Gettysburg and the 8th Regiment New Jersey Volunteers:

The numbers game - an investigation of who was there through an investigation of the primary sources. The purpose of this brief article is to determine which men of Company H were present at the battle on July 2, 1863 in an effort to provide a sense of texture to an otherwise horrific event.

Prior to the engagement the following is the closest extant report yet found. The Consolidated Morning Report for the Regiment, filed by “1st Lt. William Mason, Adjutant of the regiment, dated June 28th, 1863, detailed a total of 14 Field and Staff, 165 enlisted men for an aggregate of 179 present for duty. Interestingly, the report specified that the 14 Officers and only 137 of the 165 enlisted men present for duty were equipped.” Surprisingly “28 of the enlisted men were reported as unequipped. Company H was reported with one officer, and twenty enlisted men for an aggregate strength of 21 present for duty.” Of that number, “1 enlisted man was reported as not equipped but present for duty.” 1

A review of “Official List of Killed & Wounded - 8th Regiment N.J.V. - Gettysburg” prepared by John G. Langston, Captain Co. K, commanding the Regiment dated July 11, 1863 detailed the following information concerning the men of Company H. “Captain Andrew S. Davis was wounded in the thigh dangerously.” He would later die from the wound. Sergeant “William Donnelly, hand slight;” and privates “John Gustus, arm slight; Irwin Lake, thigh seriously; Obediah Evans, arm slight; Irwin Wilson, hand slight; Elisha Bowlby, leg slight; William Ralph, leg amputated;” while the following men were listed as missing, John Bird, Jonas Longenour, and Corporal Andrew J. Hoppock.”2 This accounts for 11 of the 21 men present for duty as reported on June 28, 1863. This represented a staggering 50% attrition rate. Who were the other men who faced the maelstrom of battle on that most famous of bloodied fields? And were there more than an additional ten credited with having been at the battle?

An examination of the Company roster reviewed that the following men were credited with being at the battle and not recorded on wounded list. “Privates William B. Smith, Archibald Powers, Henry H. Musseleman, George Moore, Charles P. Lee, John D. Ketcham, Sergeant William R. Lunger, private William Hull, Corporal Aaron Hoffman, private Frederick Davis, Corporal Samuel Berry.”3

It appears that in reality there were twenty-two men of Company H who went forth onto the battlefield at Gettysburg that fateful day of July 2nd, 1863. They were Captain Andrew S. Davis, Sergeants William Donnelly and William R. Lunger, Corporals Samuel Berry, Aaron Hoffman and Andrew J. Hoppock, privates John Gustus, Irwin Lake, Obediah Evans, Irwin Wilson, Elisha Bowlby, William Ralph, John Bird, Jonas Longenour, William B. Smith, Archibald Powers, Henry H. Musseleman, George Moore, Charles P. Lee, John D. Ketcham, William Hull, and Frederick Davis. Thus the men of Company H, those reported wounded, missing, and unscathed, are no longer shrouded in darkness and obscurity but have been brought to light and their role in the great battle given a place of honor. I ask you to remember this the next time that you stroll about the monument and flank markers of the 8th Regiment at Gettysburg.

It is my hope to be able to do the same for each of the other companies of the regiment and present the findings.

Prepared by Skip Riddle, by blood related to Private Thomas K. Riddle, Musconetcong Guards, Company H, 8th Regiment, N.J. Vols.

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1 National Archives. Records Group 94. Adjutant General’s Office. 8th NJ Inf. Regimental Volumes 9W3/8/6/A.

2 New Jersey State Archives. Records Group: Dept. of Defense. Subgroup: Military Records. Series: Civil War. Box 84, Book 404, item 16.

3 National Archives. Records Group 94. Adjutant General’s Office. 8th NJ Inf. Regimental Volumes 9W3/8/6/A.