Albumen photograph, 9.5 x 14.25 in., on 16 x 20 in. mount. Inscribed caption: "8th NYSM / Camp McDowell, Arlington Heights." N.p., n.d., [June 1861]. Twelve officers of the New York State Militia stand with their long guns and swords. At the center sits an African American man, likely a "contraband," the term used for newly-escaped formerly enslaved people. No photographer's imprint present, but possibly taken by Mathew Brady. A similar outdoor group portrait of the 8th NYSM at Camp McDowell by Brady is housed at the Medford Historical Society & Museum (1948.1.3605).
Known as the "Washington Grays," the 8th New York State Milita was organized for 3-months service and mustered in at Annapolis on April 26, 1861. On June 8, they were stationed in Washington to aid in its defense where this image was taken before they joined McDowell's Army of Northeast, Virginia, advanced on Manassas, and participated in the First Battle of Bull Run on July 21st. The regiment losing 8 men killed, 17 wounded, and 4 officers and 9 enlisted men captured. They were mustered out at New York City on August 2. They were mustered twice more in the course of the war, again for 3-month terms, first in May 29-Sept. 9, 1862 when they aided in the defenses of Yorktown, VA, and again in June and July 1863 which saw them skirmishing throughout Pennsylvania.
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