William Holland Thomas' Legion

Thomas' Legion
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William Holland Thomas' Legion was North Carolina's only Civil War "Legion"

Thomas' Legion Cherokee Indians
Thomas' Legion Cherokee Indians.jpg
1903 Reunion of the the Thomas Legion's Cherokee Indians

Thomas' Legion fired "The Last Shot" of the American Civil War east of the Mississippi. Commanding Colonel William Holland Thomas is the only white man to have served as a Cherokee chief and his cousins included President Zachary Taylor and President Jefferson Davis. Thomas' Legion recruited Cherokees, one of its soldiers was awarded the rare Confederate Medal of Honor, it served with General John C. Breckinridge (fourteenth Vice President of the United States and cousin to Mary Todd Lincoln), and was assigned to the same division as General George S. Patton's grandfather.
Furthermore, with the assistance of Thomas' Legion, the Union forces never subjugated Western North Carolina. It captured the Union occupied city White Sulphur Springs, North Carolina, and, moreover, is perhaps the only unit to have captured an enemy occupied city in order to negotiate its own surrender. In 2003 the "Last Surviving Union Widow" died; her husband had fought against Thomas' Legion 140 years earlier.

 

Highly Recommended Reading: Storm in the Mountains: Thomas' Confederate Legion of Cherokee Indians and Mountaineers (Thomas' Legion: The Sixty-ninth North Carolina Regiment). Description: Vernon H. Crow, Storm in the Mountains, spent 10 years conducting extensive Thomas Legion's research. Crow was granted access to rare manuscripts, special collections, and privately held diaries which add great depth to this rarely discussed Civil War legion. He explores and discusses the unit's formation, fighting history, and life of the legion's commander--Cherokee chief and Confederate colonel--William Holland Thomas. Continued below...

Numerous maps and photographs allow the reader to better understand and relate to the subjects discussed. It also contains rosters which is an added bonus for researchers and genealogists. Crow, furthermore, left no stone unturned while examining the many facets of the Thomas Legion and his research is conveyed on a level that scores with Civil War students and scholars alike.
 
NEW! North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865: A Roster (Volume XVI: Thomas's Legion) (Hardcover, 537 pages), North Carolina Office of Archives and History (June 26, 2008). Description: The volume begins with an authoritative 246-page history of Thomas's Legion. The history, including Civil War battles and campaigns, is followed by a complete roster and service records of the field officers, staff, and troops that served in the legion. A thorough index completes the volume. Continued below...

Volume XVI of North Carolina Troops: A Roster contains the history and roster of the most unusual North Carolina Confederate Civil War unit, significant because of the large number of Cherokee Indians who served in its ranks. Thomas's Legion was the creation of William Holland Thomas, an influential businessman, state legislator, and Cherokee chief. He initially raised a small battalion of Cherokees in April 1862, and gradually expanded his command with companies of white soldiers raised in western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, and Virginia. By the end of 1862, Thomas's Legion comprised an infantry regiment and a battalion of infantry and cavalry. An artillery battery was added in April 1863. Furthermore, in General Early's Army of the Valley, the Thomas Legion was well-known for its fighting prowess. It is also known for its pivotal role in the last Civil War battle east of the Mississippi River. The Thomas Legion mustered more than 2,500 soldiers and it closely resembled a brigade. With troop roster, muster records, and Compiled Military Service Records (CMSR) this volume is also a must have for anyone interested in genealogy and researching Civil War ancestors. Simply stated, it is an outstanding source for genealogists.

 
Recommended Viewing: The Civil War - A Film by Ken Burns. Review: The Civil War - A Film by Ken Burns is the most successful public-television miniseries in American history. The 11-hour Civil War didn't just captivate a nation, reteaching to us our history in narrative terms; it actually also invented a new film language taken from its creator. When people describe documentaries using the "Ken Burns approach," its style is understood: voice-over narrators reading letters and documents dramatically and stating the writer's name at their conclusion, fresh live footage of places juxtaposed with still images (photographs, paintings, maps, prints), anecdotal interviews, and romantic musical scores taken from the era he depicts. Continued below...
The Civil War uses all of these devices to evoke atmosphere and resurrect an event that many knew only from stale history books. While Burns is a historian, a researcher, and a documentarian, he's above all a gifted storyteller, and it's his narrative powers that give this chronicle its beauty, overwhelming emotion, and devastating horror. Using the words of old letters, eloquently read by a variety of celebrities, the stories of historians like Shelby Foote and rare, stained photos, Burns allows us not only to relearn and finally understand our history, but also to feel and experience it. "Hailed as a film masterpiece and landmark in historical storytelling." "[S]hould be a requirement for every student."
 
Recommended Reading: The History Buff's Guide to the Civil War (400 pages). Description: Exploring the Civil War can be fascinating, but with so many battles, leaders, issues, and more than 50,000 books on these subjects, the task can also be overwhelming. Was Gettysburg the most important battle? Were Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis so different from each other? How accurate is re-enacting? Who were the worst commanding generals? Thomas R. Flagel uses annotated lists organized under more than thirty headings to see through the powder smoke and straighten Sherman’s neckties, ranking and clarifying the best, the worst, the largest, and the most lethal aspects of the conflict. Continued below...
Major sections are fashioned around the following topics:
• Antebellum: Investigates the critical years before the war, in particular the growing crises, extremists, and slavery.
• Politics: Contrasts the respective presidents and constitutions of the Union and Confederacy, the most prominent politicians, and the most volatile issues of the times.
• Military Life: Offers insights into the world of the common soldiers, how they fought, what they ate, how they were organized, what they saw, how they lived, and how they died.
• The Home Front: Looks at the fastest growing field in Civil War research, including immigration, societal changes, hardships and shortages, dissent, and violence far from the firing lines.
• In Retrospect: Ranks the heroes and heroines, greatest victories and failures, firsts and worsts.
• Pursuing the War: Summarizes Civil War study today, including films, battlefield sites, books, genealogy, re-enactments, restoration, preservation, and other ventures.
From the antebellum years to Appomattox and beyond, The History Buff’s Guide to the Civil War is a quick and compelling guide to one of the most complex and critical eras in American history.
 
Recommended Reading: The Life of Johnny Reb: The Common Soldier of the Confederacy (444 pages) (Louisiana State University Press) (Updated edition: November 2007) Description: The Life of Johnny Reb does not merely describe the battles and skirmishes fought by the Confederate foot soldier. Rather, it provides an intimate history of a soldier's daily life--the songs he sang, the foods he ate, the hopes and fears he experienced, the reasons he fought. Wiley examined countless letters, diaries, newspaper accounts, and official records to construct this frequently poignant, sometimes humorous account of the life of Johnny Reb. In a new foreword for this updated edition, Civil War expert James I. Robertson, Jr., explores the exemplary career of Bell Irvin Wiley, who championed the common folk, whom he saw as ensnared in the great conflict of the 1860s. Continued below...
About Johnny Reb:
"A Civil War classic."--Florida Historical Quarterly
"This book deserves to be on the shelf of every Civil War modeler and enthusiast."--Model Retailer
"[Wiley] has painted with skill a picture of the life of the Confederate private. . . . It is a picture that is not only by far the most complete we have ever had but perhaps the best of its kind we ever shall have."--Saturday Review of Literature
 

Recommended Reading: Native American Weapons. Review From Library Journal: In this taut and generously illustrated overview, Taylor (Buckskin and Buffalo: The Artistry of the Plains Indians) zeroes in on North American Indian arms and armor from prehistoric times to the late 19th century, dividing his subject into five efficient categories. The chapter on striking weapons covers war clubs and tomahawks, cutting weapons include knives from Folsom stone to Bowie, piercing weapons comprise spears and bows and arrows, and defensive weapons feature the seldom-emphasized armor both men and horses wore in battle. Most interesting, however, is the chapter on symbolic weapons, which describes how powerful icons on dress or ornament were used to ward off blows. The illustrations mostly color photos of objects help the reader see distinctions between, for example, a regular tomahawk and a spontoon or French one. Continued below...

Old paintings and photographs show the weapons held by their owners, giving both a time frame and a sense of their importance. The text is packed and yet very readable, and the amount of history, tribal distinction, and construction detail given in such a short book is astounding. This excellent introduction is a bargain for any library. Featuring 155 color photographs and illustrations, Native American Weapons surveys weapons made and used by American Indians north of present-day Mexico from prehistoric times to the late nineteenth century, when European weapons were in common use. Colin F. Taylor skillfully describes the weapons and their roles in tribal culture, economy, and political systems. He categorizes the weapons according to their function--from striking, cutting, and piercing weapons to those with defensive and even symbolic properties, and he documents the ingenuity of the people who crafted them. Taylor explains the history and use of weapons such as the atlatl, a lethal throwing stick whose basic design was enhanced by carving, painting, or other ornamentation. The atlatl surprised De Soto's expedition and contributed to the Spaniards' defeat. Another highlight is Taylor's description of the evolution of body armor, first fashioned to defend against arrows, then against bullets from early firearms. Over thousands of years the weapons were developed and creatively matched to their environment--highly functional and often decorative, carried proudly in tribal gatherings and in war.

Try the Search Engine for Related Studies: William Holland Thomas Legion Cherokee Indians Civil War, Native Americans North Carolina American Indian, Cherokee Nation, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Civil War History Types of Weapons and Warfare

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