Kinsearching September 7, 2008




Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     After an interval of several years, another book--VOLUME XVI: THOMAS'S LEGION--has recently been added to the award-winning series, NORTH CAROLINA TROOPS, 1861 - 1865: A ROSTER. Edited by Matthew M. Brown and Michael W. Coffey, this new volume continues the excellent standards set by former editor Weymouth T. Jordan, Jr.

     VOLUME XVI begins with a footnoted, authoritative 246-page history of Thomas's Legion. The most unusual of North Carolina's Confederate Civil War units, it contained a large number of Cherokee Indians in its ranks. This unorthodox unit was the creation of William Holland THOMAS, an influential businessman and state legislator with strong ties to the Cherokees in the western part of the Tar Heel State. Raising a small battalion of Cherokees in April 1862, he gradually expanded his command with companies of white soldiers recruited in western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, and Virginia. By the end of 1862, Thomas's Legion included an infantry regiment and a battalion of infantry and cavalry; it gained an artillery battery in April 1863. Originally stationed in eastern Tennessee, Thomas and two companies departed for western North Carolina in September 1863 and organized a new battalion. The rest of the legion saw action in eastern Tennessee, southwestern Virginia, and the Shenandoah Valley before rejoining Thomas in early 1865 for the final military operations in western North Carolina.

     Following the informative background material is a complete roster along with military records of the field officers, staff, and troops--both Indian and white--who served in the legion. Details about individuals may vary widely from entry to entry. An example for a noncommissioned officer in 2nd Company A, Infantry Regiment, is the entry on page 265 for TEQUEEESKIH, a Cherokee Indian. "Born in what later became Jackson County," he "resided in Jackson County as a farmer prior to enlisting at Quallatown on April 9, 1862." According to his service record, he was "mustered in as Sergeant. Reported present in September-October, 1862 and in January-April, 1863. Later served in Company A, Indian Battalion." Additional data states: "His name was also rendered as Teque-eeskih and Sequeeeskih. He was also known as John Bigwitch." Another example for a noncommissioned officer is the entry on page 439 for Leander COLVIN, a private in Company F, Walker's Battalion. He was "born in Cherokee County where he resided as a farmer prior to enlisting at Maryville, Tennessee, at age 18, September 24, 1862, for the war. Transferred to Company K, 5th Regiment Tennessee Cavalry (McKenzie's), December 16, 1862."

     Because this publication contains data about Cherokees who saw service as Confederates, it deals with an overlooked and, therefore, little-known topic. By bringing this fascinating subject to light, Brown and Coffey have produced an unique work that will be of interest not only to inhabitants of the Tar Heel State but to historians, genealogists, and amateur Civil War buffs. Highly recommended, NORTH CAROLINA TROOPS, 1861 - 1865: A ROSTER, VOLUME XVI: THOMAS'S LEGION is a welcomed addition to literature on the Civil War.

     In addition to the introduction, the 537-page hardbound book contains maps, photographs, an abbreviated list of citations, and a thorough index of names and places. Prices, which include shipping and tax, are $63.38 for individuals or $58.03 for libraries.  The volume may be ordered online at or at For credit card orders, call 919-733-7442, extension 0, or write to the Historical Publications Section (N), Office of Archives and History, 4622 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, North Carolina 27699-4622.

     Charles N. Ferguson, 811 South Market, Shawnee, OK 74801 is seeking information about James MCCRACKEN and Mrs. Lou MCCRACKEN. She was from Aurora, TX. They married in Springtown, TX, about 1889.

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