ⓘ Thomas' Legion


ⓘ Thomas Legion

Thomas Legion, also known as Thomas Legion of Cherokee Indians and Highlanders, Thomas Legion of Indians and Highlanders, and the 69th North Carolina Regiment, was a unit of the Confederate Army in the American Civil War. The formation was organized in 1862 by William Holland Thomas and fought in the last skirmish of the war in North Carolina before surrendering in May 1865.

The regiment was unusual in many ways. Thomas, the only white chief the Cherokee Indians, recruited a significant number of the Cherokee. In addition, like several other groups of the Civil war, it was a real Legion that is a combined arms unit with infantry, cavalry and artillery.

William Holland Thomas actively promoted the idea of Cherokee to fight for the Confederacy. In 1862 he organized 200 Cherokee Indians in North Carolina as Junaluska the zouaves, named after the main Junaluska in April, he raised a battalion of Cherokee of North Carolina. His application for the recruitment of additional Cherokee and White were endorsed by the authorities of the Confederation, and he was authorized to raise a Legion.

It was officially organized on September 27, 1862, in Knoxville, Tennessee, with recruits, primarily from Western North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee. The unit, under the command of newly elected Colonel William Holland Thomas, was initially $ 1125 men in the infantry regiment and battalion of cavalry. The infantry was organized in ten companies, two Cherokee companies A and B and eight white C-I, K, and it became known as the loves of the regiment, under the command of Colonel James R. love II. Walkers battalion was raised in Cherokee County, North Carolina William Stringfield and is headed by Colonel William S. Walker. The third element was the Cherokee battalion consisting of 400 Cherokee. John T. Levis light artillery battery was added on 1 APR 1863.

The device was mainly to protect the region. Part of the Legion was sent to the valley of the Powells in late 1862 and was ambushed in the Baptist gap. When Cherokee Lieutenant Astooga Stoga was killed leading a counter-attack, fury of the Indian comrades scalped a few dead or wounded Union soldier. To defuse the situation, Colonel Thomas scalps returned to the Soviet Union with an apology.

The Legion was sent to the East to join General Jubal early in valley campaigns of 1864 in the Shenandoah valley of Virginia. At the moment in the Legion was up to 500 people. He fought in the battle of cedar Creek on 19 Oct 1864. By the time the Legion was transferred back to North Carolina, he had less than 100 soldiers. Grateful General Gabriel C. Wharton stated that "the gallant conduct of your command rendered your efforts to rejoin your command in North Carolina failed, and a constant refusal to your many applications for transfer is complimentary evidence of the esteem in which you were, and gratitude for the services you could provide."

Back in his home state, Thomas brought the unit strength up to 1.200 people, including 400 Cherokee, April 1, 1865. Eight days later, however, Robert E. Lee signed the act of surrender of the army of Ulysses S. Grant. Thomas and his Legion surrendered to the forces of the Union in waynesville, North Carolina, on may 10.

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