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Fri, 07.15.1864

The 12th Regiment, Heavy Artillery U.S. Colored Troops is Formed

*The 12th Regiment Heavy Artillery U.S. Colored Troops was formed on this date in 1864. It was one of 175 regiments of African American men during the American Civil War.

During the war, Kentucky was the last state to accept Black men into their army. In February 1864 400 men wanted to enlist, and Col. Andrew H. Clark began the process. By June of that year, there were 1,500 enlisted colored soldiers. June 13, 1864, restrictions were lifted requiring men to be free or have their owner's written permission to engage in the war; From that point forward anyone that enlisted was freed.

The 12th Regiment Heavy Artillery U.S. Colored Troops was organized at Camp Nelson. Until January 1865 it was attached to the 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, District of Kentucky, Dept. of Ohio. It was then attached to the Military District of Kentucky and Dept. of Kentucky. The regiment was responsible for garrison duty at Bowling Green, Camp Nelson, and other points until April 1866. It mustered out on April 24, 1866.

It was the largest regiment that was organized at Camp Nelson. From June 1864 through April 1865 there were a total of 1,418 men enlisted. In one day, 322 men enlisted. Information about the regiment has been published in Peter Bruner's A Slave's Adventures Toward Freedom and the memoir of Elijah P. Marrs, a sergeant in company L. Camp Nelson that became the third largest recruiting and training center for Black men: More than 10,000 Black men were recruited at Camp Nelson. at Camp Nelson, Kentucky.

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