The Eighth Infantry saw service on the Atlantic coast in the Army of the Potomac, also in the western department, marching and fighting in practically all of the Southern States from the Mississippi River to the Atlantic Ocean.
At the organization of the Regiment it was ordered to rendezvous at Grand Rapids; but, was afterwards transferred to Fort Wayne in Detroit, where it was mustered into the service of the United States on the 23rd of September, 1861. It left Detroit, Sept. 27, 1861, arriving at Washington the 30th, with an enrollment of 915 officers and men. The Regiment was assigned to the "Expeditionary Corp", under General T. W. Sherman, seeing service along the coast at Hilton Head, Beaufort, S. C., Coosaw River and Tybee Island, Ga. In April, 1862, the Regiment had a severe engagement with Confederate forces on Wilmington Island, where it lost heavily in killed and wounded. At Secessionville on James Island the Regiment distinguished itself by a bayonet charge upon the Confederate works. Though their ranks were swept by the rebel artillery, not a gun by the Regiment was fired until the parapet was reached. Here the Confederate fire was so great and destructive that it was impossible to enter the works causing the assaulting party to be obliged to withdraw with a loss of 13 killed, 98 wounded, 35 prisoners and 36 missing.
In July the Regiment left James Island. After a series of embarkations and marches, reached Manassas, Va., where it was engaged Aug. 29th and 30th as part of the First Brigade, First Division, Ninth Army Corp. After long marches in the Maryland Campaign of 1862 the Regiment was heavily engaged at South Mountain and Antietam, Sept. 14th and 17th. In March 1863, the Eighth was ordered to Louisville, Ky., and thence to Vicksburg, Miss., where it arrived on the 17th. The Regiment was engaged in the marches about Vicksburg, especially at Jackson, Miss., afterwards starting for Knoxville, Tenn., by way of Crab Orchard and Cumberland Gap, where it arrived on the 26th of September.
When General Longstreet marched through Tennessee the Eighth was among the troops that met him at Campbell Station, West of Knoxville. During the siege, the Eighth was in advanced works suffering much in common with the whole Corp, on account of the inclement weather, the want of clothing, tents, and the scarcity of rations. After General Longstreet withdrew his forces from Knoxville, the Eighth started in pursuit and went as far as Rutledge, East Tennessee, then retired to Blain's Cross Roads. At this camp the Regiment veteranized, 283 re-enlisting, immediately afterwards commenced a 200 mile march across the Cumberland Mountains over horrible roads, in sleety, cold weather, the march averaging 30 miles a day, arriving at Nicholasville, KY., on Jan. 19, 1864. whence it departed for its home state.
The Regiment reached Detroit, Mi., on the 25th and was furloughed for 30 days. After the expiration of 30 days furlough, the Eighth assembled at Flint, starting on the 9th of March, via Cincinnati, to join the Ninth Corp, which was then at Annapolis, Md. On the 4th of May, 1864, the Regiment, with the balance of the Ninth Corp, started on the Grant Campaign of 1864 through Virginia. It formed a part of the First Brigade, Third Division, of the celebrated Ninth Corp, crossing the Rapidan River at Germania Ford on the 5th, soon to be engaged in the battle of the Wilderness on the 6th. In this battle the Regiment reported a loss of 99 killed, wounded and missing. Colonel Graves, commanding the Regiment was killed.
The Eighth was in the assault on the Confederate works at Spottsylvania on the 12th and suffered severely. The Regimental commander reported a loss of 49 officers and men in this assault. At Bethesda Church, on June 3rd, the Regiment, in a desperate encounter with the southern forces lost 52 killed, wounded, and missing. The Eighth crossed the James River on the 15th, then lost an additional 49 officers and men on the 17th and 18th before Petersburg.
The Regiment occupied different positions during the Siege of Petersburg, almost always under fire, then took part in the battles along the Weldon R.R., Ream's Station, Poplar Grove Church, Fort Steadman, and when Petersburg finally fell it was one of the first of the Union Regiments to march into that city.
After the surrender of General Lee, April 9, 1865, the Eighth moved to City Point, where it embarked on transports for Alexandria, Va., reaching on Washington, May 9th. The regiment, under Colonel Ralph Ely, started for Michigan on August 1st and arrived in Detroit on the 3rd, where it was paid off and disbanded.
|Port Royal,S.C.||Coosaw River,S.C.||Port Royal Ferry,S.C|
|Pocotaligo,S.C.||Fort Pulaski,Ga.||Wilmington Island,Ga.|
|James River,S.C.||2nd Bull Run,Va.||Chantilly,Va.|
|North Anna Rvr,Va.||Bethesda Church,Va.||Cold Harbor,Va.|
|Petersburg,Va.||The Crater,Va.||Weldon Railroad,Va.|
|Ream's Station,Va.||Poplar Spring Church,Va.||Pegram Farm,Va.|
|Boydon Road,Va.||Hatcher's Run,Va.||Fort Steadman,Va.|
|Fort Mahon,Va.||Capture of Petersburg, Va|
Regiment organized at Grand Rapids and at Fort Wayne, Detroit, Mich., and mustered in September 23, 1861.
Left State for Washington, D.C., September 27.
Camp at Meridian Hill till October 9.
Moved to Annapolis, Md., October 9, and attached to Stevens' 2nd Brigade, Sherman's South Carolina Expeditionary Corps, to April, 1862.
1st Brigade, 2nd Division, Dept. of the South, to July, 1862.
1st Brigade, 1st Division, 9th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to September, 1862.
2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 9th Army Corps, to December, 1862.
1st Brigade, 1st Division, 9th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to March, 1863, and Army of the Ohio to June, 1863.
1st Brigade, 1st Division, 9th Army Corps, Army of the Tennessee, to August, 1863.
1st Brigade, 1st Division, 9th Army Corps, Army of the Ohio, to March, 1864.
1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 9th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to September, 1864.
1st Brigade, 1st Division, 9th Army Corps, to April, 1865.
2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 9th Army Corps, to July, 1865.
|Killed in Action||134|
|Died of Wounds||87|
|Died in Confederate Prisons||7|
|Died of Disease||181|
|Discharged from Wounds||278|
|Total Casualty Rate||40.0%|