Field & Staff
D. H. C.--
The 8th Regiment was mustered into the Confederate service in May 1862, with R. F. Floyd as Colonel; John M. Pons as Lieutenant Colonel, and W. I. Turner as Major. With the following Companies commanded by Captains, Burrel A. Bobo, Co. A; R. A. Waller, Co. B, David Lang, Co. C; William Baya, Co. D; Thomas E. Clarke, Co. E; Felix Simmons, Co. F; J. C. Stewart, Co. G; James Tucker, Co. H; John M. Pons, Co. I; Frederick Worth, Co. K. Shortly after the organization of the Regiment it was ordered to Virginia where it joined the 2nd and with that Regiment and the 5th, fought in the Second Battle of Manassas, August 30, 1862, where, as General Prior reported: "The 5th and 8th Florida Regiments, though never under fire before, exhibited a cool and collected courage of veterans." Crossing the Potomac near Leesburg, early in September, the Brigade, which consisted of the 2nd, 5th, and 8th Florida, 12th Virginia and 14th Alabama, marched through Frederick City, over South Mountain into Pleasant Valley, and participated in the investment and capture of the Federal forces at Harper's Ferry, thence they hurried to the field of Sharpsburg, September 17, where they shared the service of R. H. Anderson's Division in that battle. In this engagement Colonel Hateley and Lieutenant Colonel Lamar, of the 5th, were wounded; the former so severely that he retired from service. On the return of the army to Virginia, the 8th Regiment was brigaded with the other Florida regiments, under command of E. A. Perry, who had been promoted to Brigadier General. The Brigade remained in R. H. Anderson's Division, in Longstreet's corps, until after Chancellorsville, when it became a part of Ambrose P. Hill's corps. At Fredericksburg, December 11, 1862, the 8th Regiment, under command of Captain David Lang, went to the support of the two Mississippi Regiments under Barksdale, at the river where the Federals were endeavoring to lay their bridges. In General McClellan's report he says: "It (the 8th) acted gallantly and did good service." Toward noon Captain Lang was severely wounded, and Captain Thomas R. Love, of Co. B, took command, and the position, although very much exposed, was maintained until they were ordered back at 4 p.m. A detachment of three companies under Captain Baya were also engaged, and he and Lieutenant H. C. Simmons and 20 men were captured. The companies under Captain Lang lost 7 killed and 24 wounded. During the early part of the Chancellorsville campaign Perry was on duty near Fredericksburg; May 2, 1863, the Brigade, after an exhausting march and skirmishing, rejoined the Division in time to march to the Furnace at daylight on May 3. They took part in the gallant fighting of May 3 and 4, and General Anderson in his report paid a special tribute to "Brigadier General Perry and his heroic little band of Floridians who showed a courage as intrepid as that of any others in their assault upon the enemy in his entrenchment on the third and in their subsequent advance on Chancellorsville." In General Perry's report he says: "The conduct of both officers and men of my command through the tiresome marches and continued watching, as well as while engaging the enemy, was such as to meet high praise. The firm and steadfast courage exhibited, especially by the 5th and 2nd Florida Regiments in charge at Chancellorsville, attracted my particular attention." The General especially noted the services of Captain W. E. McCassland, H. F. Riley, Lieutenant William Scott, Major T. C. Elder and Major D. W. Hinkle, Staff officers and volunteers. The 8th lost 11 killed and 36 wounded. Among the latter were Captain B. F. Whitner, Lieutenants J. M. Nelson and T. S. Armestead. The 2nd lost 3 killed, including Adjutant Woody F. Butler, and 29 wounded; and the 5th lost 6 killed and 22 wounded, among the latter was Major B. F. Davis.
At the battle of Gettysburg the Brigade was commanded by David Lang, of the 8th, the heroic fighter of Fredericksburg, who had been promoted to Colonel (promoted September 18, 1862), General Perry being disabled by typhoid fever.
General Lang in his report of the battle of Gettysburg said: "Since the battle I have had no staff at all except David Wilson. The Adjutant of the 8th has been acting for me. There are now but 22 line officers and 233 enlisted men for duty in the Brigade. Our loss has been 455, aggregate killed, wounded and missing. I think that a large number of missing are men who were exhausted by the rapidity with which the first charge was made, who were unable to keep up on the retreat."
In the battle of Fredericksburg the 8th lost their colors; the Color Bearer and the entire color guard of the 8th were killed or wounded and their colors left on the field. Owing to the fact that several colors of their Brigades fell back with the Florida Brigade, the 8th did not miss their colors until after it was too late to secure them. During the night a Federal Lieutenant of artillery, whose command had been moved up to the position, was examining the ground in front of the Confederate line had to be done by hand, Sergeant Horen of the 72nd New York Volunteers, picked up the flag of the 8th from where it lay on the ground by the dead Color-Bearer.
Colonel Lang in this report mentions the fact that the 2nd Regiment also lost its colors and the greater part of its men. The flag of the 2nd was a silk one presented by the ladies; it was the Confederate battle flag with this exception – the intersecti on of the cross in the center of the flag was surrounded by a golden sun-burst.
In the Gettysburg fight the 5th Florida lost 17 killed and 76 wounded; among the killed were Captain John Frink, and Lieutenants J. A. Jenkins and J. C. Blake; among the wounded, Captains William Bailey and R. N. Gardner, Lieutenants G. L. Odum, J. C. Shaw and George Walker. The 2nd lost 11 killed and 70 wounded. The 8th, 5 killed and 65 wounded. Among the wounded were Captains T. R. Love, J. Mizell and T. B. Livingston; Lieutenants Hector Bruce, W. W. Wilson, E. J. Dismukes, John Malone, F. M. Bryan, and T. W. Givens.
At the battle of Bristow Station, October 14, 1863, the Brigade was conspicuously engaged, losing a considerable number killed and wounded; among the latter Lieutenant Colonel William Baya, Commanding Regiment, and Sergeant Major Arnow of the 8th Regiment.
In the campaign of the Wilderness, May 1864, the Florida Brigade, lost 250 men. Among the wounded, was General Perry, who was compelled on that account to retire from service. In the campaign of 1864, which followed that of the Wilderness, the old Brigade continued to add to it laurels. General Perry retired, Colonel Lang again became the Brigade commander and remained such until the remnant of Perry's Brigade was consolidated with Finnegan's Brigade about June 1, 1864; from that time until the surrender that Florida Brigade was known as Finnegan's Brigade. The story of the service of the 2nd, 5th, and 8th, Perry's Brigade, is so closely interwoven that the story of one is practically the story of them all; they differ in details only. For this reason they story of the 8th has been made fuller that it might take in its gallant compatriots, who wrote the name of Florida high up on a scroll of fame and in characters that can only fade when time shall cease to be. At Appomattox the 2nd Florida surrendered 9 officers and 59 men; the 5th Florida 6 officers and 47 men; the 8th 4 officers and 28 men. This record needs nothing added to tell the world the gallantry of the men who marched under Florida's standard.
Source of rosters and background of units: Soldiers of Florida in the Seminole Indian-Civil and Spanish-American Wars. Fred L. Robertson, Compiler. Prepared and published under the supervision of the Board of State Institutions, As authorized by Chapter 2203 Laws of Florida, approved May 14, 1903.