History

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.

One thought 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.

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