Formation History

The Eighth Georgia Battalion (Gist Brigade) was a six company infantry unit which began organizing in the fall of 1861. The unit was mustered into Confederate service at Savannah, Georgia, during early April of 1862.

Like almost all Civil War units the Eighth Georgia Battalion was frequently known by an alternate designation derived from the name of its commanding officer. Unofficial names of this type used by or for the unit appear below.

  • William W. Grant’s Infantry
  • J.T. Reid’s Infantry
  • Zachariah L. Waters’ Infantry
  • Leroy Napier, Jr.’s Infantry
  • Ashabel Littlefield’s Infantry
  • John W. Gray’s Infantry
  • Benjamin F. Hunt’s Infantry
  • Edward F. Morgan’s Infantry

At the beginning of the Civil War and upon being mustered into Confederate service the Eighth Georgia Battalion was assigned to duty in the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. The unit was then attached to the Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana. A short time later the battalion joined the Army of Tennessee. During its assignment to Gist Brigade it is mentioned prominently in “The Battle of Jackson/The Siege of Jackson” by Edwin C. Bearss and Warren Grabau published in 1981. It is also referenced in Brian Cisco’s excellent book “States Rights Gist” published in 1991. The researcher will often find that a number of Civil War units having similar names and designations are often confused and misnamed in official records and correspondence. The unit is on occasion also referred to as the Eight Georgia Infantry Battalion, Eighth Georgia Regiment and in one case even the Eight Georgia Platoon. The Georgia Department of Archives and History refers to it as 8th Battalion Georgia Volunteer Infantry and copies of  Civil War company correspondence refer to the 8th Battalion Georgia Infantry. Much of this confusion is the result of  transcriber errors in official Civil War records, pension records and both official and non-official correspondence. It is most often confused with the Georgia Eighth Infantry Regiment, which fought at Gettysburg and numerous other engagements. It is referred to in Civil War Official Records of the War of the Rebellion as the Eighth Georgia Battalion.

20 thoughts on “History

  1. My great great grandfather John William Gray and Asa Littlefield organized the 8th with troops coming from Bartow, Gordon, Floyd counties. I helped put together the Bartow Family History book and am interested in your family. John’s brother Sampson Gray left Georgia after the War and settled in Arkansas. He served in the 8th under his brother.

  2. My great-grandfather William Joseph (Joe) Johnson, and his brother, James Pendleton Johnson, served in the 8th Georgia Battalion. Pendleton Joe survived the war and migrated to Lamar County, Texas. He died there December 27, 1923. Pendleton’s service records report treatment for gun shot wounds. Family history report his having died in service.

  3. An ancestor of mine was a lieutenant in command of B company 8th Georgia battalion before he was killed at Gettysburg when he was hit by a cannon ball in his right thigh and died of his injuries 2 days later on the 4th July 1863 but shortly before his death he asked the attending surgeon to role him over so he could die facing the battlefield

  4. I have numerous Confederate ancestors in other regiments but I recently discovered two ancestors evidently took part in the 8th’s history. In 1864, when Governor Brown issued a call to all Georgia Militia, evidently Robert Burnett Smith, aged 60, and his son John Calvin Smith, 16, of Campbell County (now southern Fulton County) joined company A, 8th GA Infantry at Atlanta, took part in some skirmishing, and wound up down in Albany where they surrendered and were paroled. Can anyone shed more light on this please?

  5. My ancestor is William Jefferson Andrews, Company E of the Georgia 8th. He was wounded in the leg at Gettysburg in the Wheat Field and captured by Union soldiers. He was later released and returned to his home near Rome, Georgia.
    Any other information about Company E or William Jefferson Andrews would be appreciated.

  6. Does anyone know of some units (what was left of them) from Alabama being assort into 8TH when it was in Mississippi? Looking for info on James Henry Awtrey,

  7. Be very careful when dealing with the 8th Georgia because there was a 8th Battalion and a 8th regiment. Two different units. The 8th regiment fought with the Army of Northern Virginia and the 8th Battalion fought with the Army of Tennessee mainly in Tenn, and Ga. Even Family Search and others mix the two.

  8. My gggrandfather, William Jackson Roberts was in the GA Eighth Battalion. I have have a handwritten page (pages 93 and 94) from some sort of ledger book with the first 36 men in Co. F., including officers, sergeants and corporals. It lists privates starting with the letter A through Levi Elrod.

    Don’t know why this ended up in our family. Would anyone in your organization like a picture of it?

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