Silver “WAR OF 1861” identification shield of Joseph S. Wilson, who enlisted in October 1861 as a private in the 12th Michigan Infantry. As part of Peabody’s Brigade of Prentiss’ Division, the men of the 12th Michigan were among the first Union troops to engage the Confederate onslaught on the Morning of April 6, 1862 at Shiloh, and formed part of the defense of the infamous Hornet’s Nest. It was at some point on the 6th that Wilson suffered a gunshot wound to the left arm and was taken prisoner. He was liberated the next day amidst the Union Counterattack. The 12th Michigan lost 27 killed, 54 wounded, and 109 captured or missing during the battle. The regiment went on to see action at Iuka, Vicksburg, and Little Rock. Joseph Wilson was mustered out in February 1866. His identification badge measures 1” wide and retains an uncleaned silver patina and a T-bar attachment pin on the back. The badge is accompanied by numerous copies of muster rolls and enlistment papers. A very fine example from a veteran of the Battle of Shiloh.
Joseph S. Wilson - Residence Lenawee County MI; 18 years old. Enlisted on 10/14/1861 at Adrian, Lenawee Co., MI as a Private. On 12/19/1861 he mustered into “F” Co. MI 12th Infantry. He Re-enlisted on 12/30/1863. He was Mustered Out on 2/15/1866 at Camden, AR. (Re-enlisted at Little Rock, AR). Promotions: Corpl 5/1/1864. Sergt 5/8/1865.
MICHIGAN Twelfth Infantry. (Three Years)
The Twelfth Infantry was organized at Niles by Colonel Francis Quinn of that city, and was mustered into service March 5, 1862, with an enrollment of 1,000 officers and men.
The field, line and staff officers at organization were as follows:
Colonel, Francis Quinn, Niles. Lieutenant Colonel, William H. Graves, Adrian. Major, George Kimmel, Niles. Surgeon, George L. Brunschweiler, Eagle Harbor. Assistant Surgeon, Robert C. Kedzie, Lansing. Adjutant, Charles L. Bissell, Chicago, Illinois. Quartermaster, Fitz H. Stevens, Niles. Chaplain, Andrew J. Eldred, Niles.
A. Captain, Joseph Harper, Cassopolis. First Lieutenant, Charles A. Van Riper, Cassopolis. Second Lieutenant, David M. McLelland, Dowagiac.
B. Captain, Thomas Wallace, St. Joseph. First Lieutenant, Lewis W. Pearl, Benton. Second Lieutenant, Robert B. King, St. Joseph.
C. Captain, John M. Albert, Buchanan. First Lieutenant, William F. Molsberry, Buchanan. Second Lieutenant, Benjamin E. Binns, Buchanan.
D. Captain, Phineas Graves, Albion. First Lieutenant, Joseph McCloy, Jackson. Second Lieutenant, George H. Graves, Albion.
E. Captain, Henry Gephart, Niles. First Lieutenant, Thomas C. Bradley, Three Oaks. Second Lieutenant, Byron B. Rockwell, Niles.
F. Captain, Russell M. Weston, Niles. First Lieutenant, David Reeve, Jackson. Second Lieutenant, Samuel E. Graves, Adrian.
G. Captain, Isaac M. Cravath, Lansing. First Lieutenant, George H. Gassimere, Lansing. Second Lieutenant, Alexander G. Davis, Dearborn.
H. Captain, Gilbert D. Johnson, Lawton. First Lieutenant, Charles E. Harvey, Marshall. Second Lieutenant, Jonathan L Chase, Lawton.
I. Captain, Darius Brown, Berrien. First Lieutenant, John Graham, Berrien. Second Lieutenant, Charles E. Howe, Berrien.
K. Captain, William H. S. Banks, Porter. First Lieutenant, Andrew P. Collins, Niles. Second Lieutenant,
Daniel D. Flanigan, Niles.
The regiment left the state March 18, and proceeded to St. Louis, Mo., where it embarked on steamers for Pittsburg Landing, Tenn. When it arrived it was assigned to Colonel Peabody's brigade, General Prentiss' division, Army of the Tennessee. At the date the Twelfth joined the army commanded by General Grant, the brigades, divisions, and corps were not numbered and organized as they were later in the war.
The regiment, with others newly organized and with no actual field experience, was pushed to the front, and from reports of the commanding officer no adequate precautions or means of defense were taken to guard against a surprise by the enemy. Evidences seemed to multiply that the confederates were in force somewhere in the vicinity, and Lieutenant Colonel Graves obtained permission of the Brigade Commander to send two companies of the Twelfth under Major Powell as an advanced picket. These companies were attacked at daylight and driven back to camp but their stubborn resistance gave some timely notice of the approach of the enemy.
Sunday morning, April 6th the confederate army under General Albert Sidney Johnson delivered a crushing blow upon the Union lines at Pittsburg Landing. The want of organization caused the Union troops to fight by detachments, and the solidity of the Union army was not brought to resist the compact lines of the confederates as a unit force, and the result was disastrous. Prentiss' division fought as heroically as men could fight under such discouraging circumstances, and though swept from their first line by the rush of the enemy, losing large numbers in killed or captured, the division fought desperately until the afternoon when overpowered and exhausted most of it surrendered.
During the battle of Sunday General Johnson was killed and General Beauregard assumed command.
The troops lay upon their arms during the night, and before morning General Buell's army arrived, when the battle was resumed Monday, culminating in driving General Beauregard and his troops from the field. The losses of the Twelfth in this engagement was serious.
The regiment during the rest of the year occupied stations at Bolivar, Tenn., Iuka, Miss., and Metamora, and from November, 1862, to May, 1863, was guarding the Mississippi Central R. R., with headquarters at Middleburg, Tenn.
At this place in December a detachment of the regiment was besieged in a block house which was gallantly defended against an attack by General Van Dorn's forces, estimated 3,000 strong.
Colonel Graves refused to surrender and succeeded after an engagement of two hours and a half in driving off the confederate forces. The command was complimented by General Grant in General Orders for this brilliant work. The regiment was ordered to Vicksburg, Miss., in June, 1863, where it took post at Haynes' Bluff and remained until the fall of Vicksburg.
In July, 1863, the Twelfth comprised a part of the force under General Steele, when he invested Little Rock, Ark. At this point the regiment veteranized, 334 re-enlisting, and in January, 1864, started for Michigan on veteran furlough. After the expiration of the 30 days' furlough, the Twelfth reassembled at Niles and returned to Little Rock, Ark., where it arrived April 1. The regiment was engaged in long marches and frequent skirmishes with the enemy, and in doing picket and guard duty until October, when it arrived at De Valls's Bluff, Ark.
The regiment was then separated into detachments, the different companies occupying posts wherever their services were needed until January, 1866, when the detachments were ordered to assemble at Camden, where the regiment was mustered out of service February 15, 1866.
The Twelfth started at once for Michigan, and arrived at Jackson, the 27th, and was paid off and disbanded the 6th of March.
The 12th was engaged with the enemy at Pittsburg Landing, Tenn., April 6, 7, 1862; Iuka, Miss., September 19, 1862; Metamora, Tenn., October 5, 1862; Middleburg, Tenn., December 24, 1862; Mechanicsville, Miss., June 4, 1863; siege of Vicksburg, Miss., June and July, 1863; siege of Little Rock, Ark., August and September, 1863; Clarendon, Ark., June 26, 1864; Gregory's Landing, September 4, 1864.
Killed in action.............................................29
Died of wounds...............................................26
Died in confederate prisons..................................17
Died of disease.............................................316
Discharged for disability (wounds and disease)..............221
Comes housed in an 8 x 12 inch display case with blue velvet backing and descriptive card.
Inventory Number: IDE 194 / SOLD