Private James Marion Whitaker

Thomas' Legion
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Private James Marion Whitaker

"In the year 1863 in a battle near Greenville, Tenn., he was shot, the bullet remaining in his person five years and four months, when it was extracted by his father and a brother at his home."
Cherokee Scout, Murphy, N[orth].C[arolina]., Tuesday, February 23, 1904

Private James M. Whitaker is the nephew of Captain Stephen Whitaker. James enlisted on December 18, 1862, and served with his uncle Stephen in Company E. First Battalion, Thomas' Legion.
Lt. Col. McKamy commanded the battalion after the death of Lt. Col. Walker. However, when McKamy was captured at 3rd Winchester, Lt James A. Robinson assumed command of the Battalion. Robinson commanded the Battalion for the remainder of the Shenandoah Valley Campaigns (September 19, 1864--until its return to North Carolina with Special Order 267). Then, Lt. Col. William Stringfield commanded the Battalion, with Captain Stephen Whitaker commanding it at war's end.

Private James Whitaker was likely wounded during the East Tennessee Campaign: Battle of Blue Springs Tennessee - October 10, 1863, Battle at Henderson's Mill - October 11, 1863, or during the fighting at Telford's Depot or Limestone Station on September 8, 1863. Lt. Col. Stringfield recorded, "On the 8th we drove them [Union army] from Telford's depot to Limestone, where they made a determined stand, evidently being handled by some veteran officers. Closing in upon them on all sides, we forced them to surrender with [their] loss of 20 killed, 30 wounded and 314 prisoners, with 400 splendid small arms. Our loss was six killed and fifteen wounded."
Cherokee Scout, Murphy, N[orth].C[arolina]., Tuesday, February 23, 1904

Death [Obituary] of J.M. Whitaker.

The following communication was received too late for our last issue:

The sudden death of Mr. James M. Whitaker at his home near Andrews on February
7th, was a great shock to his many friends. He was apparently in good health -
as well and stout, although he was in his 78th year. He ate a hearty supper on
Saturday evening, talked and laughed freely with his family that night before
retiring. As was his custom he was first up on Sunday morning and made a fire.
He then lit his pipe to take his usual morning smoke. While smoking he fell
from his chair. His wife, who laying in bed in the room, gave a scream which
brought his son to his side, and who found that his father was dead.

Mr. Whitaker was born in Macon county on March 1, 1826, was married to Miss
Elizabeth Kimsey on May 15, 1853. In September, 1863, he enlisted in the
Confederate army and was a faithful soldier. In the year 1863 in a battle near
Greenville, Tenn., he was shot, the bullet remaining in his person five years
and four months, when it was extracted by his father and a brother at his home.

Eight children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Whitaker - seven girls and one boy,
all of whom survive him.

April 10, 1903, at their home one mile west of Andrews, they celebrated their
golden wedding. All the children were present except the son John, who was in
the west. There were twelve grand children, three great grand children, and
other relatives present.

The deceased was out of a family of sixteen children, ten boys and six girls,
all of whom grew to man and woman hood. Two boys and five girls are alive now.

His only son, John, who has been west most of the time since 1880, came home
on the 14th of last December to make a short visit home, but since his
father’s death will remain to look after his affairs.

Mr. Whitaker was a man held in the highest esteem by all who knew him. In
addition to his immediate family he is survived by twenty-one grandchildren
and eight great grandchildren. He was laid to rest in the Baptist cemetery
Monday, the 8th. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the bereaved family. - W.

[Transcribed 2/1/2007 Lynn Cunningham]

Cherokee-Macon County NcArchives Obituaries.....Whitaker, James M.    February 7, 1904
Copyright.  All rights reserved.

Recommended Reading: Rebel Private: Front and Rear: Memoirs of a Confederate Soldier. Description: First published in 1907, the memoirs of a former Confederate soldier who fought at Gettysburg, Chancellorsville, Second Manassas, and Chickamauga reveal the ground-level perspective of a Civil War private. Continued below…

From Publishers Weekly: William Fletcher joined the Confederate Army in 1861. He served with the Army of Northern Virginia's elite Texas Brigade until the Battle of Chickamauga. Unable to march because of wounds, he transferred to the cavalry and finished the war with the Texas Rangers, then wrote his memoirs 40 years later. Most of the original copies were destroyed in a fire. The current edition presents unvarnished images of hard marches, short rations and battles in which being wounded could prove worse than being killed. Fletcher describes the horrors of being a Civil War casualty as vividly as any firsthand account from either side. The author emerges from these pages as fighting less for a cause than for his own pride in being a good soldier. His narrative does more than many learned monographs to explain the Confederacy's long endurance against overwhelming odds.

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Tracing Your Civil War Ancestor provides you with:

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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.


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...

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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.

NEW! North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865: A Roster (Volume XVI: Thomas's Legion) (Hardcover, 537 pages), North Carolina Office of Archives and History (June 26, 2008). 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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