Written by Ned Lodwick, US Grant Homestead Assoc. Georgetown, OH
The 12th Ohio fights A.P. Hill’s Confederate Division at Antietam, Maryland on September 17, 1862.
On April 23, only days after President Lincoln asks for 75,000 volunteers to serve ninety days to crush the rebellion, a hundred men from Ripley under the command of Captain Jacob Ammen and 100 men from Georgetown under the command of Dr. Carr B. White march out of Brown County to train at Camp Dennison near Milford, Ohio. The men carry the US Flag that was carried in the Mexican War by Gen. Hamer’s Regiment.
They are only in camp until July 6th, then they head for the Kanawha Valley of West Virginia. On July 17th they fight in their first battle at Scary Creek, a Union victory. They remained in West Virginia and on September 10th played a major role in the Union victory at Carnifax Ferry. During the winter of 1861 they were involved in numerous skirmishes with “bushwhackers” through out the state.
The 12th was transferred to the Army of the Potomac in the late summer of 1862. By this time they were under the command of Colonel (Dr.) Carr B. White. They were sent west on the Orange & Alexandria Railroad from Washington to reinforce Gen. Pope’s force at Manassas Junction, Virginia on August 27, 1862. As they neared the bridge crossing Bull Run the train stopped and they were told to get of and defend the bridge from a fast advancing Confederate force. They and the 11th Ohio (together 800 men) would hold off A.P. Hill’s entire division (3,000 men) for more than three hours. The 12th lost 120 men but held the bridge until confederates crossed the stream above the bridge and forced the 12th to retire.
On the 14th of September 1862 the 12th was engaged in the Battle of South Mountain, Maryland and made three separate bayonet charges, capturing three confederate battle flags and over 200 prisoners. The following day they were involved in the Battle of Antietam where they again fought their old “friends”, A.P. Hill’s division. The 12th formed a line behind a stone wall on the Union’s left flank and once again held off Hill. In the two days they had 150 casualties.
The following month the 12th was ordered back to West Virginia were they served for the rest of the war. They were involved there in numerous campaigns and fights, most notably the Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain, May 9th 1864, during a raid on the railroad bridge over the New River north of Wytheville, Virginia. Many veterans of the 12th said the heaviest fighting they saw during the war was at Cloyd’s Mountain. The fighting raged for over an hour before the Union prevailed but the 12th lost 11 men killed and 68 wounded. In addition, Surgeon Neil F. Graham and19 men left to care for the wounded were captured.
By July 1864 the fighting strength of the 12th was so low it was mustered out of service on July 11th. The men were reassigned to the 23rd Ohio and finished the war with Gen. Sheridan’s Army in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. They fought in Union victories at Opequan, Fisher’s Hill, and Cedar Creek.
During the war the 12th traveled 4,049 miles by foot, boat, and train. Of the roster of 1,000 men they lost 455 men killed, wounded, or missing.
For more information: www.ohiocivilwar.com