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Massachusetts 12th Volunteer Infantry (Union)

26 Jun 1861

Massachusetts 12th Volunteer Infantry organized.

21 Oct 1861

Participated in the Battle of Ball's Bluff at Loundon County, Virginia.

The Battle of Ball's Bluff
The Battle of Ball's Bluff

On the evening of October 20, 1861, Union army commander George B. McClellan ordered Gen. Charles Stone to send a scouting party across the Potomac River to identify the positions of Confederate Col. Nathan Evans’s troops near Leesburg.  In the darkness the party’s inexperienced leader, Capt. Chase Philbrick, mistook a line of trees for a line of tents, and reported that he had stumbled across an unguarded Confederate camp.  Early the next day, Col. Charles Devens was sent across the river to att… Read More

27 Jun 1862

Participated in the Battle of Gaines' Mill at Hanover County, Virginia.

The Battle of Gaines' Mill
The Battle of Gaines' Mill

Despite his victory over the Confederates at Beaver Dam Creek on June 26th, Maj. Gen. Fitz John Porter’s Fifth Corps abandoned its position early on June 27th and established a new defensive line along Boatswain’s Creek, just north of the Chickahominy River. Read More

09 Aug 1862

Participated in the Battle of Cedar Mountain at Culpepper County, Virginia.

The Battle of Cedar Mountain
The Battle of Cedar Mountain

Maj. Gen. John Pope was placed in command of the newly-constituted Army of Virginia on June 26th. Pope's orders were to defend Washington DC and Union-held northern Virginia while the Army of the Potomac under Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan battled Robert E. Lee outside of Richmond.  When McClellan was defeated at the end of the Seven Days battles less than a week later, Lee turned his attention north toward Pope while McClellan regrouped his army. Pope's three army corps were arrayed in a line from th… Read More

28 Aug 1862

Participated in the Battle of Thoroughfare Gap at Fauquier County, Virginia; Prince William County, Virginia.

The Battle of Thoroughfare Gap
The Battle of Thoroughfare Gap

After the early summer collapse of the Union Peninsula Campaign offensive to capture Richmond, Robert E. Lee sought to move his army north and threaten Washington DC before Union forces could regroup.  His trusted and highly capable "wing" commanders, Maj. Gen. "Stonewall" Jackson and Lieut. Gen. James Longstreet, brought Lee's army within 35 miles of the Union capital by the end of August. Jackson waited for the arriving Union army near Manassas. Longstreet, trailing Jackson by a day, met the Union d… Read More

14 Sep 1862

Participated in the Battle of South Mountain at Frederick County, Maryland; Washington County, Maryland; Boonsboro, Maryland.

The Battle of South Mountain
The Battle of South Mountain

After his success at Second Manassas, Gen. Robert E. Lee led the Army of Northern Virginia north across the Potomac River on an invasion of Maryland in September of 1862. Lee divided his army, sending a portion of it into western Maryland while Lieut. Gen. Stonewall Jackson's wing attempted to capture the Federal garrison at Harper's Ferry. The bold plan was jeopardized on September 13th when a mislaid copy of Lee's orders revealing the Confederates' plans was given to Union commander Maj. Gen. George B. M… Read More

17 Sep 1862

Assigned to the Regiment led by Captain Benjamin F. Cook, and Major Elisha Burbank.

17 Sep 1862

Assigned to the Brigade led by Brigadier General George L. Hartsuff, and Colonel Richard Coulter.

Brigadier General George L. Hartsuff

Colonel Richard Coulter

17 Sep 1862

Assigned to the Regiment led by Major Elisha Burbank.

17 Sep 1862

Assigned to the Brigade led by Brigadier General George L. Hartsuff.

Brigadier General George L. Hartsuff

17 Sep 1862

Assigned to the Division led by Brigadier General James B. Ricketts.

Brigadier General James B. Ricketts

17 Sep 1862

Participated in the Battle of Antietam at Sharpsburg, Maryland.

The Battle of Antietam
The Battle of Antietam

The Army of the Potomac, under the command of Maj. Gen. George McClellan, mounted a series of powerful assaults against General Robert E. Lee’s forces along Antietam Creek near Sharpsburg, Maryland, on September 17th, 1862. Read More

13 Dec 1862

Participated in the Battle of Fredericksburg at Fredericksburg, Virginia.

The Battle of Fredericksburg
The Battle of Fredericksburg

In early November, Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside took command of the Army of the Potomac, and made immediate plans to move the army once again toward Richmond. Read More

30 Apr 1863

Assigned to the Regiment led by Colonel James L. Bates.

30 Apr 1863

Assigned to the Brigade led by Brigadier General Henry Baxter.

Brigadier General Henry Baxter

30 Apr 1863

Assigned to the Division led by Brigadier General John C. Robinson.

Brigadier General John C. Robinson

30 Apr 1863

Participated in the Battle of Chancellorsville at Spotsylvania County, Virginia.

The Battle of Chancellorsville
The Battle of Chancellorsville

On April 27, 1863, Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker launched a turning movement designed to pry Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia out of its lines at Fredericksburg. Read More

01 Jul 1863

Assigned to the Regiment led by Colonel James L. Bates, undefined Jr., and Lieutenant Colonel David Allen.

Colonel James L. Bates

Jr.

Lieutenant Colonel David Allen

01 Jul 1863

Assigned to the Regiment led by Colonel James L. Bates.

01 Jul 1863

Participated in the Battle of Gettysburg at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

The Battle of Gettysburg
The Battle of Gettysburg

In the summer of 1863, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee launched his second invasion of the Northern states. Lee sought to capitalize on recent Confederate victories and defeat the Union army on Northern soil, which he hoped would force the Lincoln administration to negotiate for peace. Lee also sought to take the war out of the ravaged Virginia farmland and gather supplies for his Army of Northern Virginia. Using the Shenandoah Valley as cover for his army, Lee was pursued first by Union Maj. Gen. Joseph Ho… Read More

05 May 1864

Participated in the Battle of Wilderness at Spotslyvania County, Virginia; Orange County, Virginia.

The Battle of Wilderness
The Battle of Wilderness

The first battle between Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Gen. Robert E. Lee erupted late in the morning of May 5, 1864, as Maj. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren's Union V Corps attacked Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell’s Second Corps on the Orange Turnpike southwest of the old Chancellorsville battlefield. Although Federal infantry managed to break through at several points, the Confederate line held. Fighting shifted to the south as Lt. Gen. A.P. Hill's Third Corps engaged Maj. Gen. Winfield S. Hancock's II Corps and ele… Read More

08 May 1864

Participated in the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House at Spotsylvania County, Virginia.

The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House
The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House

Following the Battle of the Wilderness, Lieut. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant marched the Union army south with the hope of capturing Spotsylvania Court House and preventing Robert E. Lee's army from retreating further. Lee's Confederates, however, managed to get ahead of the Federals and block the road. Fighting began on May 8th, when the Union Fifth Corps under Maj. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren and the Sixth Corps under Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick engaged Confederate Maj. Gen. Richard Anderson's First Corps at Laurel Hi… Read More

15 Jun 1864

Participated in the Battle of Second Petersburg at Petersburg, Virginia.

The Battle of Second Petersburg
The Battle of Second Petersburg

As the Overland Campaign concluded, the strategic goals of Lieut. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant shifted from the defeat of Robert E. Lee's army in the field to eliminating the supply and communication routes to the Confederate capital at Richmond.  The city of Petersburg, 24 miles south of Richmond, was the junction point of five railroads that supplied the entire upper James River region. Grant knew Petersburg was the key to the capture of Richmond and that Lee would be forced to defend it. Marching south fr… Read More

21 Jun 1864

Participated in the Battle of Jerusalem Plank Road at Petersburg, Virginia.

08 Jul 1864

Massachusetts 12th Volunteer Infantry mustered out.

31 Mar 1865

Participated in the Battle of White Oak Road at Dinwiddie Co, VA.

The Battle of White Oak Road
The Battle of White Oak Road

By late March 1865, the battle lines surrounding Petersburg had extended west into Dinwiddie County. Lieut. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant knew his larger army could eventually stretch Gen. Robert E. Lee's Confederates to the breaking point. On March 30th, Lee  shifted reinforcements to meet a Federal movement to turn his right flank along the line, placing Maj. Gen. W.H. Fitzhugh Lee’s cavalry divisions at Five Forks and transferring Maj. Gen. George Pickett’s division from the Bermuda Hundred front to the ex… Read More

Massachusetts, United States of America

Field Officers

Brigadier General George L. Hartsuff

Brigadier General Henry Baxter

Brigadier General James B. Ricketts

Brigadier General John C. Robinson

Colonel Fletcher Webster

Colonel James L. Bates

Colonel Richard Coulter

Captain Benjamin F. Cook

Jr.

Lieutenant Colonel David Allen

Major Elisha Burbank