Home' The Backwoodsman Magazine : March-April 2018 Contents 64
sharpshooters were credited for
killing a number of Union officers.
In July of 1864, Hodges’
Company was re-organized. The
former members enrolled under
the leadership of Andrew McBride.
From then on, Hodges’ Company
was known as McBride’s Company.
muster roll showed the
“ We the undersigned,
and tender our services
to the Confederate States
of America, begging to be
into their armies, having
chosen A. McBride for
our Captain.” A list of
65 names then followed.
Unique Indian names
like Banana Bud, Harsh
Orange made-up an eclectic muster.
continued operations until war’s
end. McBride’s Seminoles quietly
disbanded in 1865.
In Central Mississippi, theChoc-
taws formed two distinct battalions
that had common members. In the
early part of 1863, the 1st
Battalion was established with the
endorsement of Jefferson Davis.
The battalion’s first challenge came
in the early morning hours of Febru-
ar y 19th of 1863. The engine Her-
cules and its cars had crashed into
the Chunky River after floodwaters
undermined a bridge found along
the Southern Rail Road. Nearly 100
men, mostly soldiers, were victims.
The Indians, who were at a near by
recruiting camp, “flew” to the scene
of the accident and helped with res-
cue and recovery efforts.
After the train accident, the
Choctaws began man-tracking. The
Choctaws were known to be excel-
lent hunters and knew the region
better than any other. These skills
allowed them to find wayward con-
scripts and army deserters hiding
in Mississippi’s piney woods region
and in Alabama’s northern regions.
Major John W. Pierce was the
Choctaws’ first commanding officer.
Pierce was a white Mississippi planter
and businessman. He financed the 1st
and likely procured
material goods like
Pierce estab- lished
the battalion’s head-
quarters at Newton
At one point, the
taw Batta1ion was
formed and ready
for service. By the order of Lieu-
tenant General John C. Pemberton,
Choctaw Battalion was sent
as reinforcement after Union forces
seized a Louisiana town. Southern
newspapers credited the 1st
taw Battalion, described as “Indian
troops,” (or pushing back the “Yan-
kees” during the Battle of Ponchatoula.
Major Samuel G. Spann was the
Choctaws’ second commanding of-
ficer. Spann was a white Alabama
planter and studied law at the Uni-
versity of Virginia. After Pierce’s
Indian battalion disbanded on May
9th of 1863, Spann accepted a transfer
of men from the 1st
ion to Spann’s Battalion of Indepen-
dent Scouts. Spann established an
Indian recruiting camp near Newton
Station, Mississippi; however, his
headquarters were found in Mobile,
Alabama. Later, Spann’s headquar-
ters moved to Tuscaloosa, Alabama
for man-tracking operations in
Northern Alabama. This particular
operation was for Brigadier General
Gideon J. Pillow’s 1863 conscription
efforts. At the insistence of Pillow,
Spann’s battalion was eventually re-
organized as Alabama’s 18th Confed-
erate Cavalry. Spann’s men eventu-
ally surrendered in May of 1865.
Jack Amos was the most famous
Mississippi Choctaw soldier. He
served in both the 1st
Battalion and Spann’s Battalion of
Independent Scouts. He mainly
served as a translator. Amos’ Indian
name was “Eahantatubbee’’ which
means “He who goes out and kills.”
Jack Amos’ testimonies at the turn
of the 20th century were instrumental
in understanding the Mississippi
Choctaws’ role during the Civil War.
The Cherokees in North Caro-
lina had discovered a “friend and
benefactor” in William H. Thomas.
He was a white first-generation born
American and was a businessman,
attorney, and state senator. Thomas
grew to manhood among the Chero-
kees who gave him the Indian name
“Wi l-Usdi” or “Little Will.” He was
an acculturated Cherokee and some-
times referred to as a white-Indian.
On behalf of the North Caro-
lina Cherokees, Thomas achieved a
number of significant goals. As a
businessman, Thomas provided the
Indians much needed medical and
food supplies. In his role as attor-
ney and senator, Thomas provided
the Cherokees with legal advice and
In May of 1861, Thomas was
authorized to raise a Cherokee
militia. They were called Junaluska
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