8th Infantry Regiment

Nickname: First German Rifles; Blenker's Rifles

Mustered in: April 23,1861.
Mustered out: April 23,1863

The following is taken from New York in the War of the Rebellion, 3rd ed. Frederick Phisterer. Albany: J. B. Lyon Company, 1912.

This regiment, composed of Germans, was organized under State authority and recruited in New York city, and there mustered in the service of the United States for two years, April 23, 1861. It received its numerical designation, May 13, 1861, and, commanded by Col. Louis Blenker, left the State, May 26, 1861.
The regiment served at Washington, D. C., from May, 1861; in the 1st Brigade, 5th Division, Army Northeastern Virginia, from July, 1861; in Blenker's Brigade, Division of the Potomac, from August 4, 1861; in Blenker's Division, Army of the Potomac, from October 15, 1861; in Stahel's Brigade, Blenker's Division, Army of the Potomac, from January, 1862; in 1st Brigade, same division, Mountain Department, from May, 1862; in 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 1st Corps, Army of Virginia, from June 26, 1862; and in the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 11th Corps, Army of the Potomac, from September, 1862. April 22, 1863, the three years' men were formed in one company — Independent Company, 8th Infantry —and attached to the headquarters of the nth Corps as Provost Guard; they remained on this duty until April 5, 1864, when they were transferred to the 68th Infantry. April 23, 1863, the regiment, commanded by Col. Felix Prince Salm, was honorably discharged and mustered out at Brooks' Station, Va.
During its service the regiment lost by death, killed in action, 64 enlisted men; of wounds received in action, 29 enlisted men; of disease and other causes, I officer, 39 enlisted men; total, 1 officer, 132 enlisted men; aggregate, 133; of whom 20 enlisted men died in the hands of the enemy.


Colonel Felix Prince Salm received authority, May 11, 1863, to reorganize the 8th Regiment, of infantry, mustered out by reason of expiration of service, for a term of service of three years. This authority was revoked, October 14, 1863, and the men enlisted were assigned to the 178th Infantry.

The following is taken from The Union army: a history of military affairs in the loyal states, 1861-65 -- records of the regiments in the Union army -- cyclopedia of battles -- memoirs of commanders and soldiers. Madison, WI: Federal Pub. Co., 1908.

Eighth Infantry.—Cols., Louis Blenker, Julius Stahel, Francis Wutschell, Felix P. Salm; Lieut.-Cols., Julius Stahel, Francis Wutschell, Carl B. Hedterich; Majs., Andrew Lutz, Carl B. Hedterich, Anthony Pokorny. The 8th (the 1st German Rifles) was recruited in New York city, there mustered into the U. S. service on April 23, 1861, for two years, and left for Washington on May 27. At Miller's farm the troops encamped and on July 10 were ordered to move toward Manassas as part of the 2nd brigade, 4th division of the Army of the Potomac. During the battle of Bull Run the 8th was held in reserve and assisted in covering the retreat. The following winter it was quartered at Roach's mills and Hunter's Chapel, Va.; moved to Winchester in March, 1862, and in May joined Gen. Fremont at Petersburg, W. Va. It participated in the pursuit of Gen. Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley, and as part of Blenker's division fought at the battles of Cross Keys and New Market. In the battle of Cross Keys its killed, wounded and missing numbered 220 out of a total of 550 engaged. At Middletown, the 8th was assigned to the 1st brigade, 1st division, 1st corps, Army of Virginia, under Gen. Pope, and with that army took part in the battles of Sulphur springs and the second Bull Run. In September, it became a part of the nth corps and reached Fredericksburg immediately after the battle; camped during the winter at Stafford Court House and Brooks' station, and was mustered out of the service at the latter place on April 23, 1863. The members whose term of service had not expired were formed into one company, the independent company 8th N. Y., and performed guard duty at the corps headquarters until April 5, 1864, when they were assigned to the 68th N. Y. The 8th lost 93 members by death from wounds, and 40 from disease, accident and imprisonment.


8th Regiment NY Volunteer Infantry | Flank Markers | Civil War

The NYS Battle Flag Collection includes two flank markers carried by the 8th Regiment NY Volunteer Infantry. Both flags feature painted inscriptions…


8th Regiment NY Volunteer Infantry | National Color | Civil War

This silk national color carried by the 8th Regiment NY Volunteer Infantry includes 34 embroidered stars arranged in a star pattern in the canton. The…

NYSMM Online Resources

Battles and Casualties from Phisterer (pdf)
Battles and Casualties from Phisterer (spreadsheet)

Muster Roll

Unit Roster

Newspaper Clippings

Historical Sketch

Search the Museum catalog for this unit

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Other Resources

This is meant to be a comprehensive list. If, however, you know of a resource that is not listed below, please send an email to ng.ny.nyarng.list.historians@army.mil with the name of the resource and where it is located. This can include photographs, letters, articles and other non-book materials. Also, if you have any materials in your possession that you would like to donate, the museum is always looking for items specific to New York's military heritage. Thank you.

Day, James L. Innocence and courage: a study of Chattooga County Civil War veterans, volume number two. [Summerville, GA : James L. Day, 2000.

Morrison, Louis P. Louis Philip Morrison Papers. 1851. Archival material.
The collection contains microfilm and photocopies of correspondence of Morrison, whose parents lived in Galena, Ill., with his wife Rebecca Thacher Morrison of Burlington and Boston, Mass. Letters, 1851-1856, concern Morrison's unsuccessful attempts to establish himself in merchandising in Illinois, Michigan, and Winona, Minn. Civil War letters, 1862-1865, relate to his service with the 8th New York Regiment in northern Virginia.
In the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (#3917-z).

The Star Extra, Tuesday, July 9 - 11 A.m: A Great Sensation! a Flag of Truce from the Enemy!Washington, D.C.?: Star, 1861. Print.
Includes: A sealed letter from Jefferson Davis to President Lincoln arrives! -- An emeute among the Garibaldians! -- Insurbordination [of the First German Rifles of New York for refusing to take a new musket] -- Distressing accident , Rhode Island artillerymen killed and wounded.

Struve, Gustav.. Regiment N.Y. Freiwilliger und Prinz Felix Salm-Salm, von Gustav Struve, ehemal- igen Hauptmann in dem genannten Regimente. Washington, D. C. John F. Niedfeldt, [1862] 7, (l)p. 
Book in German.

The Union Army: A Record of the Names of the Volunteer Soldiers Who Take Up Arms for the Defense of the Union. New York: Published by J.F. Haasis, 1800. Print.
Bibliomation, Inc.

Waud, Alfred R. 8th N.Y.V. Rifles.
Year: 1860-1865?
Description: 1 drawing on cream paper : pencil ; 13.8 x 9.1 cm. (sheet)
Located at the Library of Congress in the Civil War drawing collection (DLC)
May be accessed at hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3a05544 [link opens new window].

Waud, Alfred R. Pioneers 8th N.Y. German rifles 1861. 1861.
Description: 1 drawing on cream paper : pencil ; 17.5 x 12.3 cm. (sheet)
Located at the Library of Congress in the Civil War drawing collection (DLC)
May be accessed at hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3g03919 [link opens new window]
Abstract: Two soldiers, one carrying an axe, the other a raised sword.

Waud, Alfred R. [Officer of 8th N.Y. German rifles and Band. 1861-1863?
Description: 1 drawing on blue-green paper :; pencil ;; 10.0 x 17.3 cm. (sheet)
Located at the Library of Congress in the Civil War drawing collection (DLC)
Abstract: Two sketches one figure of an officer; the second inscribed; Band.

Waud, Alfred R. [Encampment of 8th New York Volunteers]. 1861.
Description: 1 drawing on tan paper :; pencil ;; 10.2 x 17.5 cm. (sheet)
Located at the Library of Congress in the Civil War drawing collection (DLC)
Note(s): Title devised./ Inscribed below image: 8th N.Y.V. bridge to Stahls [sic] tent./ Formerly Waud no. B-4.

Wisner, Dolphus S. Papers, 1863-1865.
Description: 5 items.
Abstract: Collection consists of a three-volume Civil War diary (536 pp. of text) kept by Wisner from January 1, 1863 to November 13, 1864; a letter from Wisner to his wife in 1865; and a photograph of him in uniform. His stations included Fort Federal Hill, Fort McHenry and Fort Marshall, all near Baltimore, Md. In the diaries, he recorded the day-to-day activities of being a soldier including the routine tasks of drills, dress parades and guard duty. He describes Baltimore (June, 1863) as the city prepared for a Confederate attack. Other topics included the weather, his health, mail, news from the front, prisoner arrivals, and more unusual duties such as collecting taxes for recovery of damages to the Cape Charles Light House, and protecting the ballot box. Some of his other activities included going to the theater, shopping for books, carpentry, and attending meetings of the Sons of Temperance.
Located at Duke University.


Items in the museum collection are in bold.