Friday, December 16, 2022

Booknotes: The Eighth Connecticut Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War

New Arrival:
The Eighth Connecticut Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War by William A. Liska and Kim L. Perlotto (McFarland, 2023).

The Eighth Connecticut Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War is the first modern full-length regimental history of a Nutmegger unit with a long service record. Organized in September 1861, the Eighth marched and fought across parts of North Carolina, Maryland, and Virginia for nearly the entire length of the war, mustering out in December 1865. Authors William Liska and Kim Perlotto spent many years finding and compiling letter, memoir, and journal sources, eventually transcribing over 1,000 documents written by members of the regiment. One can readily recognize the fruits of that labor in the text, which is liberally seasoned with quotes and passages from those integral primary sources.

Another appealing feature of the book is the cartography. Exceptional topography, terrain, and unit detail was put into the volume's 21 maps, and the authors also include a rare map notes appendix. The maps are not attributed to any individual, and I found no mention of a professional cartographer during my quick glance through the acknowledgments, preface, and introduction. If the authors created these themselves, count me very impressed.

Eastern service outside the standard sphere of the Army of the Potomac is another part of the book that attracts my interest. In addition to participating in the Maryland Campaign, the Battle of Fredericksburg, Cold Harbor, and the Petersburg Campaign, the regiment was part of the 1862 Burnside Expedition, performed occupation duties in the Suffolk/Portmouth area, marched in the 1863 Blackberry Raid that Hampton Newsome brilliantly recounted in his recent book on the topic, and experienced front line combat during several 1864 Bermuda Hundred Campaign engagements.

McFarland regimental histories of this kind frequently include rosters. In this case, a great deal of other information can be found in the appendix section, but readers looking for a roster are referred to the official state publication, a link to the PDF version provided in the preface.


  1. Your opening statement "first modern full-length regimental history" is inaccurate on several counts. In 2007 Richard W. Smith authored an extensive history of the 2nd Conn Vol Heavy Arty. Dr. Lesley Gordon published a full-length history of the 16th Conn in 2014 while David Moore wrote a 2 vol history of the 7th Conn in 2016.

    1. It is referring only to the 8th Conn, not any Conn regt. Also, please follow the comment rules and sign your name.


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