The Eighth Connecticut Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War


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About the Book

The Eighth Connecticut Infantry was one of the longest-serving Union volunteer regiments in the Civil War and saw action throughout the Eastern Theater, from Burnside’s expedition in North Carolina to the battles at Antietam, Fredericksburg, Cold Harbor and Petersburg, and campaigns throughout Virginia. Drawing on soldiers’ letters and diaries, this first-ever regimental history of the Eighth chronicles four years of combat service, with maps newly created from historical accounts.

About the Author(s)

William A. Liska is a retired attorney with a career as counsel in the title insurance industry. He lives in Wethersfield, Connecticut.

Kim L. Perlotto is a retired computer scientist who spent a career in aerospace engineering. He lives in Simsbury, Connecticut.

Bibliographic Details

William A. Liska and Kim L. Perlotto
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 301
Bibliographic Info: 73 photos, maps, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9041-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4823-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Maps viii
Acknowledgments xi
Foreword by Matthew Warshauer 1
Preface 3
Introduction 5
Chapter 1. Hartford to Annapolis 9
Chapter 2. Hatteras to New Bern 24
Chapter 3. Fort Macon to Washington, D.C. 48
Chapter 4. Frederick, South Mountain, and Antietam 68
Chapter 5. Fredericksburg to Newport News 88
Chapter 6. Suffolk, Portsmouth, Deep Creek, Home 107
Chapter 7. Deep Creek to Drewry’s Bluff 137
Chapter 8. Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Fort Harrison 156
Chapter 9. Richmond, Lynchburg, and Home 186
Conclusion:  After the War 192
Appendix A. Record of Service 201
Appendix B. Biographies of Narrators and Notables 209
Appendix C. Flags of the Eighth 233
Appendix D. Arms and Equipment of the Eighth 241
Appendix E. The Modern Eighth Connecticut Volunteers 248
Appendix F. Map Notes 250
Chapter Notes 255
Bibliography 281
Index 285

Book Reviews & Awards

• “Kim Perlotto and Bill Liska have written a history of the 8th Connecticut in classic style, tracing the regiment’s footsteps, using letters and diaries to narrate the men’s experiences and reflections. The product of decades of research, they have fulfilled their intent: to remember and honor one of Connecticut’s overlooked but intensely interesting Civil War regiments. After 160 years of silence, the voices of the 8th Connecticut are heard again.”—John Hennessy, retired National Park Service historian, author of Return to Bull Run: The Campaign and Battle of Second Manassas

• “Put simply and conclusively, ‘The Eighth Connecticut Infantry in the Civil War’ is one of the very best regimental histories I have ever read. And when considering this hard-fighting regiment did not previously boast a regimental narrative, as prepared by a member of this fabled unit, William Liska and Kim Perlotto indeed had their work cut out for them. Undaunted, our estimable co-authors dove deep into primary source materials, including battle reports, wartime letters, and newspaper accounts. And the results of their collaborative labors are now set forth in this masterful, highly-readable and interesting book. There are two principal accomplishments, by the way, that are clearly manifest by the publication of this book. First, this marvelous regimental study sets forth, for the first time, the complete details of the 8th Connecticut’s valiant and bloody wartime experience. And last, but not least, this superb presentation honors the extraordinary combat service of the Eighth Connecticut, and in so doing, this book also honors two men who would not allow their regiment’s soldiers and officers to disappear into forgotten anonymity.”—Clark B. Hall, preservationist, 2012 Hall of Fame member and Edwin C. Bearss Lifetime Achievement Award, American Battlefield Trust

• “William A. Liska and Kim L. Perlotto have made an important contribution to the history of Connecticut in the American Civil War. Using copious letters and diary entries, the authors provide us with a well-developed story of the 8th CT’s role in the war. Through their narrative, Liska and Perlotto bring the men of the 8th back to life. We can feel the excitement these volunteers had when the war begins and sense their frustration as they suffer all the minor difficulties new soldiers face in every conflict. We can hear the fear and pride in their voices as they slog through battle after battle. Thank you for letting me march alongside the men of the gallant 8th CT.”—Todd M. Bryda, professor of history, Northwestern Connecticut Community College

• “The 8th Connecticut Infantry was in active service for almost four and a half years, from September 1861-December 1865, making it one of Connecticut’s longest serving regiments during the Civil War. But few know their story. Unlike dozens of other Civil War regiments, in the early 20th century, they never compiled an official regimental history. Now, after over a hundred years, Liska and Perlotto, have given the boys of the 8th their due! From their bloodiest days at Antietam and Port Walthall Junction, to the tragedy at Drewry’s Bluff, and finally to the planting of their colors atop Fort Harrison, Liska and Perlotto have weaved together an impressive and compelling narrative telling the story of the 8th Connecticut Infantry from start to finish.”—Matthew E. Reardon, executive director and supervisory historian of the New England Civil War Museum & Research Center

• “This book is written in the traditional, narrative style of late nineteenth and early twentieth century regimental histories. The men of the Eighth’s words are foremost in the readers’ minds, as Liska and Perlotto map the regiment’s experiences through the narrative voices of the men themselves. This book is like a window in time. The authors have a flair for drawing out the often, dire circumstances and emotions that these men faced. The reader cannot help but get to know the soldiers of the Eighth.”—Matthew Warshauer. PhD., professor of history, Central Connecticut State University

• “Astounding…useful and interesting…In addition to capably filling a gap in the modern roster of available Civil War regimental histories, The Eighth Connecticut Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War makes notable contributions to our knowledge and understanding of a number of major military events of the eastern theater as well as those that occurred on more secondary tidewater Virginia fronts.”—Civil War Books and Authors

• “Highly recommended”—Argunners Magazine