Organized May 1861; Confederate service July, 1861; reorganized May, 1862; consolidated with 22nd Tennessee Infantry Regiment June 16, 1862; field consolidation with 47th Tennessee Infantry Regiment October, 1862; merged into 2nd Consolidated Tennessee Infantry Regiment April 9, 1865; paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina May 2, 1865.
All the companies when mustered into the list below, the used in Confederate letters indicated.
Of the field officers, Colonel Russell and Major Caldwell were not re-elected at the reorganization. Colonel Russell later became colonel of the 20th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment. Colonel Bell became supernumerary after the field consolidation with the 47th Infantry, became colonel of the 12th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment, and later a brigadier general of Confederate Cavalry.
The companies composing the regiment first assembled at Jackson, where the regiment was organized as part of the Provisional Army of Tennessee. The regiment went into camp at Trenton, Tennessee, moved from there to Camp of Instruction at Union City, Tennessee, and was there accepted into Confederate service.
In July, 1861, the regiment was reported at Union City, with 737 men, armed with flintlock muskets. In September, it moved to Columbus, Kentucky, where Colonel Russell commanded a brigade composed of the 12th, 13th and 21st Tennessee Infantry Regiments. From this time forth, the 12th and 13th, with only one exception, were in the same brigade until the end of the war. In October, 1861, Russell's Brigade, of Brigadier General Gideon J. Pillow's Division, consisted of the 12th, 21st, 22nd Tennessee Infantry Regiments. However, on November 7, 1861, at the Battle of Belmont the 13th was back in the brigade, which at this time was composed of the 12th, 13th and 21st Tennessee, and 13th Arkansas Infantry Regiments. Russell's Brigade was on the Missouri side of the river when the battle began, and bore the first shock of the Federal attack.
After the fall of Fort Donelson in February, 1862, Columbus was evacuated and the brigade moved to Corinth, Mississippi. In the Battle of Shiloh, April 6-7, 1862, Russelrs Brigade consisted of the 11th Louisiana, 12th, 13th and 22nd Tennessee Infantry Regiments, and Bankhead's Battery. It was in Brigadier General Charles Clark's Division, and fought on both April 6 and 7
At the reorganization in May, 1862, Lieutenant Colonel Bell was elected colonel, Captain J. N. Wyatt lieutenant colonel and Captain D. A. Outlaw major. The regiment was placed in Brigadier General Bushrod R. Johnson's Brigade, along with the 13th, 22nd, and 47th Tennessee Infantry Regiments, and these four regiments remained in the same brigade from this time forth.
On June 15, Brigadier General Preston Smith was given command of the brigade, and on June 17, 1862 Special Order 69, Headquarters 1st Corps, Army of the West, decreed that the 12th and 22nd Tennessee Infantry Regiments, both being below the minimum requirements, should be consolidated under the name of 12th Tennessee Volunteer Regiment. Colonel Bell became colonel of the consolidated regiment, Colonel L. P. McMurry of the 22nd served as lieutenant colonel, and Lieutenant Colonel J. N. Wyatt, of the 12th, as major.
Shortly before this, on May 15, 1862, Co. "E", the Kentucky Company, was transferred to the 3rd Kentucky Infantry Regiment as Co. "L". The remaining nine companies were consolidated to form the new company organization of the 12th Tennessee Infantry Regiment as follows:
On July 8, 1862, Preston Smith's Brigade was shown as consisting of the 154th, 12th, 13th, and 47th Tennessee Infantry Regiments and Captain Edmondson's Company of Sharpshooters, in Major General B. F. Cheatham's Division. The brigade moved to Tupelo, from there to Chattanooga, where it was detached from the division to join Major General E. Kirby Smith at Knoxville. It went with him on his Kentucky Campaign, and participated in the Battle of Richmond August 30, 1862. In this engagement, the 12th suffered 32 casualties. It rejoined General Bragg and Cheatham's Division at Harrodsburg, Kentucky, and was present but not engaged at the Battle of Perryville.
The brigade retreated with the army to Knoxville, arriving about October 30, 1862. Here the 12th and 47th were consolidated into a field organization which continued till the end, but separate muster rolls were maintained. The 12th was detailed as guard of the baggage train of the 1st Division on the move from Knoxville to Tullahoma.
In the Battle of Murfreesboro, December 31, 1862, the 12th, commanded by Major J. N. Wyatt, suffered 164 casualties out of 322 engaged. The brigade in this battle was composed of the 12th, 13th, 29th, 47th, 154th Tennessee Infantry Regiments, 9th Texas Infantry Regiment, Allin's Sharpshooters, and Scott's Battery, and was commanded by Colonel (later Brigadier General) Alfred J. Vaughan, Jr.
The 12th spent the winter in the vicinity of Shelbyville. April 1, 1863, the composition of the brigade was given as the 11th, l2th/47th, l3th/l54th, and 29th Tennessee Infantry Regiments, plus Scott's Battery. The l2th/47th was commanded by Colonel T. H. Bell of the 12th. These six regiments remained together for the duration; see the history of the 11th Tennessee Infantry Regiment for changes in Brigade organization from this time on.
Late in June, the army began the retreat to Chattanooga; at Chickamauga the 12th/-47th was commanded by Colonel William M. Watkins of the 47th. After Chickamauga, the brigade was transferred to Major General Thomas C. Hindman's Division of Longstreet's Corps, and the 12th moved briefly to Sweetwater, Tennessee, but returned in time for the Battle of Missionary Ridge on November 25, 1863. It then retreated to Dalton, Georgia, where on December 14, 1863, the l2th/47th, commanded by Colonel Watkins, reported 281 effectives out of 373 present. It remained at Dalton, except for a brief expedition to Demopolis and return in February, until the spring campaign began in May, 1864. On February 20, 1864, the brigade was restored to Cheatham's Division and remained there until the end.
It fought throughout the retreat to Atlanta, the return to Tennessee, the Battles of Franklin and Nashville, Tennessee, and the final Battle at Bentonville, North Carolina on March 19, 1865. The 12th/47th was commanded on July 31, 1864 by Captain W. S. Moore, originally of the 22nd; on August 31 by Lieutenant Colonel Josiah N. Wyatt of the 12th; on September 20 by Lieutenant Colonel V. G. Wynne, of the 47th; on December 10 by Colonel William M. Watkins of the 47th.
It finally formed part of the 2nd Consolidated Tennessee Infantry Regiment paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina May 2, 1865. This was composed of the 11th, 12th, 13th, 2~h, 47th, SOth, 51st, 52nd, and 154th Tennessee Infantry Regiments. At the surrender there remained a total of 50 officers and men from the original 12th, 22nd and 47th Tennessee Regiments, with Colonel William M. Watkins as the only field officer remaining out of the three regiments.
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This unit history was extracted from Tennesseans in the Civil War, Vol 1. Copyrighted © 1964 by the “Civil War Centennial Commission of Tennessee” and is published here with their permission.
This history may not be republished for any reason without the written permission of the copyright owner.
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