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1864 April 9: Sketch of the 12th Wisconsin’s History

April 13, 2014

The following appeared in the April 9, 1864, issue of The Prescott Journal.  Company A of the 12th Wisconsin Infantry consisted of men primarily from Prescott and surrounding areas.

CO. A, 12th REG’T.

A Sketch of its History.

Co. A. 12th, returned here on furlough last Sunday.  This company, it will be remembered, was recruited by Capt McLEOD [Norman McLeod] and Lieut. MAXSON [Orrin T. Maxson], under the name of “Lyon Guards,” and in the character of its personnel was not surpassed by any company which has been recruited in the St. Criox Valley.

Shortly after going into service, Captain McLeod resigned, and the company has since been under command of Capt. O. T. Maxson, whose efficiency and care for his men has made him one of the most popular officers who have come from this State.

This company and the regiment to which it is attached, has done an immense amount of service, as the following record will show :

The company was organized Sept. 1861, mustered into the U. S. service in October, left the State in January 1862, quartered in Weston, Mo. and Leavenworth, Ks., until March 1st when they started for Texas a part of the Jim Lane expedition.  Marched to the Cherokee country, when ordered back to Lawrence, Ks, and ordered to New Mexico.—Marched to Fort Riley when ordered back to the Mo. River, and embarked for Columbus, Ky.  Was engaged in repairing the Mobile and Ohio R. R.  Was mounted by order of Gen. Grant [Ulysses S. Grant] in August and employed in scouting the country from the Tennessee River on the east, to near the Mississippi on [the] west.  Captured during this time, over three hundred horses, about twenty rebel soldiers, including Col. Burrows a Presbyterian clergy man, commanding a rebel regiment.  Upon one occasion, a favorite guide of the Co., Mr Silence (since Maj. Silence) was captured with fourteen of his men thirty miles from Co. A Camp.  The report reached Camp at evening.  At ten P. M. forty of the company started in a heavy rain ;  rode 30 miles by 4 next morning.  Crossed Sharron Ferry, driving in the enemies’ pickets that were posted for the protection of the ferry ;  made them a camp of 100 men of Col. Faulkner’s command [William Wallace Faulkner], brought away two rebels.  Taylor’s, as hostage for Silence, leaving word they sho’d hang it Silence was not returned ;  re-crossed the ferry at sunrise within 100 rods of Faulkner[‘]s camp, and reached Humbolt at 2 P. M., making 70 miles in sixteen hours.  Silence was exchanged for Taylors.  At Lamar, Miss. was attacked by Capt. Clay while being set a videtts.  The company was charged upon Clay’s men who fled into an ambushcade of Kansas Jayhawkers closely pursued by Co. A.  We captured 137 of Clay’s men, wounded 40, and killed 15 ;  Capt. Clay badly wounded.  Made the march to Yackay, in Miss ;  was at Holly Springs at the burning of the same ;  during the winter following was employed in guarding Memphis and Charleston R. R.

In April into Memphis.  April 18th marched 30 miles from Memphis, under Col. Bryant [George E. Bryant] to Hernando to attack Gen. Chalmers [James R. Chalmers].  Skirmished about twenty miles. On reaching the town, found Chalmers in line of battle ;  a warm engagement, lasting about an hour ;  drove the rebels leaving 78 prisoners in our hands besides their killed and wounded.  Next morning followed the rebels ten miles to the Coldwater ;  the stream not passable, and works on opposite bank too strong to pass in absence of pontoons.  Artillery and small arms was used freely from ten A. M. until 4 P. M. we evidently losing more than Chalmers.  We lost several valuable officers during the day.  May 10th, embarked at Memphis for Vicksburgh [sic] ;  was engaged until the surrender, July 4th, in that campaign.—Was marched to Jackson, and engaged in routing Johnson [sic: Joseph E. Johnston] from the locality, returning to Vicksburgh [sic], was sent to Natchez ;  from there went on the expedition that captured Fort Beauregard, on the Trinity River, La. ;  was twice engaged with Wirt Adams’ Cavalry, near Natchez.  Enlisted as veterans in December and January ;  came up to Vicksburgh [sic] ;  started on the Sherman raid ;  was under fire at  Baker’s Creek and received the first rebel officer’s sword surrendered on that expedition.  Was again under fire at Canton ;  marched 31 days on ten days’ rations.  Are now on furlough, which expires April 29th.—Of the original number that left with the Co. 29 are dead, 22 discharged, 47 re-enlisted.

The following are the re-enlistments in the company :

S. E. SEELEY, F. I. VANWARNER,
HARRY LAW, B. I. HUMPHREY,
E. TUBMAN, A. N. OLIN,
A. SANFORD, E. O. CLEVELAND,
G. C. HEMPELL [sic: Hempel], S. C. ROBERTS,
W. A. BURNETT, A. J. WALTZ,
J. H. HOLMAN, W. E. MINER,
A. McKEE, J. T. HEY,
E. D. LEVINGS, ROB’T TRIGGS,
H. W. LEVINGS, J. O. OLSON [sic: Oleson]
L. LAFOR [sic: Lafoe], P. B. JEWELL,
JOHN N. LEASE, WM. HODGES,
N. W. BROOKS, THOS. CARR,
B. [sic: R.] GIBSON, N. W. [sic: N. K.] HAMMER [sic: Hammar],
J. T. CRIPPEN, A. T. [sic: A. F.] OTTMAN,
M. L. HAWLEY, W. KELSEY, since promoted to
J. N. HAGER, 2nd Lt.
FRED GARLT [sic: Garit], J. M. CULLUM,
J. E. ALLEN, J. D. JONES,
R. CASTELLO [sic: Costello], H. BOWERS,
D. L. DRESSER, F. M. BARRETT,
E. BLAISDELL, C. HENNINEGON [sic: Hanningson],
E. C. PIECRCE, ALBERT BARRETT.
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