Captain Joseph A. Kimsey

Thomas' Legion
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Captain Joseph Anderson Kimsey
Commanding, Company I, Thomas Legion of Cherokee Indians and Highlanders
Date Enlisted: July 24, 1862
Residence: Cherokee County
Commissioned: 1st Lt., July 24, 1862; Captain, January 7, 1864

Captain Willis Parker tendered his captain resignation on December 26, 1863, by reason of age and ill-health, and mustered-out at Bull's Gap, Tennessee. General Samuel Cooper recorded Parker's resignation for the Adjutant and Inspector General's Office (A&IGO) on January 7, 1864 (Confederate War Record, National Archives). On January 7, 1864, Captain Joseph Anderson Kimsey assumed command of Company I, Thomas' Legion.

Thomas' Legion Muster Records: Company I – Cherokee County – Willis Parker, Captain, and Jos. A. Kimsey [Joseph Anderson Kimsey], Captain; Sol. E. Egan, First Lieutenant, all of Cherokee county; N. G. Philips [Nathaniel Green Philips], First and Second Lieutenant, and P. B. Gailer, Second Lieutenant, both of Graham county. Number of officers and men, 109.

On July 24, 1862, Company I initially mustered as Company D, Walker's Battalion, at Valleytown, Cherokee County, North Carolina. On September 27, 1862, when the Thomas Legion officially mustered at Knoxville, it became Company I, Infantry Regiment, Thomas' Legion. After the Battle of Cedar Creek, October 19, 1864, Companies C and I were temporarily consolidated under the command of Captain Nathan G. Philips. Company I was also involved in the Skirmish at Hanging Dog (includes details and contributions of Captain James Kimsey).

John H. Stewart's account of Company I, Thomas' Legion of Cherokee Indians and Mountaineers: "Col. Thomas sent Captains Commissions to J. W. Cooper of Cheoah and Willis Parker of Valley River late in 1861 or early in 1862 and asked each of them to get up a Company to join his Regiment. They each made up a Company, Cooper's Company camped at what is now Robbinsville. Parker's Company camped at what is now Marble and called it Camp Valley Town. I joined Parker's Company. Both Companies drilled at their camps for a short time and then were ordered to Chilhowie [Chilhowee: as the crow flies, it is about 20 miles from Andrews, NC], Tennessee and there drilled until further orders. From that time until near Christmas 1864, the two Companies were together in the 69th Regiment part of Thomas' Legion. They were together every day, in camp, on the march and in battles."

Related Reading:

The Standard of Raleigh, Aug. 19, 1863
               MY MOTHER -- SARAH KIMSEY
  The subject of this  brief memoir was born in Macon County, N.C. , on the
25th of November, 1804, and was married to my father, JAMES KIMSEY, November
the 18th, 1828. She died at her residence at Fort Hembree, Clay County, on a
beautiful Sabbath morning, July 12th, 1863, aged 58 years, eight months and 18
days.
                           J. A. KIMSEY, 1ST LIEUTENANT
                           Company I, Thomas' Legion

Recommended Reading: North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865: A Roster (Volume XVI: Thomas's Legion) (Hardcover, 537 pages), North Carolina Office of Archives and History. 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.

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Additional Reading:
 
Kimsey was sometimes spelled Kimzey in the census records.
For more information about Captain James A. Kimsey, see:
 

Recommended Reading: Hardtack & Coffee or The Unwritten Story of Army Life. Description: Most histories of the Civil War focus on battles and top brass. Hardtack and Coffee is one of the few to give a vivid, detailed picture of what ordinary soldiers endured every day—in camp, on the march, at the edge of a booming, smoking hell. John D. Billings of Massachusetts enlisted in the Army of the Potomac and survived the hellish conditions as a “common foot soldier” of the American Civil War. "Billings describes an insightful account of the conflict – the experiences of every day life as a common foot-soldier – and a view of the war that is sure to score with every buff." Continued below...

The authenticity of his book is heightened by the many drawings that a comrade, Charles W. Reed, made while in the field. This is the story of how the Civil War soldier was recruited, provisioned, and disciplined. Described here are the types of men found in any outfit; their not very uniform uniforms; crowded tents and makeshift shelters; difficulties in keeping clean, warm, and dry; their pleasure in a cup of coffee; food rations, dominated by salt pork and the versatile cracker or hardtack; their brave pastimes in the face of death; punishments for various offenses; treatment in sick bay; firearms and signals and modes of transportation. Comprehensive and anecdotal, Hardtack and Coffee is striking for the pulse of life that runs through it.

 

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, dedicated an unprecedented 10 years of his life to this first yet detailed history of the Thomas Legion. But it must be said that this priceless addition has placed into our hands the rich story of an otherwise forgotten era of the Eastern Cherokee Indians and the mountain men of both East Tennessee and western North Carolina who would fill the ranks of the Thomas Legion during the four year Civil War. Crow sought out every available primary and secondary source by traveling to several states and visiting from ancestors of the Thomas Legion to special collections, libraries, universities, museums, including the Museum of the Cherokee, to various state archives and a host of other locales for any material on the unit in order to preserve and present the most accurate and thorough record of the legion. Crow, during his exhaustive fact-finding, was granted access to rare manuscripts, special collections, privately held diaries, and never before seen nor published photos and facts of this only legion from North Carolina. Crow remains absent from the text as he gives a readable account of each unit within the legion's organization, and he includes a full-length roster detailing each of the men who served in its ranks, including dates of service to some interesting lesser known facts.

Storm in the Mountains, Thomas' Confederate Legion of Cherokee Indians and Mountaineers is presented in a readable manner that is attractive to any student and reader of American history, Civil War, North Carolina studies, Cherokee Indians, ideologies and sectionalism, and I would be remiss without including the lay and professional genealogist since the work contains facts from ancestors, including grandchildren, some of which Crow spent days and overnights with, that further complement the legion's roster with the many names, dates, commendations, transfers, battle reports, with those wounded, captured, and killed, to lesser yet interesting facts for some of the men. Crow was motivated with the desire to preserve history that had long since been overlooked and forgotten and by each passing decade it only sank deeper into the annals of obscurity. Crow had spent and dedicated a 10 year span of his life to full-time research of the Thomas Legion, and this fine work discusses much more than the unit's formation, its Cherokee Indians, fighting history, and staff member narratives, including the legion's commander, Cherokee chief and Confederate colonel, William Holland Thomas. Numerous maps and photos also allow the reader to better understand and relate to the subjects. Storm in the Mountains, Thomas' Confederate Legion of Cherokee Indians and Mountaineers is highly commended, absolutely recommended, and to think that over the span of a decade Crow, for us, would meticulously research the unit and present the most factual and precise story of the men, the soldiers who formed, served, and died in the famed Thomas Legion.

 

Recommended Reading: The Soldier's View: The Civil War Art of Keith Rocco (Hardcover). Description: A splendid collection of more than 100 paintings and sketches from one of the leading artists working in the Civil War field. The text features carefully selected eye-witness accounts that accompany the paintings, and the result is a moving ensemble of images and words that pays homage to the common soldier. Rocco's oils are reproduced here on acid-free, heavy art paper and placed in a finely sewn binding. "This art is more graphic than the most gripping Civil War photo or picture that I have ever viewed."

 
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

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