Lieutenant Colonel James A. McKamy

Thomas' Legion
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Lt. Col. James A. McKamy
Thomas' North Carolina Legion

James McKamy
During the American Civil War (1861-1865), Lieutenant Colonel James A. McKamy would command Walker's Battalion, Thomas' North Carolina Legion, following the murder of Lt. Col. William C. Walker, the unit's namesake, but when McKamy was captured at the Third Battle of Winchester, Lt James A. Robinson would assume command. Robinson would lead this unit for the remainder of the Shenandoah Valley Campaign, from 19 September 1864 to its return to North Carolina with Special Order 267, followed by the leadership of Lt. Col. William W. Stringfield, with Captain Stephen Whitaker commanding the battalion at war's end.

POW McKamy would be released from Fort Delaware Prison during the summer of 1865 and return to Blount County, Tennessee, and resume his mercantile business before moving to Spring Place near Dalton, Georgia. While residing in the Dalton area, September 3, 1874, The North Georgia Citizen recorded, "Sabbath Services at the Presbyterian Church in Spring Place were unusually interesting and impressive. Rev. Jones preached to a large and attractive audience in his usual felicitous style. Col. James A. McKamy was ordained Elder and sacrament administered to a goodly number of communicants."


According to Vernon H. Crow, Storm in the Mountains, Elder James A. Mckamy, former Lieutenant Colonel of Walker's Battalion, would die in 1898* while at the home of his friend and fellow legionnaire James A. Robinson, ex Lieutenant, Company E, Walker's Battalion.



Dalton, Georgia, is about an hour's drive north of Atlanta and only 25 minutes south of Chattanooga on Interstate 75. Home to the world's largest carpet manufacturer Shaw Industries Group, Inc., a subsidiary of Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., Dalton is known worldwide as the Carpet Capital of the World.




*Vernon H. Crow, Storm in the Mountains, and Captain Robert A. Aiken, North Carolina Regiments, both note McKamy's death in 1898.


In 1901, while writing the official history of Walker's Battalion for the State of North Carolina, Robert A. Aiken, Captain Company H of said battalion, wrote from his home in Cherokee County, NC, that Lt. Col. [James A.] McKamy died in 1898. Aside this jot, Aiken gives no additional details, so he had either been misinformed about the late battalion commander's passing prior to completing the publication in 1901, or it was a different James A. McKamy (born Tennessee died Georgia) (Oct. 29, 1825-Dec. 2, 1906), who was laid to rest five years later on December 2, 1906, in the Spring Place Cemetery, Chatsworth, Murray County, GA. The listed spouse for Mr. McKamy at stated cemetery was Nancy A. McKamy (Oct. 6, 1827-Dec. 11, 1906). According to census records, the couple had been married for more than 50 years when Mr. McKamy, aged  80, died. It is also touching to note that Mrs. McKamy, aged 78, would meet her husband just 9 days later.


The Masonic symbol was also inscribed on the headstone for the only James A. McKamy interred at Spring Place Cemetery. According to The Freemasons' Monthly Magazine, Vol. 14, the Grand Secretary's Office, Nashville, Oct. 23, 1854, recorded James A. McKamy, a resident of Maryville, Tennessee, as an officer for the current year of The Order in Tennessee.

Sources: Crow, Vernon H. Crow. Storm in the MountainsThe North Georgia Citizen, September 3, 1874 (currently The Daily Citizen); Clark, Walter. NC Regiments; Freemason's Monthly Magazine, Vol. 14; and Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.

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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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.


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: Tracing Your Civil War Ancestor (Hardcover). Description: It is tantalizing to speculate about the role your ancestors may have played in the great national drama of the Civil War. But family records are often inaccurate, or provide precious few leads on where to begin the search. Now, experienced historian Bertram Hawthorne Groene shows you how easy it is to trace your forbearers' role in the war, where and how long they fought, whether they were Union or Rebel, soldier or sailor -- even with a minimum of information. Continued below...
Tracing Your Civil War Ancestor provides you with:
-- The names and addresses of all state archives.
-- Names and addresses of institutions that hold microfilmed service records from the national archives.
-- Names and publishers of useful regional Civil War reference books.
-- Names and publishers of sourcebooks for identifying Civil War weapons and accoutrements.
-- And much more.
Historians, genealogists, antique dealers, and collectors of Civil War artifacts will find this concise guidebook of great value. But most of all it is of inestimable practical value to family historians, North and South, who are discovering the pleasure and satisfaction of compiling an accurate family history. "[A] must have for the individual researching Civil War soldiers, ancestors' military service records, Union and Confederate army records, compiled military service records (CMSR), and for the family genealogist." If you are remotely into genealogy, then this book is for you.
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."

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