Twelth New York Militia Regiment Kepi

Twelth New York Militia Regiment Kepi

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    Dark Blue Chasseur kepi with gold soutache on the crown, front, sides and around the band. Metal "12" badge. Available in three sizes.




    The following is taken from Third Annual Report of the Bureau of Military Statistics of the State of New York, Albany: [The Bureau], (C. Wendell), 1866.


    The Twelfth regiment is in the Second brigade, First division of the State militia organization. It organized in the city of New York, tendered its services through its commanding officer, Colonel Butterfield, immediately on the breaking out of the rebellion, for the defence of the National Capital.

    The friends of the regiment in the city, contributed liberally towards its equipment, raising the sum of $10,000. New uniforms were ordered, but without waiting for their completion, the regiment commenced at once recruiting its ranks ; and although at the inspection in the fall of 1860, it showed but 380 men, so great was the enthusiasm of the citizens and the popularity of the Twelfth, that when it left for the seat of war its numbers had been increased to nearly 1,000.

    On the 19th of, April, 1861, orders were issued from General Headquarters, directing Major-General Sandford to detail the Twelfth for immediate service at Washington, and on Sunday, the 21st, the regiment took its departure from the State. The regiment assembled in Union Square, the regular members and their substitutes wore their old regimental uniform, but the recruits wore their ordinary clothing with military belts and equipment. A supply of muskets had been obtained, and guerrilla like, as the raw recruits looked, there was hardly ever a finer body of men gathered together, and the spectators by their enthusiasm, showed what they expected of them. Great masses of the population turned out to do honor to the departing Militia. It was with difficulty that the regiment made its way through the crowd to the wharf, and was obliged to leave Broadway and turn down a side street into Mercer street, the throng was so great. The regiment left New York in the steamship Baltic for Fortress Monroe. On the voyage, the recruits were drilled into very serviceable shape. It had been intended that the regiment should go up the Potomac, but orders were received from General Butler, then in command at Annapolis, that the Twelfth should proceed to that point. The Twelfth was transfered from the Baltic to the steamer Goatzacoatcos, and the fleet of vessels (containing the different Militia regiments), as they steamed up the Chesapeake, presented a grand appearance. On Friday, the 26th, the regiment landed and started on its march to Junction, where it arrived the next day, after a bivouac in the fields over night; continued their march on Saturday, and in the evening bivouacked in the woods. On Sunday afternoon, took cars for Washington; were there placed in temporary quarters until the 7th of May, when the regiment moved to Camp Anderson, in Franklin Square. About the same time they received from New York their new Chasseur uniform, which was complete and acceptable. A severe course of drilling was immediately commenced, which soon brought the regiment to remarkable state of perfection. Several officers, who had just graduated at the United States Military Academy, were assign-ed as instructors to the different companies, in consequence of the number of recruits, and also drilled the officers in skirmishing.

    Among those who were prominent in performing this duty, worn Lieutenants Upton and Ames, both subsequently promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General, and the latter of whom, (General Ames), was conspicuous for gallantry at Fort Fisher. On the 23d of May, the regiment received marching orders, and on that night crossed the Long Bridge under the direction of General Sandford, and matched into Virginia, being the first regiment to invade the so called "sacred soil" of that State. Established position at Roach's Mills, forming the extreme left of the army. At that period, the regiment mustered present for duty, 829, and on the rolls an aggregate of 981 men, Capt. B. S. Church, of the engineer corps of the regiment, reconnoitered the adjoining country for miles around, on horseback and alone; he was once captured by a party of rebel cavalry, but managed to escape. Subsequently he was detached from the regiment, on special duty, and engaged in company with Lieutenant Snyder, of the U. S. Engineers, in choosing the sites of the extensive fortifications on Arlington Heights, when he as repeatedly fired upon by rebel scouts.
    While at Roach's Mills, the regiment was frequently drilled in skirmishing. The citizens of Washington, however, residing in the vicinity of Franklin Square, were desirous that the Twelfth should be recalled to its old quarters, fearing that some less orderly regiment might be stationed among them. The War Department acceded to their request, and accordingly on the 2d of June, the regiment was marched back across, the Long Bridge, and returned to its former camp in the city.

    The regiment, remained in Washington until the 7th of July, when, ordered to join the army of the Shenandoah, it proceeded by railroad to Baltimore, and thence to Harrisburg and Hagerstown, arriving at the latter place on the evening of the 8th. Left Hagerstown on the 9th, marched to Williamsport, forded the Potomac and marched all night; arriving at Martinsburg, Va., early on the morning of the 10th, having accomplished 80 miles without a pause. Colonel Butterfield, there reported to Major-General Patterson, and was immediately appointed an acting Brigadier-General, his brigade consisting of the Fifth and Twelfth N. Y. S. Militia, and the Nineteenth and Twenty-eighth N. Y. S. volunteers. Lieutenant-Colonel Ward then took command of the Twelfth. While at Martinsburg, a foraging expedition was formed, consisting of three companies of the Twelfth, and three of the Twenty-eighth regiment N. Y. S. V., which was quite successful, and enlivened by a slight skirmish with the rebels, a detachment of whom endeavoured to interfere with the operations, but were dispersed by a volley from company H, commanded by Capt McCormack. This was on Friday the 12th of July. On Monday July 15th, the army advanced to Bunker's Hill; where they were encamped for a day, the Twelfth being stationed near the Sulphur Spring, at a foot known for the time as Camp Patterson.

    On reaching Bunker's Hill, found it occupied by the rebel advance, who retreated in great haste after a slight skirmish, in which a Rhode Island battery threw several shells, killing one and wounding two of the rebel cavalry. On Wednesday, July 17th, left Bunker's Hill and marched to Charlestown, where the regiment encamped, and on Sunday, the 21st of July, marched to Harper's Ferry, and occupied a position on Bolivar Heights, close to the spot where the rebel batteries had been planted by Johnston, who had also fortified the place by building block-houses on Loudon Heights across the Shenandoah. Doubleday's battery was stationed on Bolivar Heights, and took possession of several large guns which had been abandoned by the enemy, when they hastily evacuated Harper's Ferry, as untenable.

    Col. Butterfield tendered the services of the regiment to the Government, till the 2d of August, and the tender was promptly accepted by the War Department. On the 26th of July, four companies of the Twelfth crossed the Shenandoah river in flat-boats, and occupied the block-houses built by the rebels on Lou-don Heights. They remained there until after the evacuation of Harper's Ferry by Gen. Banks, being the last troops, save a Massachusetts company, to leave the Virginia side, and being obliged to wade the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers to rejoin the army. Harper's Ferry was evacuated by the Federal troops on Sunday, July 28, 1861. After leaving Harper's Ferry, the Twelfth was encamped at Knoxville until ordered to New York, on Thursday, August 1st. The regiment arrived in the city about dusk of the next day, and was received with the greatest enthusiasm by the citizens who assembled in crowds in Broadway to extend a cordial welcome to the returning soldiers. The regiment was mustered out of service on Monday, August 5th, in Washington square, by Lieutenant-Colonel Sheppard. Col. Butterfield soon after resigned his commission, having accepted one as Lieutenant-Colonel of the Twelfth U. S. infantry. His connection with the regiment terminated August 27th, 1861. The vacancy caused by Col. B.'s resignation, was not filled until the 25th of October, when Lieutenant- Colonel Ward was elected Colonel of the regiment.

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