United States Regiments & Batteries > Massachusetts

“The Webster Regiment”

The 12th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment lost 18 officers and 175 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded and 83 enlisted men to disease during the Civil War. It was named after its first colonel, Fletcher Webster, and in honor of his father, Daniel Webster. The regiment is honored by a monument at Gettysburg. Colonel Webster is honored by a monument on the battlefield of Bull Run.

June 26 Organized at Fort Warren and mustered in under Colonel Fletcher Webster
July 23-27 Moved to Sandy Hook, Md. and attached to George H. Thomas’ Brigade, Dept. of the Shenandoah
August Operations on the Upper Potomac
October Attached to Abercrombie’s Brigade, Banks’ Division, Army of the Potomac
October 21-24 Operations opposite Edward’s Ferry
March Assigned to 2nd Brigade, Williams’ 1st Division, Banks’ 5th Army Corps
March 24 –
April 27
Operations in the Shenandoah Valley
March 27 Strasburg
April 1-2 Edenburg
April 18 Rappahannock Crossing
May Assigned to 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, Dept. of the Rappahannock
June Assigned to 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 3rd Army Corps, Army of Virginia
August 6 Captain James Bates of Company H promoted to major of the 33rd Massachusetts Infantry
August 9
Battle of Cedar Mountain
August 16 –
September 2
Pope’s Campaign in Northern Virginia
August 20-23 Rappahannock Station
August 28 Thoroughfare Gap
August 30
Second Battle of Bull Run

Colonel Webster was killed and Major Elisha Burbank took command of the regiment

September 1
September Assigned to 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 1st Army Corps, Army of the Potomac
September – October Maryland Campaign
September 14
Battle of South Mountain
September 16-17
Battle of Antietam

Major Elisha Burbank commanded the 334 men of the regiment until he was mortally wounded in the Cornfield. The regiment lost 49 killed and 165 wounded. Captain Benjamin F. Cook took command after Major Burbank fell.

From the brigade marker on the Antietam battlefield:

Hartsuff’s Brigade, advancing from the Poffenberger Woods early on the 17th, passed through the northern part of the East Woods and over the open ground west of them, and went into action on a line running northwest and southeast through this point. Early in the movement Gen. Hartsuff was wounded and the command devolved upon Col. Richard Coulter, 11th Pennsylvania Infantry. The left center of the 11th Pennsylvania was at this point with the 12th Massachusetts on the right. On the immediate left of the 11th was the 13 Massachusetts and on its left was the 83rd New York. In this position, supported by two Regiments of Christian’s Brigade, it maintained a sanguinary contest in which it lost half its number, but was compelled to withdraw, being relieved by the advance of Crawford’s Brigade, Twelfth Corps. The Brigade carried into action about 1220 men of whom 82 were killed and 497 wounded. The 12th Massachusetts lost 224 out of 334 engaged.

September 18 – October 30 Duty at Sharpsburg
September 19 Major Bates returned to the regiment from the 33rd Massachusetts Infantry and was promoted to colonel
October 30 – November 19 Movement to Warrenton, thence to Falmouth, Va.,
November Assigned to 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 1st Army Corps
December 12-15
Battle of Fredericksburg
January 20-24 “Mud March”
January 25 –
April 27
At Falmouth and Belle Plain, Va.
April 27-May 6 Chancellorsville Campaign
April 29-May 2 Operations at Pollock’s Mill Creek
April 29-30 Fitzhugh’s Crossing
May 1-5
Battle of Chancellorsville
June 11-July 24 Gettysburg Campaign
July 1-3
Battle of Gettysburg

Commanded by Colonel James L. Bates until he was wounded on July 1. Lieutenant Colonel David Allen, Jr. then took over the regiment.

The regiment fought on July 1 on the northern end of the Fereral line along Oak Ridge. For a time on the afternoon of July 1st the regiment ran out of ammunition and held its position with fixed bayonets alone. This is commemorated on the regiment’s monument with an empty cartridge case and bayonet scabbard.

On July 2 the regiment supported the Second Corps line on Cemetery Ridge, and on July 3 was in Ziegler’s Grove during Pickett’s Charge.

The 12th Massachusetts brought 301 men to the field, losing 5 killed, 52 wounded and 62 missing.

July – October Picket duty on the Rapidan
October 9-22 Bristoe Campaign
November 7-8 Advance to line of the Rappahannock
November 26- December 2
Mine Run Campaign

Commanded by Major Benjamin Cook

February 6-7 Demonstration on the Rapidan
March Assigned to 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 5th Army Corps
May-June Campaign from the Rapidan to the James
May 5-7
Battle of the Wilderness
May 8 Laurel Hill
May Assigned to 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, 5th Army Corps. Colonel Bates commanded the brigade while Major Cook commanded the regiment.
May 8 – 21
Battle of Spotsylvania Court House
May 12 Assault on the Salient
May 23-26
North Anna River
May 23 Jericho Ford
May 26-28 Line of the Pamunkey
May 28-31 Totopotomoy
June 1-12
Cold Harbor
June 1-3 Bethesda Church
June 13 White Oak Swamp
June 16-18 First Assault on Petersburg
June 25 Ordered home for muster out
July 8 Mustered out under Colonel Bates and Lieutenant Colonel Cook