12th USCHA

Organized at Camp Nelson, Ky., July 15, 1864. Attached to 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, District of Kentucky, Dept. of the Ohio, to January, 1865. Military District of Kentucky and Dept. of Kentucky, to April, 1866.

SERVICE: Garrison duty in District of Kentucky, at Bowling Green, Camp Nedson and other points till April, 1866. Mustered out April 24, 1866.

Only two men with ties to Williamson County have been identified as serving in this regiment. 

Pvt. Clayborn Parear (Puryear) was born in Williamson County around 1845. On September 6, 1864 he enlisted into Company M of the 12th US Colored Heavy Artillery at Camp Nelson, Kentucky. He survived the war and settled in Louisville, Kentucky where he married and received a pension for his service. He died at the age of 72 years old and his remains are buried in the Cave Hill National Cemetery in Louisville.

Cpl. Lewis W. Reese was born in Brentwood, TN. He was about 14 years old when the Civil War began and US Army soldiers came to Middle Tennessee. According to several records, he became the servant for a white officer,  Major Alexander Duncan of the 24th Ohio. The teenager cooked for Arnold and cared for his horse.  Arnold was wounded at Shiloh and returned to Ohio to recuperate. It appears that he brought Reese to Ohio with him and left him with a German family to work in their tannery. Reese learned to read and write English and speak German during this time. When he was 18 years old , he joined the 72nd USCI as a recruit in Cleveland, Ohio. On July 18, 1865, he was transferred to the 12th US Colored Heavy Artillery Regiment, Company M.  On January 19, 1866, he mustered out of the Army in Louisville, Kentucky. Reese married a white woman in Cleveland, Ohio and settled there to raise a family. He worked as a tanner  and a fireman. Reese died in Cleveland in 1903. His remains are buried in the Riverside Cemetery there.