You conferred upon me at our reunion, held at New Cumberland, in 1889, the honor of selecting me to compile a history of the Twelfth. The matter was taken into consideration afterward by me, and owing in part to the magnitude, burden and difficulty of the proposed task, my inexperience in this kind of undertaking, and because I believed that there were other survivors of the regiment much better qualified to write the history, it was concluded to forego the undertaking. But at our next reunion, because Col. Curtis was disappointed that nothing had been done in the matter of the history, and was anxious that it be written, and for the reason that the comrades present again expressed a desire that I should undertake the work, I promised to attempt it and do the best I could. Laboring under the unavoidable difficulties that it has been thirty years since the old Twelfth was making its history in the field, the almost total lack of official records pertaining exclusively to the regiment, and the uncertainty of memory at this late day, I have tried with reasonable fidelity to fulfill my promise. In reason more should not be expected.
If you, the survivors of the Twelfth, be pleased with the history, this fact will be a sufficient reward for my labors; but, on the other hand, if it shall not come up to your expectations, you should be charitable to its faults and short comings, remembering that however great its imperfections you, yourselves, are largely responsible, for the task was not one of my own seeking, but was rather thrust upon me.
The plan aimed at in writing the history is to not go outside of our own organization in what is related, except to give a brief account of the operations of the various armies to which we belonged, and to intersperse the work with incidents, anecdotes, and matters mainly personal to the members of the regiment.
Whatever possible merit may be found in the history is largely due to the assistance of comrades in furnishing valuable data. Some of them were quite liberal in their contributions. And where there is failure to make mention of incidents worthy of record or of daring deeds of individuals or detachments, it is because they were not known, or are not remembered by the compiler. Reasonable effort was made to get all such details. A card was inserted in various newspapers, and letters were written to different comrades asking that they be furnished. If comrades shall fail to find, as no doubt they shall, a record herein of certain incidents worthy of mention, they will be forbearing toward the historian when they consider that there is a number of such matters herein given that they did not know of or have forgotten.
The comrades will all feel like thanking Mrs. McCaffrey, formerly Mrs. Bengough, wife of the late Lieut. Bengough of the Twelfth, for the vivid and stirring story of the capture, detention and final release of herself and sister-in-law as prisoners by the Rebels, kindly furnished for this history.
Surviving Comrades, this attempted record of the history of the old Twelfth is now submitted to your charitable consideration, and may your days be long, peaceful, pleasant and prosperous.
June 20th, 1892.