Unit History

The Original 8th

The ones who made history

The 8th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry was organized under the provisions of an act of Congress, approved July 22, 1861, and was fully organized, officered, and equipped by Sept. 14, at which time it was mustered into the service of the United States, for three years, at Camp Olden, Trenton. It left the state on Oct. 1, with 38 officers, 851 non-commissioned officers and privates, a total of 889. It was formed into a brigade with it's brother regiments, the 5th, 6th, and 7th New Jersey.

The 8th's first major engagement was at the Battle of Williamsburg on May 5th 1862. A. St. John Chambre, Chaplain of the 8th NJ, wrote "The heaviest work of the battle of was by the New Jersey Brigade under its noble commander Patterson. And the hardest fighting of the Brigade was done by the 8th New Jersey Regiment, which occupied the left of the line, and met and turned back repeatedly the swelling force of the enemy that were thrown against it to turn its flank. Our killed and wounded number some 200".

By the time the regiment engages in the Battle of Chancellorsville a year later, they are down to only 242 men. On May 3rd 1863, the 8th again finds itself in absolute hell. They fight on the Plank Road at Chancellorsville in the thickest of the fight. The regiment took part in bravely recapturing some of the guns from Dimick's 1st US Artillery Battery H, but the 8th suffers heavy casualties along with most of the 3rd Corps. They go into the battle with 242 men and and leave with only 108. There are now only 108 left, 12% of the proud 889 that left New Jersey less than two years prior.

Only two months later the 8th finds itself in the Wheatfield at the Battle of Gettysburg. They take the field with officially a little less than 170 men (though morning reports from June 30th show that 34 of these were "unarmed or unequipped" bringing their fighting strength to only 136). The 8th fights detached from the majority of the brigade alongside the 115th Pennsylvania and faces the full brunt of an attack by the 8th and 9th Georgia. In just a short amount of time, they suffers 41 casualties in the field. On July 14th the regiment can only field 45 men.

The 8th would fight out the rest of the war, and like many Army of the Potomac units, watch their ranks "grow" with the newly instated draft. But many of these men desert en route to their units. The 8th would fight in nearly every engagement through 1865 including the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Sailors Creek, and of course, Appomattox. The 8th New Jersey was mustered out on July 17th, 1865. Apx 284 men died in the service of their country under the 8th's colors. Hundreds of others would suffer long after the war's end from the wounds they received.

Today's 113th Regiment in the NJ Army National Guard directly traces their linage back to the 8th NJ.


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About us

The 8th Regiment New Jersey Volunteer Infantry, Inc. is a living history organization, whose members are committed to the accurate re-creation of the life of the common federal soldier during the American Civil War.

The 8th New Jersey is an honorary, reactivated unit in the service of the state of New Jersey and the United States of America and participates in many historical events throughout the country.

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