Thomas' Legion [also called Thomas' Legion of Indians and Highlanders or 69th Regiment] was organized at Knoxville, Tennessee, during September, 1862, by Colonel W.H. Thomas. Its members were recruited in the counties of Haywood, Jackson, and Cherokee and
when formed totaled 1,125 men. The unit contained an infantry regiment and a cavalry battalion (four companies) and for the most part served as one command. It skirmished in East Tennessee and during May, 1864, moved to Virginia. Here it participated in
Early's Shenandoah Valley operations, then returned to North Carolina. It was active at Soco Gap and Mill Creek and surrendered at Waynesville on May 10, 1865.
The 2nd Battalion, also known as the Indian Battalion had its nucleus in the ̊unaluska Zuaves۬ a North Carolina militia
company of Cherokees organized in Quallatown in May 1861 by Col. Thomas. Company A was
mustered into CS service April 9, 1862, at Quallatown. Company B was organized in Knoxville, Tn, on
May 18, 1862, by a division of the over strength Co A. In July 1862, these two companies formed part
of Thomas' Infantry Battalion. The battalion was increased and reorganized as Thomas' Infantry
Regiment on September 27, 1862, in Knoxville. The Cherokee companies then became Cos C and D,
respectively. In October, another battalion (Walker's) was added to Thomas' command, which thereafter
became known as Thomas' Legion of Indians and Highlanders. In January 1863, the two Cherokee
companies reverted back to their previous designations as Co A and B of the Infantry Regiment (Love's),
Thomas' Legion. The Cherokee companies were detached from the regiment in September 1863, and from
then on served as a separate battalion under Thomas' direct command (who at that point relinquished
field command of the Legion). Company C was added in Quallatown in December 1863, and Company D
organized in the summer of 1864. Not until April 9, 1865, however, was the Cherokee Battalion
officially mustered as a separate unit of Thomas' Legion. At that time the battalion reportedly totaled about 300 men.
Col. Thomas relinquished field command of the Legion about 1 Sep 63 (officially in
command until March 1865), except the Cherokee Battalion, which he personally commanded until war's end.
William H. Thomas
James R. Love
William N. Springfield
James A. McKamy
William C. Walker Assignments:
Duty in the department of East Tennessee
Army of Western Virginia and East Tennessee.
Department of southwest Virginia and East Tennessee
Department of North Carolina and Southern Virginia
Army of the Valley District
Drpartment of North Carolina. Battles:
Skirmished in East Tennessee
Early's Shenandoah Valley Operations
The roster of this unit contains the names of 4279 men.
"A" a mounted Indian company; men from Haywood and Swain Co.
"B" a mounted Indian company; men from Cherokee Co, North Carolina Jefferson Co, Tennessee.
"C" a white infantry company; men from Haywood County
"D" a mounted white company; men from Jackson Co, North Carolina, and Jefferson Co, Tennessee.
"E" a white infantry company; men from Haywood County,
"F" a white infantry company; men from Jackson County,
"G" a white infantry company; men from Jackson County.
"H" a mounted white company men from Cherokee County.
"I" a white infantry company; men from Cherokee Co.
"K" a white infantry company; men from Union County Tennessee. Bibliography for Research: