The 12TH OHIO VOLUNTEER CAVALRY, 1863-65, was a CIVIL WAR regiment organized at Camp Cleveland (see CIVIL WAR CAMPS IN CLEVELAND) and mustered into federal service on 24 Nov. 1863. From Dec. 1863-Feb. 1864, the 12th was on duty at Camp Chase in Columbus, OH. Half of the regiment was on detached duty at Johnson's Island near Sandusky, OH, during that period. In Feb.-Mar. 1864, the 12th was on duty at Camp Dennison near Cincinnati, OH. Seventy-five Clevelanders served in the regiment. 

The 12th Cavalry participated in the opposition to John Hunt Morgan's invasion of Kentucky, and the Southwest Virginia Expedition. It also participated in Stoneman's raids into southwest Virginia. The 12th was mustered out on 14 Nov. 1865 in Nashville, TN, and its members discharged and paid off at Camp Chase shortly thereafter. The regiment lost 50 enlisted men to hostile causes and 112 to disease.

The regiment contained a number of notable members. Merriman Colbert Harris, a corporal in Co. H, was elected as Missionary Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1904. He served faithfully in Korea and Japan, where the Emperor twice awarded him the Order of the Sacred Treasure. William Allen Magee of Co. M served as bugler for the regiment, and lived until January 23, 1953. He joined the regiment at 16, though he listed his age as 18. This made him the third-last surviving Union veteran of the war. 

In addition, one of the 12th’s horses, Frank, became something of a local celebrity after his rider, Abe Conger, saddler of Co. A, took him home after mustering out. The horse attended veteran reunions, and it was said he “pricked up his ears when he heard martial music. When turned loose he would trot up and stand under the flag.” After the horse’s death in Sept. 1886, an obituary was published in the Bucyrus Journal, and a stone monument was erected at his burial place, bearing the inscription: “Frank The War Horse … From Atl. to the Sea.”


Unit Assignments:

2d Brigade, 5th Div., 23d Army Corps, Dist. of Kentucky Apr. - July 1864
4th Brigade, 1st Div., Dist. of Kentucky, Dept. of the Ohio July 1864 - Feb. 1865
Cavalry Brigade, Dist. of East Tennessee July - Nov. 1865


Updated by Meghan Schill

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