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Verses read at the Twentieth Reunion op the Twelfth Rhode Island Volunteers AT Crescent Park, Aug. By Erastus Rich- ardson 291 PART FIFTH Personal Sketches: Ool. The rebels were falling back from street to street and the men from Michigan and Massachusetts were pursuing. Our position here was just below the railroad bridge crossing the Rappahannock, on what is now called A Street (the street nearest the river) , and running parallel with 'it and along a steep grade known by the townsmen as the "Rocky Hill Road," .a short distance above the old steamboat landing. 62 HISTORY OF THE TWELFTH REGIMENT The supports whicli the order contemplated were not with him, and he found himself across the enemy's line with both flanks unprotected ... Just at nightfall I was in the village, and at that late hour battery upon battery, ambulance upon ambulance, lined the street, hur- rying back to their respective quarters. Nearly all the buildings were of logs,— some of them, put up as storehouses for traders and quartermasters' supplies, were of rough boards evidently not intended for permanent use. The rebel batteries, which till now had kept silent, opened furiously with solid shot and shell, but the troops moved steadily over and took shelter under and along the river bank. 34 HISTORY OF THE TWBM'TH REGIMENT The following morning an issue of three days' rations, the early alignment of our regiment, a movement (by the left front) along Caroline Street, a wheel into and down A Street to the lower end of the town, a halt and alignment along with other regiments of our brigade already in position, waiting and ex- pectant, — all led us to realize that we were here for a purpose not altogether pleasant to contemplate, and that the 13th of December, 1862, would doubtless be an eventful day in our his- tory. He broke the enemy's line; captured many prisoners and col- ors ; crossed the road that ran in the rear of the crest, and estab lished himself at the desired point on the crest ; and had he been able to hold it, our forces would have had free passage to the rear of the enemy's line along the crest. Their brave efforts deserved better suc- cess, which, doubtless, would have attended them had he been well supported. 70 HISTORY OF THE TWELFTH REGIMENT The army commenced its return movement the morning of the 23d, and the highway was thronged with batteries, baggage wag- ons, ambulances, and men moving to their old quarters. Outside this enclosure, upon the east, other barracks had been built. While the Second and Ninth Corps crossed the upper pontoons and were now occupy- ing the city, the First and Sixth corps, under Franklin, had crossed at the lower bridge and were moving int O' position where shelter could be found from the artillery fire of the rebels. The Minnesota lay one and one- half miles below us. RHODE ISLAND VOLUNTEERS 35 Our regiment was massed in Sturgis's division, which was com- posed of two brigades ; General Nagle's containing the Sixth, and Ninth New Hampshire, the Seventh and Twelfth Rhode Island, the Forty-eighth Pennsylvania and the Second Maryland; Gen- eral Ferrero's containing the TWenty-flrst and Thirty-flfth Mas- sachusetts, the Eleventh New Hampshire, the Fifty-first Penn- sylvania and the Fifty-first New York. Judging from her appearance and reputation, when called upon again she doubtless would have been able to give a good account of herself. 231 xn CONTENTS PART FOURTH Reminiscences of Service with the Twelfth Rhode Island Volunteers. This line, the Sec- ond Corps, General Couch on the right, and Willcox's, the Ninth, on the left, extended from the Mary Washington monument, at the upper end of the town, to Deep Run, beyond the lower end, there connecting with Franklin's divisions. infantry was heavily engaged, and Meade assaulted the hill. However, we had faith to think that the enemy would finally be obliged to yield to the irresist- ible force of our army, and patiently waited the appointed time that would bring sorrow, shame, and defeat to the enemy, and crown our arms with victory. The Galena, which will be remembered as taking part in the attack upon Fort Darling, lay in the bay op- posite us. 237 Recollections of Service in the Twelfth Regiment Rhode Island Volunteers. Oscar Lapham 261 Verses Read at the Annual Reunion of the Twelfth Rhode Island Volunteers at Rockx Point^ Aug. By Erastus Richardson 279 The Lamentations of the Chaplain of the Twelfth Rhode Island Volunteers. Directly across the street, distant from us one hundred and fifty feet or thereabouts, and along the river front, the Irish Brigade, so-called, commanded by Gen. It was assigned to French's and Hancock's divisions of the Second Corps, and Sturgis's division of the Ninth, to move across the open fields in the rear of the town and attack the heights. General Han- cock the centre, and General Sturgis the left. Through the interposition of a merciful Providence it was postponed for the time being. In front of us were a few craft whose general appearance be- spoke their calling.Ofurnc U Mniuetaitg Hibratg atljaca, Sfwu fork THE JAMES VERNER SCAIFE COLLECTION CIVIL WAR LITERATURE THE GIFT OF JAMES VERNER SCAIFE CLASS OF 1889 1919 The date shows when this volume was taken. All books most be re- turned at end of college year for inspection and repairs. It is true that the brief term of service of the Twelfth, by comparison with the longer terms of several Rhode Island regiments, may seem small, yet the service it ren- dered during its ten months in the field was high up in the scale of active duty and efficiency with that of the veteran yi PREFACE regiments to which it was attached. He could see the troops gathering in the streets of the city and the dark masses, under Franklin, two miles away to his right moving out past the Ber- nard House, and also Stoneman moving down the Falmouth Hills. One of the smallest divisions of the command (General Meade's) led the attack. On the 15th my comrades and myself interested in our particu- lar house, realizing that we were on the verge of collapse, ad- journed business until such time as we felt better able to con- tinue, as we found, upon encountering the heavy timbers at hand, that we had engaged in very laborious work, the hauling of the logs to our camp, some quarter of a mile or more, reminding us quite forcibly of our experience poling hay across the bog- meadows and marshes of Rhode Island, at home, with thermom- eter ranging from SB'' to l OO"' in the shade, an occupation desig- nated by one of our townsmen as "soul-carting." The 16th, it commenced storming, thus putting a stop to house building operations, but the Elizabeth and Helen having arrived, our boxes and packages from home were soon afterwards brought to camp and distributed among the eager and expectant recipi- ents.
Chaplain Samuel Wheeler Field 303 304 306 307 308 PART SIXTH Roster of the Twelfth Regiment Rhode Island Volun- teers • •••...... It was now half-past four in the afternoon, one of the shortest 30 HISTOEY OF THE TWELFTH REGIMENT days of winter. The rebels had de- layed the crossing through the entire day. Here we remained, and, without shelter, except from the fire of the enemy, and took lodg- ings in and alongside the street. The Sixth Corps, the strongest and one of the most reliable in the army, commanded by Gen. A saying had already obtained among us, that when the Twelfth Rhode Island moved the storm ceased. The following correspondence from the Providence Journal at this time may be of interest to our readers: Twelfth Regiment, E. The village of Newport News was enclosed upon the north and west, by palisade and ditch, to repel attack from the rear.There are no known copyright restrictions in the United States on the use of the text. Indeed, so constantly Tvas it on the march, from one point to another, that it ■came to be familiarly known as " The Trotting Twelfth." The history which the committee has prepared is a com- posite one. French's division was represented by the brigades of Kimball, Anderson and Palmer; Hancock's by the brigades of Zook, Meagher and Caldwell. while taking new position at the rear of the town being observed by the rebels drew their fire, but not until the advance of French's and Han- cock's divisions did we fully realize the situation. The money was raised by the com- pany, and the articles were purchased by J. These were also brought on from Rhode Island by Mr. And a goodly number of the survivors of the Twelfth Regiment now feel that they owe it to the memory of the many who have departed this life, as well as to the honor of the few who still remain, to do likewise. Two roads run up the hill from the town to the west ; the Gordonsville plank road, and the Orange turnpike. Marye's house stands between them upon the hill, a fine brick dwelling with beautiful lawn sloping towards the city. These boats needed no praise, and were particularly expected to speak for themselves.Limited books must be re- turned within the four week limit and not renewed. That it performed its service with the same degree of patience, courage, self- sacrifice, and patriotism which signally characterized that of the other Rhode Island regiments, wi U not be questioned by the impartial critic. Browne, of Glocester, who at the time was a member of Congress from this State, to the office of colonel of the regiment ; and a more upright, conscientious, broad-minded and patriotic leader it would have been very difficult to find. At the foot of the hill he could see his own soldiers shel- tered behind a stone wall along the old telegraph road, which is dug like a canal into the side of the hill. Many of the boxes filled largely with material of a perishable 80 HISTORY OP THE TWELFTH REGIMENT nature requiring prompt delivery, came to the comrades par- tially or entirely ruined, through delay in transit.Students must return all books before leaving town. The Twelfth was a nine-months regiment, but it re- mained in the service for fully ten months. William Sprague was governor of our State when the regiment was formed, and by his superior execu- tive abi Uty and ardent patriotism he caused to be brought together and duly officered and equipped a thousand or more men, who, like the other military organizations from this State, which he had been so instrumental in placing • on a war footing, rendered valiant service in upholding and defending the honor and integrity of the nation. It is true he was not versed in military science, but he was possessed of those qualities of mind and heart which made him a most popu- lar and acceptable commander. James Shaw, Jr., who was an officer of very superior skill and knowledge in military tactics and affairs, the regiment had all of the advantages necessary to a suc- cessful career. It was a sheltered po- sition where their rifles and muskets could sweep the level plain towards the town. My contribution of one-half a barrel of apples from home, came to hand in good condition and received prompt attention.
The other regiments of the brigade before the last planks were laid, rushed down, ran out upon the bridge, dashed up the bank, joined their comrades, and drove the rebels from the streets nearest the river." History furnishes but few records of more daring exploits than this sketch of the Seventh Michigan. In fifteen minutes they cleared the houses in front of them and took more prisoners than their own party numbered. I expect to cross the rest of my command to-morrow. The shells were exploding about us, and he found the regiment already moving down the street and taking position in a less exposed situation. Smith, was not seriously engaged in any attack during the day, as is stated in his report. Burns, of the Ninth Corps, which was under the command of Gen. Friday, the 23d, was the appointed day for picket duty. Burnside, at his own request, be re- lieved from the command of the Army of the Potomac. 78 HISTORY OF THE TWELFTH REGIMENT The camp of the Twelfth Rhode Island was about one-third of a mile from the landing to the northwest. Clarke, drew from beneath his overcoat another most beautiful sword, sash, belt, and equipments, which he presented to Lieut. Such scenes have been of rare occurrence since we left Camp Stevens, but they nevertheless have a very happy effect upon the regiment inspiring confidence in both ofl Scers and men, and thereby promoting the general good of the whole.