavalry, District of Tennessee, commanded by Brigadier General Hatch. On the 10th of August, 1864, the regiment was first under fire at the old battleground of Grant on the Tallahatchee, near Abbeyville, losing two men killed and three wounded; formed a part of Major General A. J. Smith’s command, on his expedition to Oxford, Mississippi; in this campaign the 12th Missouri Cavalry lost three men killed, five wounded and thirty prisoners, and won a name while yet in its infancy that Missouri may well be proud of. On the return of the expedition to Memphis and vicinity, Hatch’s division was encamped at White Station, nine miles from Memphis, drilling twice daily and fitting out generally for a long campaign. Left White Station on the 30th of September, 1864; crossed Tennessee River at Clifton, Tennessee, October 6, and drew rations and struck out on the Nashville Pike to intercept, if possible, the rebel General Forrest, at Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, but on our arrival at that place, learned that he had passed the day before on the old military road. Our division struck out after him, but he had made good his escape across the Tennessee.

The division then moved down the river to Clifton, where it encamped till October 27, when orders were received to march with all dispatch to Pulaski, Tennessee, as the rebel General Hood was then reported to be crossing the Tennessee River at Florence, Alabama. On arrival at Pulaski, November 6, orders were received to move immediately to Shoal Creek. We struck Hood’s army on the 8th November, and from that time until the retreat of our army from Pulaski towards Nashville, we were engaged daily with Hood’s command. On the 22d, while in camp at Lawrenceburg, the rebels attacked us in large numbers; owing to the overwhelming force of the enemy we fell back towards Pulaski, Hood closely pursuing until the morning of the 24th when he again pitched into us at Campbellsville, Tennessee. Here the 12th Missouri Cavalry played a conspicuous part, being the retreat rear of Hatch’s division, and as the troops had moved to Columbia from Pulaski the rear of Thomas’ entire army, losing eight (8) men killed and wounded, and over one hundred prisoners; arrived at Columbia on the morning of the 25th November. Crossed the Duck River and the division assigned as 5th Division Cavalry Corps, Military Division, Mississippi; skirmished daily with the Johnnies till arrival at Nashville, December 2, 1864. Crossed Cumberland River same day and encamped near Edgefield; the regiment was mounted afresh and properly clothed for the coming campaign. On the 12th December, the division re-crossed the Cumberland and took position in line for the defense of Nashville on the right of the 16th Army Corps.

In the first day’s fight before Nashville, December 15, the regiment lost fifteen killed and forty wounded, (among the former Lieutenant W. Stanly, Co.G.) and was one of the first regiments to reach the rebel works, capturing seven pieces of artillery, a number of small arms and about two hundred and fifty prisoners. The rebel general commenced his retreat toward the Tennessee River the night of the 15th, and then they followed daily skirmishing with his rear guard until he made his escape across the Tennessee.

After the pursuit was given up the cavalry was ordered to Gravelly Springs to build winter quarters, which were no sooner completed than the 5th Division was ordered to Eastport (having been dismounted at Gravelly Springs); here the 12th Missouri Cavalry was mounted on mules and did a good deal of scouting over northern Mississippi and Alabama. On the 12th May, 1865, the brigade, consisting of the 12th Missouri Cavalry, 12th Tennessee, 3rd Illinois and the 11th Indiana Cavalry, was detached from the 5th Division Cavalry Corps, and ordered to report to Major General Dodge, commanding Department of Missouri. Arrived at St. Louis May 17, here the regiment was detached from the brigade, newly equipped and ordered to Fort Leavenworth, thence to Omaha, Nebraska, where the 2d Missouri Light Artillery joined us, forming the Eastern Division Indian Expedition, and ordered via Loup Fork, Bear Bottom and Powder River, to Fort Alexander, on the Yellowstone; reached the Powder River August 28, as we suppose, about seventy-five miles south of the Yellowstone.

The command left Omaha July 1, 1865, with sixty days rations. On the 28 August, our rations were nearly exhausted. Here the Cheyenne Indians first attacked the command, (September 1). We started on the 2d down the Powder River, towards the Yellowstone, but one day’s march found the Powder River impracticable for our teams, and on the 3d we started back for Fort Laramie. On the 4th the Indians again appeared, attacking a squad of men belonging to the 12th, sent back to burn abandoned wagons and other property. Our boys drove them back, but on the morning of the 5th, they appeared in much larger numbers than the previous evening. Our men immediately started after them, and fought them for two hours, losing two men killed and one wounded, of the 12th. The Indians followed us until 11th September, when they finally left us. A greater enemy now began to be developed, and one more feared than the red skins. Starvation stared us in the face, and from this date (11th September) until our arrival at Fort Conner, September 20, the men eat mule and horse meat.

At Fort Conner received orders on the 25th September to march to Fort Laramie, where the command arrived October 4th. We are all now anxiously looking for orders to muster out of service.

Our aggregate strength on leaving St. Louis in June 1864, was one thousand one hundred and fifty-two men. Now it is seven hundred and fifty-four, and many of them are known to be mustered out, but have not been dropped from the rolls.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

William T. Shaver
Adjutant 12th Missouri Cavalry, Volunteers.
Copied from a photocopy of Appendix, the Senate Journal of the Adjourned Session of the Twenty-Third General Assembly. Annual Report of the Adjutant General of Missouri. Vol. 1. Dec. 31, 1865.
Source: Pioneer Times, October 1991 Vol 15 No 4, Page 174. Transcribed and submitted by Joanne Scobee Morgan

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