8th Regiment, New York National Guard

Nickname: Washington Greys

Left the state: April 23, 1861, mustered in: April 25, 1861
Mustered out: August 2, 1861
Left the state: May 29, 1862
Mustered out: September 10, 1862
Mustered in: June 17, 1863
Mustered out: July 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 is located in New York city and still in existence. On the 4th of April, 1786, the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, was formed in New York city into a brigade of artillery, and was to consist of the 1st and 2d Regiments and a battalion. In April, 1807, the 3d Regiment of New York Artillery was organized of this battalion and other troops. July 27, 1847, the designation of the regiment was changed to the 8th Regiment. In December, 1893, it was reduced to a battalion of four companies. It was reorganized as a regiment, February 14, 1896. New companies were organized for the battalion, as follows: On July 8, 1895, Company A; on October 30, 1895, Company E; on January 27, 1896, Company H, and on February 14, 1896, Company G, when it was reorganized as a regiment. April 28, 1898, it was authorized to be organized as a twelve company regiment to enter the service of the United States. It was in the service of the United States from September 15 to December 15, 1812; from April 23 to August 2, 1861; from May 29 to September 10, 1862, and from June 17 to July 23, 1863. It was mustered in the United States service as the 8th Regiment Infantry, New York Volunteers, May 14, 17 and 19, 1898, and mustered out of such service, November 3, 1898. Companies L and M were disbanded December 22, 1898.
The regiment has received authority to place silver rings on the lances of its colors, engraved as follows:
On the National Color.— Fort Gansevoort, 1812; Fort Greene, 1812; Washington, April, 1861; Bull Run, July 21, 1861; Yorktown, 1862; Gettysburg campaign, 1863; Spanish-American war, 1898.
On the State Color.— Flour riot, 1826; Stonecutters' riot, 1835; great fire, New York city, 1845; Astor Place riot, 1849; Police riot, 1857; Dead Rabbit riot, 1857; Sepoy riot, 1858; Camp Corcoran Legion, 1862; Draft riots, 1863; Orange riots, 1871; Syracuse, 1877; Brooklyn, 1895; service in the War of the Rebellion.
April 20, 1861, the regiment was ordered to Washington, D. C, and commanded by Col. Geprge Lyons, left the State on the 23d; it was mustered in the service of the United States April 25, 1861, at Washington, to serve three months; it served in the ist Brigade, 2d Division, Army of Northeastern Virginia, and was mustered out at New York city, August 2, 1861. Company I served as a light battery; see Varian's Battery.
May 29, 1862, the regiment again left the State en route to Washington, D. C, under the command of Col. Joshua M. Varian, and re-entered the service of the United States for three months; served principally at Yorktown, Va.; it was discharged and mustered out September 10, 1862, at New York city.
June 17, 1863, the regiment, commanded by Colonel Varian, left the State en route to Harrisburg, Pa., where it was again mustered in the United States service for thirty days; it served principally at and about that place in the ist Brigade, ist Division, Department Susquehanna, and was mustered out at New York city, July 23, 1863.
The regiment lost .in 1861: Killed in action, 9 enlisted men; died of wounds received in action, 1 enlisted man; in 1862, died of disease, etc., 6 enlisted men; total, 16; and it, or parts of it, participated in the following engagements, etc.: Bull Run, Va., July 21, 1861, loss, killed, 8 enlisted men; wounded, 17 enlisted men; missing, 4 officers and 9 enlisted men; total, 38; skirmishes, at Shippensburg, Pa., June 23, 1863; at Kingston, Pa., June 26, 1863; near Oyster Point, Pa., June 28, 1863; near Fort Washington, Pa., June 29, 1863, and at Carlisle, Pa., July 1, 1863.

The following is taken from Third Annual Report of the Bureau of Military Statistics of the State of New York, Albany: [The Bureau], (C. Wendell), 1866.

The Eighth regiment is in the Second brigade, First division of the State militia organization. It left New York on the 23d of April. The field officers were: 
Colonel—George Lyons.
Lieutenant-Colonel—Charles G. Waterbury.
Major—Obed. F. Wentworth.
The regiment embarked, a portion on the steamship Alabama, and the remainder on the ship Montgomery, The line of their march through the streets of New York was the scene of wild enthusiasm, and their friends gathering in balconies and windows, and cheering and inspiring the soldiers with their smiles and warm approvals. They proceeded to Annapolis, and thence to Wash¬ington, and were encamped at Arlington House, Virginia. The regiment was engaged in the battle of Bull Run, and served in the First brigade (Colonel Andrew Porter's), Second division (Colonel Hunter's). Colonel Porter makes honorable mention of the services of the Eighth New York Militia in his report.
Upon first entering service, the regiment remained at Annapolis until the 8th of May, when, accompanied by the 6th Massachusetts Militia, the whole under command of General Butler, they pro¬ceeded to the Relay House and took position commanding Rail¬road Bridge. On the 19th of May, a detachment of 600 men, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Waterbury and Major Wentworth, and a like detachment of the Sixth Massachusetts, under Colonel Jones, proceeded by railroad to Baltimore and took possession of Federal Hill, thus commanding that city; being the first troops to enter Baltimore after the riots. A few days afterwards, being relieved by Pennsylvania troops, the de¬tachment returned to the Relay House, where the regiment remained until about the 8th of June, when it proceeded to Wash¬ington and went into camp at Kalorama, and remained there until troops were sent over into Virginia. The Eighth left Washingtom on the Sunday following, crossed the Long bridge, and taking possession of Arlington House, where it remained as guard to the headquarters of General McDowell, until the army moved to Bull
The time of the regiment expiring on the 23d (two days after the battle), they received orders for home, leaving on the 24th and arriving in New York on the 26th of July, where they met with an enthusiastic reception— Broadway was thronged, and vociferous cheers greeted them at every crossing.


8th Regiment NY State Militia | Regimental Color | c.1855

All that remains from this flag is a small fragment featuring the embroidered Arms of the City of New York.

NYSMM Online Resources

Muster Roll

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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.

Barnard, George N., 1819-1902 [attributed]. Field and Staff, 8th N.Y. State Militia, Arlington House, Virginia.
Photograph from DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University. 
Thank you to Jane Butler for pointing out this resource.

Gregory, Samuel. Eighth Regiment, Third Brigade. New-York State Troops. Washington Greys, H Company. New-York, July 11th, 1860.
[New York, N.Y.]: J Dax printer 1860.
Located at the New York Historical Society.

Hopkins, Charles A. Papers, 1861-1885; (bulk 1861-1878).
Description: 2 boxes.
Abstract: Civil War letters (1861-1865) and journal (1861-1864) relating to Hopkins's service as an enlisted man in Company H (Washington Grays), 8th New York State Militia, and later as captain, Company K, 13th New Jersey Volunteers; muster rolls and supply records of Company K; personal letters received (1861-1878); papers relating to Montclair Railway Company, Montclair, N.J. (1872-1874); papers relating to the case of Studwell vs. Hopkins (1868-1875); and text of an address before the Rhode Island Soldiers and Sailors Historical Society.
References: Journal described in:; A Guide to Manuscript Diaries and Journals in the Special Collections Department, Rutgers University / compiled by Donald A. Sinclair (1980) p. 39

Kincaid, Thomas H. When we were boys in blue, 1861-1865. [New York: 1903].

New York Infantry. 8th regt. (Militia). F Company. By-laws and rules of order of company F, Washington Greys, eight regiment, third brigade, first division, N.Y.S.T. Adopted January, 1860. New York: L.B. Covert, 1860.
Located at the New York Historical Society.

Scott, George D. The George D. Scott papers, 1841-1888.
Description: 1 box.
Abstract: Contains the following type of materials: questionaires. Contains information pertaining to the following wars and time periods: 1815-1846; 1848-1860; Civil War -- Eastern Theater, -- Northern Interior; 1865-1897. Contains information pertaining to the following military units and organizations: 8th New York National Guard Infantry Regiment; many additional New York National Guard, State militia, and volunteer regiments. General description of the collection: George D. Scott papers include veteran's one page summaries of military service with the 8th New York National Guard, primarily in the Civil War, also prewar and postwar April-August 1861; First Bull Run, May-September 1862; Peninsular Campaign, 1862; Yorktown, June-July 1863; Gettysburg Campaign; Harrisburg; New York draft riot; domestic disturbances; Washington Grays; George Lyon; and Joshua Varian.
Located at the US Army Military History Institute.

Todd Frederick P. "8th Regiment, New York state militia (Washington Grays), circa 1850-1870." Military Collector and Historian V p101.

Waud, Alfred R. Captain Varians battery N.Y. 8th S.M. having their first shot at the enemy near Fairfax.
Description: 1 drawing on white paper : pencil ; 12.5 x 17.5 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.3g05092 [link opens new window]
Note(s): Title inscribed below image./ Inscribed below title: Oct. 18-1861--Varians battery near Fairfax./ Inscribed above sketch on verso: The advance of Federal troops in line of battle of skirmishers to the front approaching the enemy near Fairfax.
General Info: No known restrictions on publication./ Forms part of: Civil War drawing collection.

Waud, Alfred R. Scene in the camp of the Washington Greys. 8th N.Y.S.M.
Description: 1 drawing on olive paper : pencil and Chinese white ; 7.7 x 27.1 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.3g11121 [link opens new window].


Items in the museum collection are in bold.