Civil War Bushwhackers

Thomas' Legion
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Civil War Bushwhackers in the Mountains and Cumberland Gap

Civil War Bushwhacker Battles and Activities
Smoky Mountains and Cumberland Gap

Civil War Cumberland Gap Map
Civil War Cumberland Gap Map.jpg
Cumberland Gap was vital to both Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War

Thomas' Legion of Cherokee Indians and Mountaineers
Skirmishes with Bushwhackers in Winter 1863-64

Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies
(Commonly referred to as OR)
(Bushwhackers and Bushwhacking Activities)

Page 610 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter XLIV.

commanding general desires that you will endeavor to gain definite information on the subject, and let us know as soon as possible. I am directed to say also that you had better move up near Mooresburg and endeavor to forage on the other side of Clinch Mountain.

A case of small-pox has recently appeared in the army, and is directly traceable to the use of Yankee clothing. Please be cautious about using any of it.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. M. SORREL,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

Please send the accompanying letter to General Vaughn.*

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF EAST TENNESSEE,
Russellville, Tenn., January 25, 1864.

Brigadier General A. E. JACKSON,

Commanding Brigade:

The enemy appears to be operating on the south side of the French Broad against our foraging trains. They are reported to have already captured some thirty of our wagons. The commanding general desires that in addition to your operations against the bushwhackers you should give your attention to these parties and endeavor to capture them and protect the trains. The enemy is reported to have gone as high up as Newport.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. M. SORREL,

Lieutenant-Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF EAST TENNESSEE,
Russellville, Tenn., January 25, 1864.

Brigadier General M. JENKINS,

Brigadier General B. R. JOHNSON,

Commanding Division:

As the enemy's cavalry on the south side of the French Broad is not yet disposed of, the commanding general directs me to say that it will be unsafe for the present for your trains to go across the river.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. M. SORREL,

Lieutenant-Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF EAST TENNESSEE,
Russellville, Tenn., January 25, 1864.

Captain T. H . OSBORNE

Commanding Scout:

I am obliged to you for the information you give of the movements of the enemy against our trains. Do all you can in your vicinity to check them, and give us further information. Brigadier General

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*See p. 612.

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Page 611 Chapter XLIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

A. E. Jackson is above in the country, with his brigade, operating against the bushwhackers. Please send him the accompanying note.* The lieutenant-general commanding desires that he should protect our trains there, as well as capture any parties that he may encounter.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. M. SORREL,

Lieutenant-Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF EAST TENNESSEE,
Russellville, Tenn., January 25, 1864.

Major General W. T. MARTIN,

Commanding Cavalry:

I am in receipt of your communication of 5 and 7 p.m. yesterday. A note from Colonel Palmer, as Asheville, informs me that some 300 of the cavalry, late of General Vance's command, have been sent to Newport. I have sent orders for it to remain in that vicinity and scout toward Sevierville. This information is sent you that you may be able to use this cavalry in co-operation with you. The commanding general desires you to get your force across the French Broad as soon as you can and scout toward Sevierville. The enemy appears to have a considerable force on the south side, and it is necessary that you should meet it at once.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. M. SORREL,

Lieutenant-Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF EAST TENNESSEE,
Russellville, Tenn., January 25, 1864.

Colonel J. B. PALMER,

Commanding Western District, North Carolina, Asheville:

I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your communication of the 20th instant.# The information that you convey relative to the capture of General Vance gives us the only authentic particulars we have yet had. The commanding general is gratified that you have sent your cavalry to the vicinity of Newport. He desires that it should remain there and scout in the direction of Sevierville. As the enemy has now a large force on the south side of the French Broad, it will be necessary for your operations and movements to be conducted with great caution. You will have to be very watchful and alert. Some of our wagons have already been captured, twenty-eight in number, and I hope your cavalry will be active in the protection of our trains.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

G. M. SORREL,

Lieutenant-Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.

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*See p. 610.

#Not found; but see Palmer to Brent, Part I, p. 76.

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Recommended Reading: Bushwhackers, The Civil War in North Carolina: The Mountains (338 pages). Description: Trotter's book (which could have been titled "Murder, Mayhem, and Mountain Madness") is an epic backdrop for the most horrific murdering, plundering and pillaging of the mountain communities of western North Carolina during the state’s darkest hour—the American Civil War. Commonly referred to as Southern Appalachia, the North Carolina and East Tennessee mountains witnessed divided loyalties in its bushwhackers and guerrilla units. These so-called “bushwhackers” even used the conflict to settle old feuds and scores, which, in some cases, continued well after the war ended. Continued below...

Some bushwhackers were highly organized ‘fighting guerrilla units’ while others were a motley group of deserters and outliers, and, since most of them were residents of the region, they were familiar with the terrain and made for a “very formidable foe.” In this work, Trotter does a great job on covering the many facets of the bushwhackers, including their: battles, skirmishes, raids, activities, motives, the outcome, and even the aftermath. This book is also a great source for tracing ancestors during the Civil War; a must have for the family researcher of Southern Appalachia.

 

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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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