8th Illinois Cavalry Regiment
The 8th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Cavalry was a cavalry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. The regiment served the duration of the war, and was the only cavalry regiment to serve the entire war in the Army of the Potomac. They also aided in the hunt for John Wilkes Booth and served as President Lincoln's honor guard while he lay in state under the rotunda. Lincoln gave them the nickname of "Farnsworth's Abolitionist Regiment" when he watched them march past the White House.
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8th Illinois Cavalry Regiment 1861-1862
Organized at St. Charles, Ills., and mustered in
Moved to Washington, D.C.; At Meridian Hill
Attached to Cavalry, 2nd Army Corps, Army of the Potomac
Advance on Manassas, Va.
Reconnaissance to Gainesville
Operations on the Orange and Alexandria R. R.
Warrenton Junction, Bealeton Station
Reconnaissance to the Rappahannock
April 23-May 1
Moved to the Peninsula, Virginia; Attached to Stoneman's Light Brigade
Battle of Williamsburg
May 31-June 1
Battle of Fair Oaks, Seven Pines
Attached to Averill's Cavalry Brigade, 5th Army Corps
June 25-July 1
Seven days before Richmond
Mechanicsville, Atlee's Station and near Hanover Court House
Garnett's Farm and Gaines' Mill
Despatch Station (Companies E and K)
White Oak Swamp and Glendale
Reconnaissance from Harrison's Landing; At Harrison's Landing
Expedition to Malvern Hill
Movement to Fortress Monroe, thence to Alexandria
Monocacy Church and Nolansville
Sugar Loaf Mountain
Middletown and Catoctin Mountain
Reconnaissance from Sharpsburg to Shepardstown, W. Va.
Pursuit of Stuart into Pennsylvania
Mouth of Monocacy
Sharpsburg and Hagerstown Pike
Purcellsville and near Upperville (Detachment)
Barber's Cross Roads, Chester Gap and Markham
Markham Station and Barber's Cross Roads
Battle of Fredericksburg, Va.
8th Illinois Cavalry Regiment 1863-1865
Operations in Westmoreland and Richmond Counties
March 15 and 29
April 29-May 8
Clendennin's Raid below Fredericksburg
Brandy Station and Beverly Ford
Battle of Gettysburg
Commanded by Major John Beveridge; the 8th had 491 men present, of whom 1 was killed, 5 wounded and 1 missing.
From the monument: "First line of battle July 1, 1863. Occupied until relieved by 1st Corps. One squadron picketed ridge east of Marsh Creek and supported by another squadron met enemy's right advance, Lieut. Jones, Co. E, fired first shot as the enemy crossed Marsh Creek Bridge. On reforming line regiment took an advanced position on Hagerstown Road. Late in the day delayed enemy's advance by attacking his right flank, thereby aiding the infantry in withdrawing to Cemetery Hill. In the evening encamped on left flank. July 2,1863 Buford's Division retired toward Westminster."
The rear of the monument is inscribed with the name, "David Diffenbaugh," the only member of the regiment killed at Gettysburg.
Funkstown, Md.and Boonesborough
Chester Gap and Benevola or Beaver Creek
At and near Funkstown, Md.
July 31-August 1
Raccoon Ford and Stevensburg
Culpeper and Pony Mountain
Reconnaissance across the Rapidan
Jack's Shop, Madison Court House
Stevensburg, near Kelly's Ford and Brandy Station
Fleetwood or Brandy Station
Madison Court House
Near Catlett's Station
Major John Beveridge leaves command
Advance to line of the Rappahannock
Warrenton or Sulphur Springs, Jeffersonton and Hazel River
November 26 -
Mine Run Campaign
Jennings' Farm, near Ely's Ford
January to March
Camp at Giesboro Point. Veterans on furlough until May
Attached to Defenses of Washington, D.C., 22nd Army Corps; Patrol duty at Washington, D.C., and scout duty at Fairfax, Va., having numerous engagements with Mosby's guerrillas and the Black Horse Cavalry
Reconnaissance to Madison Court House (Detachment)
Rapidan Campaign (Detachment)
Craig's Meeting House, Va. (Detachment)
Todd's Tavern (Detachment)
Alsop's Farm (Detachment)
Guinea Station (Detachment)
Salem Church and Pole Cat Creek
Point of Rocks, Md.and Noland's Ferry
Middletown and Solomon's Gap
July 7, 8
Battle of Monocacy; Rockville and Urbana
Near Fort Stevens, D.C.
Along northern defenses of Washington, D.C.
Operations at Snicker's Gap (Detachment)
Scout from Fairfax Court House to Hopewell Gap
Scout from Fairfax Court House to Brentsville
Scout to Aldie and Middleburg (Co. B)
Operations about Warrenton, Bealeton Station, Sulphur Springs and Centreville
March - July
Duty about Washington, D.C.
Ordered to St. Louis, Mo., then to Chicago, Ill.