William H. Thomas was the only known white Chief of the Cherokee.
His legion of 400 Cherokee men was a part of the larger 69th North Carolina regiment and fought bravely in the Civil War. They did not own slaves, so their choice to fight for the Confederacy was not connected to slavery.
This wonderful photograph was taken in 1903 in New Orleans at the Confederate Reunion. These are the remaining men of the Cherokee unit of the 69th NC. Their banner says “Cherokee Veteran Indians of Thomas’ Legion, 69 NC Regiment, Suo-Noo-Kee Camp U.C.V 4th Brigade, NC Division.”
The men’s identities are given as, left to right:
Front Row: Usai, Kimson Saunooke, Jesse Ross, Jesse Reed, Sevier Skitty.
Back Row: Bird Saconita, Dave Owl, Lt. Col. William Williams Stringfield, Lt. Luatie (Suyeta) Own (Owle), Jim Cag, Wesley Crow, Jessan, Lt. Calvin Cagle. Cagle is often reported as a member of this Legion, but no records confirm it. However, his presence appears to connect him. Names were furnished by the late James R. Thomas, son of William H. Thomas.
I hate the ads on this site, but the information is great. Try to ignore the ads. http://thomaslegioncherokee.tripod.com/
This next link is about the 69th NC Battalion itself: http://thomaslegion.net/regiment.html
The full roster begins in this book on page 151 and goes through 156.
Roster of NC Troops in the War between the states, vol 4 by NC General Assemblyhttp://books.google.com/books?id=XAsTAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA1&dq=roster+of+north+carolina&hl=en&ei=ja0vTILmLsL58Aab88y7Aw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CDAQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false
There are other photos from the Thomas Legion at the Museum of the Cherokee. http://thomaslegion.net/thomaslegionphotos/
Hat tip to Beverly for the lead to this information!!!