“Thomas’ Legion of Cherokee Indians and Highlanders”
|September 27||The Thomas Legion was organized under the command of Colonel William Holland Thomas. Thomas was Principal Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the only man of European descent to become a chief of the Cherokee.
The Legion was a true combined arms organization. It included an infantry regiment of ten companies of infantry under the command of Lieutenant Colonel James R. Love II, of which Companies A & B were all Cherokee. Lieutenant Colonel William C. Walker commanded a cavalry battalion from Cherokee County, and a Cherokee Battalion was made up entirely of Cherokee. An artillery battery was added in April of 1863.
The Legion was assigned to the Department of East Tennessee, intended for local defense.
|March||Assigned to Jackson’s Brigade, Department of East Tennessee. The Legion would spend much of its duty guarding the important railroad line and bridges and hunting down deserters.|
|April 1||A battery of light artillery was added to the Legion.|
|July||Assigned to Jackson’s Brigade, Army of East Tennessee, Department of East Tennessee.|
|August||Assigned to Jackson’s Brigade, Department of East Tennessee.|
Telford’s Station & Limestone Station
|September||Cherokee companies were detached, leaving the Legion with eight companies|
|October||Assigned to Jackson’s Brigade, Ransom’s Division, Department of Western Virginia and East Tennessee.|
|October 27||Cherokee County|
|February||Assigned to Jackson’s Brigade, Department of East Tennessee.|
|April||Assigned to Jackson’s Brigade, Buckner’s Division, Department of East Tennessee. Three companies assigned to District of Western North Carolina, Department of East Tennessee|
Assigned to Smith’s Brigade, Wharton’s Division, Army of the Valley. The legion mustered around 500 men.
After the fighting in the Shenandoah Vlley the Legion mustered only 100 men.
After returning from the Shenandoah Thomas recruited the Legion back up to 1200 men, including 400 Cherokee.
White Sulphur Springs, North Carolina.
Here the Legion fired what is considered “The Last Shot” of the Civil War east of the Mississippi River.
Waynesville, North Carolina.
Thomas surrounded and captured the Union garrison without bloodshed. He then found out Lee had surrendered several days previously and agreed to surrender the Legion.
|May 10||Surrendered in detachments.|