12th Arkansas Infantry Regiment










The 12th Arkansas Infantry Regiment was raised and organized at Arkadelphia, in Clark county during the summer of 1861 under a commission granted to Edward W. Gantt, the recently-resigned U.S. Representative for the 2nd District of Arkansas. The regiment was deployed east of the Mississippi River and saw its first service in the garrison of Fort Donelson, TN, on the Cumberland River. The regiment was engaged in the battle of Fort Donelson on February 16-18, 1862, and was surrendered with the garrison of that post. While Col. Gantt was confined as a prisoner at Fort Warren, the 12th Arkansas was exchanged and reorganized at Jackson, MS. Col. T.J. Reid, Lt. Col. Ed C. Jordan, Maj John S. Walker, Adjutant W.L. Hemingway, and Quartermaster C.H. Jonas were elected as the regimental officers in this second reorganization. There were too few men to bring the regiment up to effective strength, so the officers were granted leave to return to Arkansas to recruit replacements, while the enlisted men were temporarily attached to the 11th Arkansas under Col. Logan. When the officers returned to the regiment, the added recruits brought the regiment's strength up to approximately 500 men in the ranks. The company officers in this new organization were: Co. A, Cpt. N.W. Stewart; Co.B, Cpt. W.P. Donnell; Co. C, Cpt. H.L.W. Johnson; Co. D, Cpt. W.P. Linzee; Co. E, Cpt. W.F. Glasgow, Co. F, Cpt. J.C. Bowen; Co. G, Cpt. A.E. Doggett; Co. H, Cpt. J.E. Inge; Co. I, Cpt. J. Archer; Co. K, Cpt. J.B. Davis.

Colonel Gantt, upon his exchange, was placed in command of an Arkansas brigade consisting of his old regiment, the 12th Arkansas, and assigned to the garrison of Island No. 10 near New Madrid, MO. On the fall of that strongpoint on April 9, 1862, many of the regiment found themselves again prisoners of war. Two companies managed to escape through the overflowed river to the Tennessee shore, and were attached to the 6th Arkansas Infantry until the 12th was once again exchanged and reorganized. Though the surrender of Island No. 10 was inevitable, there was severe criticism of Colonel Gantt's performance, and he was not offered another command. He felt that his promotion to brigadier general was being held up, and so aggrieved, he left the Confederate army, went North, and made speeches in favor of the Union.

The 12th Arkansas held fast to the Southern cause, even though it still contained many friends and relatives of its old commander. Exchanged and reorganized again at Jackson, MS on October 2, 1862, the regiment was assigned to Beall's Brigade in the District of Mississippi and East Louisiana, where they served in the garrison and defense of Port Hudson, LA, enduring the siege and ultimate surrender of that place in July, 1863. Lt. Col. Jordan was killed by a shell on the ramparts of Port Hudson during this 49-day siege. Adjutant Hemingway, Cpt. H.L.W. Johnson, and many others were killed at Port Hudson as well. Following the surrender of Port Hudson, the noncommissioned officers and the enlisted men were again paroled, but the regiment's officers were sent to prison camp at Johnson's Island. The 12th Arkansas was never reformed after Port Hudson, its soldiers drifting home to re-enlist or be conscripted into other units, its officers in a POW camp.

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