12th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment

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12th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry
Fletcher Webster memorial.jpg
Memorial on the Manassas National Battlefield Park to Colonel Fletcher Webster, original commander of the 12th Massachusetts Infantry
ActiveJune 14, 1861–July 8, 1864
Country United States of America
BranchUnion Army
Part ofIn 1863: 2nd Brigade (Baxter's), 2nd Division (Robinson's), I Corps, Army of the Potomac
Nickname(s)"Webster Regiment"
Colonel Fletcher Webster
Colonel (later Brigadier General) James L. Bates
I Corps badge (2nd Division)Icorpsbadge2.png
Massachusetts U.S. Volunteer Infantry Regiments 1861-1865
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11th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment 13th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment

The 12th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry was an infantry regiment in the Union army during the American Civil War. It was formed on June 14, 1861, in Boston, Massachusetts. Its original commander was Colonel Fletcher Webster, son of the famed U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, Daniel Webster. The unit was known as the "Webster Regiment" after its first colonel.[1]

Organization and early duty[edit]

Col. Webster began recruiting in April 1861 shortly after the attack on Fort Sumter. At that time, most recruits in Massachusetts were used to fill up the ranks in the existing state militia regiments, therefore it was several weeks before Webster had managed to recruit a full regiment. The unit was trained at Fort Warren in Boston harbor.[1] On July 19, 1861, the regiment was reviewed by Governor John Albion Andrew on Boston Common and presented with its colors. On July 23, the 12th Massachusetts departed Boston for the war front.[2]

The regimental surgeon was Jedediah Hyde Baxter, son of Congressman Portus Baxter. J. H. Baxter later served as Surgeon General of the United States Army.[3]

The regiment was first assigned to the Army of the Shenandoah under the command of Major General Nathaniel P. Banks. Until the spring of 1862, the regiment was employed in uneventful picket duty in the vicinity of Frederick, Maryland.[4] In late February, the 12th Massachusetts, as part of Brigadier General John Abercrombie's brigade, moved into Virginia. On April 18, 1862, while on picket duty along the Rappahannock River the men of the 12th Massachusetts exchanged sporadic fire with Confederates on the other side of the river. This was the first time the unit was engaged in hostile fire.[4]

At the Battle of Antietam, the regiment lost 67% of its strength, or 224 of 334 men. It was the highest percentage casualty rate of any Union regiment in the battle.[5]

Notable members[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Bowen, 219.
  2. ^ Bowen, 220.
  3. ^ University of Vermont Alumni Association, University of Vermont Obituary Record, Volume 1, 1895, page 121
  4. ^ a b Bowen, 222.
  5. ^ "The Dead of Antietam". 24 September 2012.


External links[edit]