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8th Illinois Cavalry
in the American Civil War

Regimental History
Eighth Illinois Cavalry. Cols., John F. Farnsworth, William Gamble; Lieut. -Cols., William Gamble, David R. Clendenin; Majs., David R. Clendenin, John L. Beveridge, William G. Conklin, Daniel Dustin, William H. Medill, Elisha S. Kelly, Alpheus Clark, George A. Forsyth, John M. Waite, James D. Ludlam, Edward Russell. This regiment was organized at St. Charles and was mustered in Sept. 18, 1861, for three years. On Oct. 13 it moved to Washington City and camped at Meridian Hill on the 17th. It was soon afterward ordered to Virginia and remained at Warrenton until April 12, 1862, at four different times driving the enemy across the Rappahannock. It was also engaged during the advance of the army up the Peninsula. On June 26 six companies met the advance of the enemy under Jackson at Mechanicsville, and held it in check until 3 o'clock in the afternoon, when they were driven back to the infantry lines. In the change of base which followed this action the regiment did important duty at Gaines' mill, Dispatch Station and Malvern hill, covering the extreme rear of the army and continually skirmishing with the enemy's cavalry. It led the advance to the second occupation of Malvern hill, and, with Benson's battery, bore the brunt of the fight. In September it crossed into Maryland and was engaged at Poolesville; captured the colors of the 12th Va. cavalry at Monocacy Church and 20 prisoners at Barnesville; was engaged at Sugar Loaf mountain, Middletown and South mountain, and at Boonesboro captured 2 guns, killing and wounding 67, and taking 200 prisoners. It was engaged at the battle of Antietam and on Oct. 1 had a severe light with the enemy during a reconnoissance to Martinsburg. It moved in advance of the Army of the Potomac, and was engaged with the enemy's cavalry at Philomont, Uniontown, Upperville, Barbee's cross-roads, Little Washington and Amissville, arriving at Falmouth Nov. 23. During the battle of Fredericksburg two squadrons were in the city till its evacuation and the loss of the regiment up to Feb. 17, 1863, was 27 killed, 71 wounded and 20 missing. In the campaign of 1863 it was engaged in actions at Sulphur Springs, near Warrenton, Rapidan Station, Northern Neck, Boteler's ford, Upperville, Fairfield, Pa., Gettysburg, Williamsburg, Boonsboro, Funkstown, Falling Waters, Chester gap, Sandy Hook, near Culpeper, Brandy Station, the raid from Dumfries to Falmouth, Pony mountain, Raccoon ford, Liberty mills, Manassas, Warrenton Junction, Rixeyville, Mitchell's station and Ely's ford. Its loss in these several engagements was 23 killed, 116 wounded and 37 missing. The 8th claims the honor of originating veteran enlistments, a majority offering to reenlist as a regiment as early as July, 1863. In November a few were sworn in, but the work of making out the veteran rolls delayed the reenlistment of the regiment until Jan. 1, 1864, when it was again in service. The veteran furlough having expired, it was ordered to the East and again engaged in scouting in Northern Virginia. In February it had recruited up to 1,140 men and entered upon duty as provost guard in Washington, where it remained until June, 1865, when it was ordered out to Muddy branch and thence to Monocacy creek, where it had the pleasure of meeting Gen. Early on his famous raid. On July 17, following, it was mustered out and returned home.

Regimental history taken from "The Union Army" by Federal Publishing Company, 1908 - Volume 3

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