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     March to Clarksburg - Marches and Operations in West Virginia in the Fall of '62 - Incidents.

     (18) The Regiment did not remain long in Camp Willey. On the day after its completed organization it was ordered to Clarksburg, W. Va., which place was then threatened by a force under the Rebel General, Jenkins, who was then on a raid through West Virginia. Clarksburg is an old town, the county seat of Harrison County, situated on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, and distant by rail 122 miles from Wheeling. Clarksburg will be remembered by the great abundance, in its vicinity, of blackberries during the early fall of that year. They were so plentiful that there seemed to be enough for the Twelfth and the citizens of the town, too.
     (19) The regiment arrived by rail at Clarksburg September 2nd, and on that day a detachment of four companies under command of Lieut. Col. R. S. Northcott was ordered to Beverly, the county seat of Randolph County, lying in a southeast direction, and distant from Clarksburg 60 miles. The detachment arrived at Beverly September 5th. This place is a small town situated on the Tygarts Valley branch of the Monongahela River, at the western base of Cheat Mountain.
     (20) The remaining six companies under command of Col. John B. Klunk were ordered September 4th to Buckhannon, W. Va., county seat of Upshur County, distant 28 miles. Buckhannon is pleasantly situated in apparently a good country.
     (21) The detachment under command of Col. Northcott marched from Beverly September 13th for Webster, Taylor County, distant 42 miles, arriving at the latter place the 15th. On this march the detachment was followed by slaves, some half dozen, who were striking for freedom, saying that they had run away because their master had threatened to sell them. They seemed to attach themselves to Capt. Brown's Company (I), and appeared inclined to remain with it during the stay at Webster. One or two of these slaves were nearly white, and some of the boys inclining to talk to and hang around them, Capt. Brown concluded to get rid of them; so in a few days two of the boys going to Grafton, a few miles distant, he sent them with the boys.
     (22) When the boys got to Grafton, a train of Ohio soldiers was about to start for Wheeling. One of the boys informed the colonel of the presence of the slaves and their story, and asked him if he would take them aboard of the train. He refused peremptorily. It looked blue for getting them off in that way. However, the Twelfth boys in passing to rear of the train - a long freight - caught sight of, as it appeared, some of the non-commissioned staff in the rear car. They were told what was wanted. One of them having an eye to the main chance, wanted to know how much money would be given to take the "darks" on board. In a few moments some money was paid, the Twelfth boys contributing in part, and quickly and slyly the fugitives were hustled aboard; and a little later the train was off. They were never heard of afterwards. It is to be hoped, however, that the sweets of freedom were not a disappointment to them.
     (23) The detachment left Webster on the 22nd and marched to Clarksburg, distant 18 miles, arriving there the same day. It remained at this place until October 1st, when it marched to Buckhannon, rejoining the other companies there. There was considerable rejoicing when the boys all got together again. In fact, the detachment met on its arrival with quite an ovation, the band coming out to greet it with stirring martial airs.
     (24) The regiment remained at Buckhannon, doing guard and picket duty, and drilling until the 19th. It was at this place that a drill-master appeared, and he put the regiment through quite a course of drilling, having it out every day practicing, while he staid. Among the other exercises, he practiced the regiment considerably on forming a correct equipment. He would place the Sergeants, two from each company, in a line, say ten steps in advance of the regiment; the Colonel or the Major would then march the men forward to the line of the Sergeants; and when a particularly good alignment was made in this way, the drill-master was in the habit of remarking, to the amusement of the boys, "I say, Colonel," or "I say, Major, that is a capital line."
     (25) It is remembered that more than half of the companies, while having company drill at this time and place, would, on moving by different flanks on the march, in marching to the rear, have the order of the men reversed, so that No. 1 was on the place of No. 2, and vice versa. But it was never observed that this circumstance in any way interfered with the efficiency with which the boys afterward moved upon the enemy, or in case of an emergency, with the celerity with which they could "limber to the rear," as one boy expressed it. A little story, as "Father Abraham" would have said, relating to a later period of the war, will perhaps be not impertinent in this place.
     (26) We were in the Valley under Gen. Sheridan. The Twelfth and Fourth West Virginia Infantry, under command of Lieut. Col. Northcott, had been to Martinsburg, and was returning to the camp at Cedar Creek, on a four-days' round trip. The Battle of Cedar Creek was fought while we were on the return. It is a matter of history that the Army of West Virginia, or the Eighth Corps, was surprised in that battle. It was attacked before daylight, its works carried, and it put to rout almost before it knew it. The men not captured "fled to the rear, as the only thing they could do." In order to the better appreciation of the story, it may be well to say that Gen. Sheridan had employed this corps, doubtless on account of its celerity of movement, to flank the enemy at both the Battle of Opequon and the Battle of Fisher's. Hill. The Twelfth and Fourth reached the camp at Cedar Creek with a supply train on the forenoon after the battle. It should have been said that these two regiments belonged to the Eighth Corps. just as they were getting into camp, while passing some of the Sixth Corps, one of the latter yelled out, seemingly in allusion to the formers flanking movements, and its rout at Cedar Creek, "There goes some of that d----d Eighth Corps. They are always running one way or the other!"
     (27) On the 19th six companies under command of Col. Klunk marched to Beverly, and November 1st they were rejoined there by the other four companies. At this period of our service we had Sibley tents, which were circular in form, having a center pole, and a hole at the top of the center of the tent. They were capable of holding about sixteen men. We had tin-plates, tin- cups, knives and forks, one of each for each soldier, and a camp-kettle for, say each mess of ten or fifteen men. We had also a mess-box, in which to pack the plates, etc., for transportation. When in camp during pleasant weather the boys would eat in the open air on tables erected for that purpose. In fact, there was considerable style put on in the outset of the regiment's service. It took time to pack mess-boxes, strike tents and get ready to march. It took six wagons to carry the camp equipage. A large army having a proportionate number of wagons would have had enough to seriously embarass it, and it might be, to whip it, in an engagement. Later in the war, the last year or more, the camp equipage for the men was reduced to a piece of shelter-tent and a tin-cup. This was a deprivation, but it had its advantages, for the men did not have to wait on the wagons, as they had to do sometimes when the camp equipage was hauled; but they could pitch their tents and make their coffee whenever and wherever they stopped, for they carried their tents and tin-cups in which to make their coffee.
     (28)At the time of this second march to Beverly, the regiment was pretty nearly full, not having been reduced by sickness or otherwise, there being not far from 800 men present for duty, and it made rather a formidable showing on the route. The imperssion that it made at that time upon a private soldier, as to its formidableness, may be here spoken of. "I used to think," said he later in the war, when he had had more experience, "that when I would take a survey of our regiment on the march, from some point on the route, we were not likely to meet any enemy that could withstand us." This shows that he, like thousands of others, who were under a mistake in a less degree as to the magnitude of the Rebellion, had a ridiculously inadequate idea of the numerical strength of the enemy, or of the vastness of the force necessary to overcome it, there being, if not just then, not long afterward, the equal of more than a thousand such regiments required to achieve that purpose.
     (29) On our way to Beverly we passed over the battlefield of Rich Mountain, the first view we had of the sad havoc of war. Quite a number of Union and Rebel dead were buried here at the side of the road. It was said that when our forces drove the enemy from this position they found a trench dug at the side of the road over which this inscription was placed: "TO HOLD DEAD YANKEES." But the trench was utilized by filling it with dead Johnnys, about sixty of whom were buried here. A few of our men belonging to Ohio and Indiana regiments were buried in the corner of a garden nearby. The surrounding trees gave evidence of the struggle at this place.
     (30) The regiment as a whole remained at Beverly only a few days. The stay at this place of the six companies first there was over two weeks. The Eighty-seventh Pennsylvania-Infantry and the Ninth West Virginia Infantry were there with us at the same time. The Eighty-seventh and the Twelfth were camped near together, a short distance north of the town on the bank of the Tygart's Valley River. Col. Hay of the Eighty-seventh was a very pleasant man, and a good tactician; and while we were here used to drill the Twelfth; and a friendship sprang up between his boys and ours that was strengthened and never lost by after association in the same brigade or division.
     (31) While we were at this town an unfortunate occurrence took place. A detail of the Ninth West Virginia was on guard in the town with orders to not allow any soldiers enter it without a pass. Some of the Eighty-seventh boys undertook to force past the guards, when one of the former was shot, it is not remembered whether fatally or not. When the news of the shooting came to camp there was a great commotion, like that of a disturbed hive of bees, in the camp of the Eighty-seventh. The boys went rushing to their tents, many of them from the river where they were washing clothes, to get their guns to avenge the shooting of their comrade. The aspect of things looked quite threatening for awhile. Finally, however, the officers of the regiment managed to quiet the men down, and further trouble was prevented.
     (32) Sergeant Thomas J. Orr of Company D thus relates a couple of incidents of our stay at Beverly:
     (33) Provisions being a little short, our larders were sometimes replenished from surrounding flocks and herds. An effort in this direction came near being attended with serious consequences. Jake McCormick of Company K concluded that bull-beef was a great deal better than no beef; so he and a chosen comrade or two walked deliberately down to the river, where a herd of cattle was quietly grazing, and selecting the patriarch of the herd, proceeded to extreme measures by shooting him to death, after which they dispossessed him of his hide, quartered and divided him among their hungry chums. Shortly an order was issued for Jake's arrest, but as the whole regiment was particeps criminis, the authorities concluded that it was too big a contract, and Jake escaped punishment, and went his way rejoicing.
     (34) On another occasion a fine flock of sheep was reported a mile or two down the river. A squad from Company D concluded to sample the mutton of that part of the country. Selecting a fine moonlight night, and led on by Tegard and King, who located the flock, they soon arrived at the objective point. But here a difficulty arose that they had not anticipated. How would they get the sheep captured? For they were wild as deer. After thinking the matter over and discarding many proposed plans, King, who stuttered, said: "B-b-b-boys, I have it. Tegard and I will go down to the lower end of the field, make a gap in the fence, and the rest of you drive the sheep through. Tegard and I will lie down just inside the gap and catch our sheep as they go through." This being a feasible plan, the boys proceeded to carry it into execution. Tegard and King laid down the fence and laid themselves down just inside, to await coming events, or rather the coming of the sheep. They had not long to wait; the sheep, frightened by the other boys, made a drive for the gap in the fence, the largest and strongest, of course in the van. Now here was where the fun commenced. King was greedy and concluded that one would not be quite enough for him; so he grabbed two of the first that came through by the legs. Being large and strong, they dragged him a short distance from the fence, where the rest of the flock would light on him as they jumped through the gap. King held on to the mutton, but he was a sorry looking King when he got straightened up. And an inventory being taken of him, it stood something like this:

G. W. King+two sheep.
G. W. King+two black eyes.
G. W. King+countenance demoralized generally.
G. W. King-cap, coat and half his pants.
     (35) After dressing three sheep the boys returned to camp in safety. But it was fun to hear King tell the boys the next day in his stuttering way how be got his black eyes.
     (36) If there was anything a soldier would stake his all on, it was on something good to eat; and this further remark is ventured while on this subject: that there were members of the regiment who contented themselves with Government rations, but if any article of food was placed before them not found in "Uncle Sam's" bill of fare, they ate what was put before them asking no questions for conscience's sake.
     (37) The circumstance of the killing of the bull is well remembered, and it is not forgotten that the officers of the Twelfth, accompanied by the owner of the bull, went through the camp pretending to search the tents for that bull-beef, all the while trying to assume a serious face; but at the same time betraying in their countenances a manifest consciousness that the whole proceeding was a glaring farce. They did not want very much to find any part of the remains of the defunct bull. In fact, the whole performance gave the impression that it was a vigorous attempt at "how not to do it" and that the undertaking was succeeding admirably.
     (38) Our stay at Beverly now came to a close. On November 5th three companies, F, D and I, with a detachment of the Ringold Cavalry, a battalion of Pennsylvania troops under command of Major Pierpoint of the Twelfth, were ordered on a scout through Pocahontas and Bath Counties, by way of Elkwater and Huntersville, to Monterey, the county seat of Highland County, W. Va., where they joined the other companies of the regiment, they, the latter, having started from Beverly one day late, and marched a different route, through Pocahontas and Pendleton Counties, under command of Col. Klunk arriving at Monterey on the 9th.
     (39) As there is no data at hand regarding events or incidents in connection with the seven companies, on this expedition to Monterey, the account given will relate exclusively to the three companies under command of Major Pierpoint.
     (40) On this scout the detachments of the three companies and the small cavalry force, traversed a section of country where Yankees had not been seen before. The opportunities for foraging here were good, and the boys improved them. One day an incident occurred that gave an intimation of the licentiousness and hardships of war. A citizen was met in the road. He wore a fur overcoat made of coonskin, and one of the cavalry men made him take it off and surrender it to him. The citizen passed on minus his overcoat, and in a predicament that should have enabled him to realize, in some measure, the beauties of secession.
     (41) Camp was made one night at a place called Mingo Plats. While here a laughable affair occurred, for the relating of which as follows Sergeant Orr is drawn upon once more:
     (42) There was not house room for all the command, so Company F and part of each of the other two companies, D and I, went into a meadow where there was a bunch of hay stacks. The men took the fence from around the stacks, and built square pens four or five rails high, leaving the side next the fire open. Then filling the pen up with hay they placed rails over the top, and covered all with hay, making excellent quarters for ten or a dozen boys.
     (43) Capt. Prichard of Company F, and Lieut. Melvin of Company I, were both with this squad. The former was very much opposed to foraging; while the latter didn't care whether school kept or not, so they didn't bother him too much, and he got enough to eat. There was also in this squad a character of Company I we called "Nosey." Now it happened that there was a drove of calves in the meadow. And after we bad our quarters prepared and fires built, some of the boys were peering around to see if there was anything in view appropriable. Among the number was "Nosey," who spied the drove of calves. Visions of fresh veal at once began to dance through his brain. With "Nosey" to think was to act. He made at once for the calves, selected his veal, grabbed it by the tail, and then the circus began. The calf was large and strong, but "Nosey" bad a splendid hold. The calf broke for the fires at a 2:40 gait, "Nosey" keeping on his feet as best he could. Capt. Prichard, hearing the racket, drew his "cheese-knife," and ran out to intercept the culprit, whoever he might be. The first thing he saw was "Nosey" and his calf coming at full speed, whom he gratted with "Hold on, there! Hold on there!" "Nosey" replied: "I will, by ---." Just then a member of Company D, catching on, snatched an ax and relieved the breathless "Nosey" by tapping the calf gently on the head. We had veal for supper.
     (44) On the second day out we passed over the Elkwater battlefield, where the Rebel Col. John A. Washington was killed. At Huntersville we surprised a number of Johnnys, who were sleeping off heavy potations of apple-jack, and took them along as prisoners, passing, on our way, up Knap's Creek Valley in Pocahontas County, a section of country of rich farm land, abounding in fine cattle and horses. It was a fine and amusing sight to see Acting Quarter Master Lieut. Bradley of Company I sailing over the broad meadows on horseback, endeavoring to capture the splendid horses grazing on the luxuriant pastures there. Some of the horses were too fleet to be captured, and maintained their freedom.
     (45) The boys fared well on this raid, getting milk, honey, apples, etc., in abundance. The apples were buried in holes, as is frequently done with potatoes. And it was a laughable sight to see the boys fairly tumbling over each other, and almost standing on their heads, as they dived into the apple holes, trying to not get left in their attempts at getting a fair share of the apples.
     (46) Sergeant Orr has the floor once more for the narration of an incident said to have occurred here, for the truth of which, however, he does not vouch. He tells it thus:
     (47)"Two men of the expedition went into a house to get something to eat. It happened that the male folks were all away from home, as was generally the case in that section when the Yanks were about, leaving only two single ladies of uncertain age in charge of the premises. When out two Yanks made their appearance, the two ladies became frantic with terror; and holding up their hands exclaimed, 'Take our money, take everything we have, but do not harm us personally'! 'You personally he damned,' said the Yanks, 'have you any corn-bread?' That soothed them."
     (48) On this raid of the three companies we captured 60 head of horses and mules, 300 head of cattle, 41 prisoners and a wagon load of fine butter on its way to Staunton, Va. The owner of the butter was sent to Camp Chase. Where the bulk of the butter went is not known, but the boys made use of some of it.
     (49) We arrived at Monterey on the night of the 9th, rejoining here the other seven companies, as before stated, which had accompanied an expedition under command of Gen. R. H. Milroy, to this point. The regiment remained here but one day, when we started on our return, by way of Crab Bottom, resting one day there in the old Rebel winter quarters. We resumed our march on the morning of the 13th, by way of Franklin, the county seat of Pendleton County; thence by way of Circleville and Hunting Ground Mountain, back to Tygart's Valley River, five miles below Beverly, our starting point.
     (50) A sad accident occurred while crossing the mountain. A member of the Eighty-seventh Pennsylvania, who was along with the expedition, was accidentally shot by a comrade. His comrades attempted to carry him, but they could not do so, and they were compelled to bury him on the lonely mountain, using their bayonets to dig his grave.
     (51) Leaving our camp below Beverly, we marched to Webster, on the Parkersburg branch of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, where we arrived on the 18th, marching a-distance of 238 miles in fourteen days during the most inclement season of the year, fording mountain streams, swollen by melting snow and rain, many of the men barefooted, and the roads half knee-deep with mud. It is not to be wondered at that many of the men succumbed to this severe ordeal, and were candidates for the hospital on our arrival at Webster.
     (52) One more incident of this raid will perhaps bear relating. Some of the boys took the measles on the route. On the return to Beverly a sergeant was sent in charge of an ambulance containing four sick boys, something in advance of the regiment, and over a different route, it is believed, from that taken by it. One evening, the second out, perhaps, after ascending and descending Cheat Mountain, the driver halted the ambulance just at its base on the west side, where there was a hotel.
     (53) Now it happened that Gen. Milroy and his Adjutant General, Capt. McDonald, if his name is not mistaken, were going to put up at that hotel. The boys being quite sick, the Sergeant spoke to the landlord to procure beds for them. He seemed reluctant to comply with the request, and perhaps, to baffle the Sergeant, he told him to see Capt. McDonald about the matter, saying it would be just as the Captain said.
     (54) It often is the case that a man holding an inferior rank or position assumes an air of more importance, and more of "the insolence of office," than do his superiors. This Captain was no exception to this rule. In fact, he was a specimen of the type of fellows represented by the fellow who was "a bigger [sic] man than old Grant." So when the Sergeant spoke to him regarding the getting of the beds, he put on a forbidding and repellant air and said sarcastically that "he was not quarter-master." The Sergeant replied with somewhat of offended dignity that he would not have come to him at all, only that the landlord had referred him, the Sergeant, to him, the Captain.
     (55) Here Gen. Milroy spoke up in a courteous and considerate manner, quite in contrast with that of the Captain, saying "We do not assume to have the disposition of the landlord's beds; they are entirely at his own disposal. As for myself, I can sleep on the floor." The Sergeant, being thus left to his own resources, secured those beds for the sick boys.
     (56) The regiment left Webster on the 19th, going over the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad to New Creek, in Hampshire County, West Virginia, distance 89 miles, arriving there the same day. There were other troops besides the Twelfth. One of the regiments of these was the Twenty-third Illinois Infantry, Col. Mulligan's regiment. This command was made up almost if not entirely of men of Irish birth, Mulligan himself being of that nationality. He was a fine, tall, erect man, with a military air, and a general mien and bearing that would attract attention anywhere. For this reason, and because of his national reputation, no doubt, and, it may be, the circumstance that he wore a green shirt, he attracted considerable attention from our boys.
     (57) As the weather was now pretty cold, and severe winter was approaching; and as we had established a camp here with regularly-laid-out streets, it looked as though we might winter here. But we staid here only three weeks. On the 11th of December our regiment marched by way of Burlington and Petersburg to Moorefield, the county seat of Hardy County.
     (58) On the march to this place Lieut. Col. Northcott, stopping at a house on the way between Petersburg and Moorefield and getting thus behind the command, was taken prisoner by a Rebel scout. One of our scouts, however, followed the Rebel and his prisoner, and recaptured the Colonel, after, it was said, a severe hand-to-hand fight, in which each scout surrendered alternately, the Union scout coming out final victor.