The rendezvous of the Eighth Cavalry was at Mt. Clemens, and was recruited under the direction of Colonel John Stockton, who was authorized by the Secretary of War, with the sanction of the Governor, to raise the Regiment.
Its recruitment commenced in August, 1862, and was mustered into the service of the United States on May 2, 1863, having on its rolls, 1117 officers and men, leaving the State by detachments in that month, with orders to report to the field in Kentucky, the first detachment, composed of eight squadrons, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Wormer, leaving on the 12th. day of May.
Leaving Covington, June 1st., the Regiment, under the command of Colonel Stockton, who had joined it May 26th., with the second detachment, it went immediately into active service, moving to Hickman Bridge, then to Mount Sterling, then participated in a skirmish at Triplet's Bridge, on June 19th., where they killed and made prisoners, 20 confederates, while capturing 90 horses. At Kentucky River, they captured, killed or wounded 38 men, along with 40 horses. Then at Salt River, took 4 prisoners, along with 4 horses. The Regiment, then under the command of Lt. Colonel Wormer, started on a chase of the confederate General Morgan, overtaking him at Lebanon on the 5th. of July, driving him from the town, the Regiment captured 21 men and 5 horses. The pursuit was continued through Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio, the Regiment, being engaged for 16 days in the chase, overtaking Morgan at Buffington Island Ford, on July the 19th., when it immediately attacked his forces, capturing 573 men, killing and wounding a large number, with a loss to the Regiment of only 3 wounded. Twice, the Regiment marched 48 hours without halting to feed or rest, but once From Buffington Island, the Regiment returned to Kentucky, when during the month of August, 1863, they engaged in the advance into Eastern Tennessee, having in the meantime, participated in the pursuit of Scott's Cavalry, skirmishing with them from Lexington to Stanford, having captured, killed and wounded 213 men, also taking over 100 horses.
Attached to 2nd Brigade, 4th Division, 23rd Army Corps, to July, 1863. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 23rd Army Corps, to August, 1863. 1st Brigade, 4th Division, 23rd Army Corps, to October, 1863. 2nd Brigade, 4th Division, 23rd Army Corps, to November, 1863. 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Dept. of the Ohio, to May, 1864. 3rd Brigade, Cavalry Division, District of Kentucky, Dept. of the Ohio, to June, 1864. 3rd Brigade, Cavalry Division, 23rd Army Corps, Army of the Ohio, to November, 1864. 1st Brigade, 6th Division, Wilson's Cavalry Corps, Military Division Mississippi, to June, 1865. Cavalry District West Tennessee to September, 1865.
The Regiment, then in the 1st. Brigade, 2nd. Cavalry Corp, still under the command of Colonel Wormer, had entered into the Eastern Tennessee Campaign, having met the confederates at Kingston, on September 1st., then at Cleveland on the 18th. At Calhoun, on the 26th. of September, the brigade to which the Eighth belonged, was attacked by a force estimated at 15,000, under General's Forrest and Wheeler. After a sharp engagement, with some loss, the command retreated to Athens, where they endeavored to check the confederate advance, in which they were partially successful, but was compelled to finally fall back to Loudon. From June 1st., when the Regiment left Covington, to October 8th., they had marched over 3000 miles, during that same time captured 574 prisoners, 652 horses and large amounts of stores and equipments.
On the 1st. of November, now commanded by Major Edgerly, encamped at Lenoir, then participating in covering the retreat of the Union forces, then falling back from Lenoir Station, to Knoxville, where the Eighth aided in checking the advance of General Longstreet. They were engaged at Loweton, November 15th., Campbell's Station, on the 16th., then before Knoxville on the 19th. They participated in the Siege of Knoxville, until December the 5th., being then in the 1st. Division, joined in the pursuit of the rebel army, and was engaged at Rutledge on the 10th., continuing skirmishing daily with the rear guard until arriving at Bean's Station, where, on the 14th., they became warmly engaged, then again at New Market on the 25th.
January 14th., the Regiment marched to Dandridge, where it skirmished with the confederates, driving them 2 miles beyond the town. On the 16th., they were attacked, and obliged to fall back to Dandridge. On the 17th., they were warmly engaged during the day, but at night fell back to Strawberry Plains, thence to Knoxville. Crossing the Holston River on the 19th.,they moved to Flat Creek Gap, where they skirmished on the 25th., being obliged to fall back to Sevierville.
They again advanced to Fair Garden on the 26th., then moved to the Holston River, finding the confederates strongly posted behind breastworks, they charged the works, but being out flanked, were forced to withdraw.
On the 3rd. of February, the Regiment moved to Knoxville, turning over all of their horses to the proper department, they started, on the 6th., on foot, to Mount Sterling, arriving there on the 24th., after a tedious march over the Cumberland Mountains, of over 200 miles. They remained in camp at Mount Sterling and Nicholasville until the 3rd. of June. On this date, having been remounted and equipped, that started, under the command of Lt. Colonel Mix, on its march to Big Shanty,GA, where they arrived on the 28th., there joining the command of General Sherman. On its route from Cleveland,TN to Big Shanty,GA they scoured the country bordering the railroad, capturing 136 prisoners. They then participated in the movements of the cavalry, under General Stoneman, covering the right flank of the army during the advance on Atlanta.
During the raid on Macon, in July, the Eighth, engaged the rebels on the Chattahoochie River, then after fighting Anderson's Brigade of cavalry, drove them across the river, receiving the cheers of General Stoneman for their gallantry. On the 29th., a detachment of the Regiment, captured and destroyed, three trains of cars on the Macon and Milledgville Railroad, loaded with supplies. The command, finding themselves outnumbered before Macon, retired. The 8th., having the advance, was almost constantly fighting with confederates, then at Clifton, on the 31st., an engagement took place. The Regiment made several charges, but was finally, by superior numbers, forced to give way. The General in command, finding himself completely surrounded, with further resistance useless, finally surrendered. When Stoneman became entirely surrounded, with surrender evident, the 8th., then under the command of Colonel Mix, unwilling to lay down their arms, bearing in mind the honor of their State, as well as their own, obtained permission from the commanding general to cut their way out, then dashing forward, commenced the desperate undertaking, surrounded entirely, fighting with sabres, hand to hand. Colonel Mix captured, owing to the loss of his horse, Major Buck assumed command, then succeeded, by, stubborn and persistent fighting, in breaking through the encirclement, he tried to reach the Union lines near Atlanta.
On the 3rd. of August, however, being nearly worn out from fighting, having been in the saddle for seven days and eight nights, pursued and harassed, they were overtaken, then after a large engagement, many were taken prisoner, yet a portion of the Regiment reached the safety of the Union lines, after a loss of 215 officers and men.
The portion of the Regiment that escaped, were stationed at Marietta and Turner's Ferry, there being employed in picket duty until the 14th. of September, when they received orders to report to Nicholasville, where they proceeded by rail, arriving on the 21st., then on the 19th. of October, marched to Nashville, arriving there on the 26th. During the year, the Regiment had marched 2800 miles, and had lost 13 killed, with 225 missing.
The Regiment was now serving with the 14th. and 15th. Illinois Cavalry, when on November 1st., 1864, they were on the march to Pulaski, for the purpose of watching the movements of General Hood, who was then on his northern expedition from Atlanta. Having reached Pulaski on the 6th., the Regiment moved on a scout to Lawrenceburg, returned, then again on the 12th., to Waynesboro. Returning from that place, they marched to Mount Pleasant on the 14th. and 15th. On the 17th. and 18th., they were on the march to Waynesboro, Company "C" having a skirmish there. Having reached Waynesboro on the 20th., nearly the whole Regiment was employed scouting by detachments, one being sent to Lawrenceburg to form a junction with General Hatch, who was falling back from the Tennessee River near Florence, one to Clifton, and the other towards Savannah, all of them returning to the command on the 20th. On the 21st., information having been received that Forrest was advancing towards Lawrenceburg, the command fell back to within 11 miles of Mount Pleasant, there going into camp. In the meantime, communications had been opened with General Hatch, and on the 23rd., a detachment of 1 officer, with 25 men, were sent back towards Waynesboro, where they met confederates about 7 miles out, near Henryville, where they kept a whole Regiment in check, until Company "B" was sent forward as a reinforcement, but before reaching there, were attacked and driven back, whereby the detachment was cut off. It was then ascertained that the confederates had succeeded in getting a position between General Hatch and the command.
A Battalion of the Regiment was ordered to hold the road in front, while the Brigade fell back 3 miles to the junction of the Mount Pleasant and the Lawrenceburg roads, there threw up a barricade and made a final stand, for the purpose of checking the rebel advance, should he succeed in driving back the battalion. During that time, the battalion was holding them in check, although, vigorously attacked and closely pressed. Then after a gallant resistance, the confederates succeeded in throwing a heavy force on their left flank, then driving them back to within a short distance of the barricade, where they made a determined stand, but was attacked by a superior force, and before they could fall back on the command, the rebels had gained the rear.
The attacking force was discovered by the brigade, but owing to the darkness, they supposed the battalion was falling back, therefore, no effort was made to stop them. At that time the balance of the Eighth was ordered to a position behind the barricade, but before they could be properly posted, the confederates made a desperate charge on the whole line, so unexpected was the attack, that it threw the other two regiments of the brigade into confusion, producing a perfect stampede, when the Eighth, with great coolness, maintaining their position, poured a volley into their ranks, checking the advance, then ordering a second volley, when the rebels retired. In the meantime, the battalion of the Eighth, that had been left in front to hold them in check, and which now had been cut off from the main command, cut their way through the rebels, under heavy fire, then rejoined the brigade, having lost several in killed and wounded. About daylight, on the morning of the 24th., the pickets were again attacked, the brigade falling back about 2 miles, closely followed by the rebels, when the attackers threw a heavy column on both its flanks, causing the union forces to retreat at the double quick, to Columbia, the rebels pursuing closely. On reaching that point, a division of infantry, from the 23rd. Corp, which had just arrived there, succeeded in driving them back, and prevented the whole of General Forrest's command from dashing into town, capturing it.
On the 25th., a detachment of 50 men of the Regiment was sent to Hardison's Mills, on the Duck River, for the purpose of crossing, to ascertain if the confederates was moving in that direction, then the next day, the brigade was ordered to that point, then picketed the different fords along the river for 6 to 8 miles. On the morning of the 28th., the advance of Hood's army was discovered moving toward the ford's, where by noon, he had driven in the pickets, then at 2 P.M., they opened fire at almost every ford, but was kept in check until the communication with General Johnson was cut off, by the rebels crossing at one of the fords east of Columbia, then also on the left of the command, when the detachments at the fords were ordered back, then the brigade became completely surrounded, when one regiment, the 7th. Ohio, succeeded in fighting their way thought he rebels, in its rear, still leaving the remaining portion of the command completely and closely surrounded. The Regiment, together with the 14th. and 16th. Illinois, being armed with springfield muskets, dismounted, then with fixed bayonets, charged through the rebel line in gallant style, driving over 100 rebels into the river. A detachment of 40 men of the Regiment had been cut off at one of the lower fords, but also succeeded in extricating themselves, with but little loss. Next morning the command fell back 6 miles, to General Hatch's Division, which had been drawn up in line of battle, to stop any further advance of Hood's men.
On the following morning, the whole cavalry force fell back to near Franklin, the infantry having already evacuated Columbia, and taken position at Franklin. On the 30th., the rebels made several to drive the cavalry in, but failed. Towards evening, they massed a strong force, then made a desperate attack, but were repulsed with heavy loss. Next morning, December 1st., before daybreak the whole command had commenced in falling back towards Nashville, then when within 6 miles of there, the cavalry made a stand, but the rebels did advance on them. During the night, the whole cavalry force was moved inside the defensive lines of Nashville, when the Regiment crossed the river, at Edgefield, where they were engaged in making expeditions to various points, for the purpose of getting horses, and employed in scouting the surrounding country. During the Battle of Nashville, from December 14th. to the 23rd., they were held in reserve, having previously dismounted and did not participate.
The Regiment remained at Nashville, performing whatever duties they were called for, until January 18, 1865, at which time they marched to Pulaski, where they were actively employed in scouting the surrounding countryside, for the purpose of suppressing guerilla operations in that section of the country.
On September 22, 1865, they were returned to Nashville, where they were mustered out of the service of the United States, then returned to Michigan on the 28th. there to be soon after paid off and disbanded, at Jackson. On the previous July 20th., the 11th. Cavalry had been consolidated with the Eighth, the Regiment retaining the designation of the 8th. Michigan Cavalry.
During their term of Federal service, they were engaged at:
|New Market,TN||Philadelphia,TN||Mulberry Creek,GA|
|Buffington's Is.,OH||Sunshine Church,GA||Lenoir Station,TN|
|Fair Gardens,TN||Athens,TN||Duck River,TN|
|Lancaster,KY||Moore's Ridge,GA||Triplet Bridge,KY|
|Kenesaw Mountain,GA||Calhoun,TN||Ream's Station,TN|
Operations against Everett in Eastern Kentucky June 13-23, 1863. Action at Triplett's Bridge, Ky., June 16. Pursuit of Morgan June 27-July 25. Buffington Island, Ohio, July 19. New Lisbon, Ohio, July 22. Operations against Scott in Eastern Kentucky July 25-August 6. Lancaster and Paint Lick Bridge July 31-August 1. Burnside's Campaign in East Tennessee August 16-October 17. March across Cumberland Mountains to Knoxville, Tenn., August 16-September 2. Winter's Gap August 31. Cleveland September 18. Calhoun, Athens and Charleston September 25. Calhoun September 26. Sweetwater October 26-27. Knoxville Campaign November 4-December 23. Lenoir Station November 14-15. Campbell's Station November 16. Near Knoxville November 16. Siege of Knoxville November 17-December 5. Near Bean's Station December 9-13. Bean's Station December 14. Blain's Cross Roads December 16-19. Operations about Dandridge January 16-17, 1864. Bend of Chucky Road, near Dandridge, January 16. Dandridge January 17. Operations about Dandridge January 26-28. Seviersville and Flat and Muddy Creeks January 26. Near Fair Garden January 27. Moved to Knoxville February 3, thence march to Mt. Sterling, Ky., February 6-24, and duty there until June 3. March to Big Shanty June 3-28. Spring Place June 25. Atlanta Campaign June 28-September 8. Kenesaw Mountain July 1. Sweetwater July 3. Chattahoochie River July 6-17, Dark Corners July 7, Campbellton July 18. Stoneman's Raid on Macon July 27-August 6. Clinton and Macon July 30. Hillsborough, Sunshine Church, July 30-31. Eatonton August 1. Regiment refused to surrender with Gen. Stoneman, and cut their way through the rebel lines, but were afterwards surprised at Mulberry Creek and Jug Tavern August 3, and mostly captured. Picket duty at Turner's Ferry and Marietta until September 14. Moved to Nicholasville, Ky., September 14-21, and duty there until October 19. March to Nashville, Tenn., October 19-26; thence moved to Pulaski, Tenn. Scout to Lawrenceburg November 6, and to Waynesboro November 12. Nashville Campaign November-December. Near Eastport November 15, Henrysville November 23. Mt. Pleasant November 23. Duck River November 24-27. Columbia Ford November 28-29. Franklin November 30. Battle of Nashville December 15-16, Moved to Pulaski January 18, 1865, and engaged in scout and patrol duty in that section until September 22. Scout from Pulaski to Rogersville, Ala., April 23-26 (Detachment). Mustered out at Nashville, Tenn., September 22, 1865.
|Total Enrollment--3025--including 512 men from the 11th|
|Killed in Action--24|
|Died of Wounds--7|
|Died of Disease--290|
|Total Casualty Rate--10.6%|