North Carolina
Thomas Legion



      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 totalled 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 «Junaluska Zuaves», 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’ NC 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 totalled 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.


      The infantry regiment was commanded by Colonel William Holland Thomas, Lieutenant Colonel James R. Love, and Major William N. Springfield. Its cavalry battalion was under the command of Lieutenant Colonels James A. McKamy and William C. Walker




      Company A. William Holland Thomas, 9 April 62, to Major of Thomas’ Inf Bn Jul 62; James W Terrell, 19 Jul 62 (from 1st Lt), to AQM of Thomas’ Inf Regt (later Legion) 27 Sep 62; Matthew H Love, 27 Sep 62 (from the 16th NC Inf Regt).
      Company B. Gideon M Hanks, 18 May 62, KIA late 1863; James Taylor (from 1st Lt)
      Company C. Campbell H Taylor (from 2nd Lt, Co B), resigned 4 Jun 64; James Welch
      Company D. Black Fox




    Featured Books & CD-ROMS
    Evans, Clement A.
    Confederate Military History - North Carolina Volume
    Rigdon, John C.
    The Civil War in North Carolina

    Rigdon, John C.
    Historical Sketch and Roster of the North Carolina Thomas Legion
    The Southern Historical Society Papers

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