Hilliard’s Legion was organized at Montgomery, June, 1862, and consisted of five battalions; one of these, a mounted battalion, was early detached and became part of the Tenth Confederate cavalry. The Legion proceeded to Montgomery nearly 3,000 strong, under the command of Col. H. W. Hilliard, and was placed in McCown’s brigade. It took part in the siege of Cumberland Gap, and spent the fall and winter in Kentucky and east Tennessee. In April, Col. J. Thorington took command of the Legion, and was succeeded in command of the First battalion by Lieut.-Col. J. Holt, the whole Legion serving in Gracie’s brigade at Chickamauga. In this battle it earned a splendid reputation. The First and Second battalions suffered the heaviest loss, leaving more than half their number either dead or wounded on the field. Lieutenant-Colonel Holt was severely wounded, and the command of the First battalion fell upon Captain Huguley. Maj. Daniel S. Troy was in command after Chickamauga. Lieutenant-Colonel Hall and Captain Walden, successively in command of the Second battalion, were both wounded. This battalion was the first to plant its banner on the enemy’s works. The colors were pierced by 83 bullets. The standard-bearer, Robert Y. Hiett, was made a lieutenant. The other battalions also fought nobly and suffered severely both in officers and men.
The Third was complimented on the field by General Pond. The legion continued fighting in Gracie’s brigade in east Tennessee until, on November 25, 1863, it was dissolved. Parts of the First and Third were consolidated and formed the Sixtieth Alabama, under Col. J. W. A. Sanford; the Second and Fourth, under Col. Bolling Hall, Jr., became the Fifty-ninth Alabama. Three companies of the First battalion became the Twenty-third battalion, or Stallworth’s sharpshooters. The history of the legion is continued in the records of these organizations.
EXTRACTS FROM OFFICIAL WAR RECORDS.
- Vol. XVI, Part I–(1010) September 22, 1862, at Cumberland Gap.
- Vol. XVI, Part 2–(708) June 26, 1862, ordered to Chattanooga. (717) July 2d, mentioned by secretary of war. (720) July 4th, ordered to Atlanta, Ga. (726) July 11th, ordered to Chattanooga to report to Major-General McCown. (748) Mentioned by J. F. Belton, as ordered to report to General Stevenson, August 8th. (824) Reeves’ (Fourth) battalion at Clinton, September 14th. (847, 873) September, at Cumberland Gap. (874) September 25th, cavalry ordered to Winchester. (975) Cavalry under Maj. M. M. Slaughter ordered to Flat Lick, October 22d. (984) October 31st, in McCown’s division, Gen. E. Kirby Smith’s force.
- Vol. XX, Part 2–(412-414) November 20, 1862, headquarters Knoxville, Tenn., 1,095 present for duty; four battalions formed the Fifth brigade. (466) December 27th, First and Fourth battalions at Big Creek Gap; Second battalion at Cumberland Gap; Third battalion at Clinton.
- Vol. XXIII, Part 2–(644, 645) February 20, 1863, with Gen. D. S. Donelson. First and Fourth battalions at Big Creek Gap; Second at Cumberland Gap; Third at Knoxville; Company A, First battalion, at Bristol. (711) March 9th, battalions as above. First battalion, Lieut.-Col. J. Thorington; Second, Lieut.-Col. Bolling Hall, Jr.; Third, Lieut..Col. J. W. A. Sanford; Fourth, Maj. W. N. Reeves. Two companies of First at Clinton, one at Bristol. (792) April 25th, under Col. J. Thoring-ton, in Gracie’s brigade, headquarters Bean’s Station, Tenn. (946) July 31, 1863, assignment as above. First battalion, Lieut.-Col. J. H. Holt; Second, Lieut.-Col. B. Hall, Jr.; Third, Lieut.-Col. J. W. A. Sanford; Fourth, Major McLennan; headquarters, Cumberland Gap. (949) August 3d, three battalions from Cumberland Gap ordered to Strawberry Plains to report to General Gracie. <cmh7a_236>
- No. 42–(556) General Clanton says that at Chickamauga, the colors of the Second battalion were pierced by eighty-two balls, and President Davis promoted Lieu-tenant-Colonel Hall to colonel, and the color-bearer to a lieutenancy. Says the Legion is in Gracie’s brigade, May, 1864.
- No. 51–(16) September 19 and 20, 1863, in Gracie’s brigade, Bragg’s army. (416) Gen. William Preston in his report of Chickamauga says: “The brigade advanced with splendid courage, but was met by a destructive fire of the enemy from the cover of their fieldworks on the hill. The Second Alabama battalion stormed the hill and entered the intrenchments. Here an obstinate and bloody combat ensued. Lieutenant-Colonel Hall was severely wounded while gallantly leading his command in the assault on the hill. The Second battalion, out of 239, lost 169 killed and wounded. In the action its colors were pierced in 83 places, and were afterward, by request, presented to his Excellency, the President, who promoted the brave standard-bearer, Robert Y. Hiett, for conspicuous courage. George W. Norris, of Captain Wise’s company, of Hall’s battalion, fell at the foot of the enemy’s flagstaff and was buried where he so nobly died.” Lieutenant-Colonel Holt, of the First battalion, was severely wounded. (418) General Preston commends the gallantry of Lieutenant-Colonel Sanford, Major McLennan, Captain Walden and Surgeon Luckie. (421, 422) General Gracie’s report: “The First battalion, Alabama Legion, sustained the heaviest loss. Of 239 carried into action, 169 were killed and wounded. Among the latter was Lieutenant-Colonel Holt, seriously, in the knee. Among the killed, Lieut. R. H. Bibb ….
- It was the Second battalion that first gained the hill and placed its colors on the enemy’s works. Its colors bear marks of over eighty bullets. Its bearer, Robert Y. Hiett, though thrice wounded and the staff thrice shot away, carried his charge throughout the entire fight. He deserves not only mention, but promotion. Lieuten-ant-Colonel Hall behaved most gallantly, receiving a severe wound in the thigh. Capt. W. D. Walden, Company B, was wounded in the breast, arm and shoulder, inside the enemy’s works. His case deserves special mention. Lieut.-Col. J. W. A. Sanford, commanding the Third battalion, Alabama Legion, nobly did his duty, <cmh7a_237>sustaining heavy loss both in officers and men. Asst. Surgeon James B. Luckie, both in the field and at the hospital, was most attentive to the wounded, as, indeed, were all the medical officers of the command. Major McLennan, commanding the Fourth Alabama Legion, nobly did his duty, sustaining heavy loss both in officers and men.” General Gracie also says: “To Lieutenant Gilmer, adjutant of the Alabama Legion, who, during the absence of its commander has acted as my assistant inspector-general, and to Messrs. George C. Jones and J. S. Harwell, both wounded, my thanks are due for services rendered at Chickamauga.” (423) Col. Y. M. Moody, Forty-third Alabama, says: “This (Second) battalion assisted in holding enemy’s works at Chickamauga. . . On September 19th, the Third battalion, Alabama Legion, was left on top of a slight elevation, to support Jeffries’ and Baxter’s batteries. We remained at this point until the morning of the 20th, exposed during evening of the 19th to enemy’s shells.” (424, 425) Captain Huguley, of First battalion, says: “Colonel Holt was severely wounded early in the action, and the command devolved on me. We went into the engagement with 238, and had 24 killed and 144 wounded, 16 of whom were officers.” (425, 426) Lieut. C. Hall says: “Lieuten-ant-Colonel Hall, while leading the command under the fiercest fire, was shot down at a time when by hard fighting we had almost reached the enemy’s works. Captain Walden assumed command, and bravely led the still advancing line until shot down within the enemy’s lines. Lieutenant Fisher, a brave officer of Company C, about this time was mortally wounded. The works were carried and the enemy driven before us in confusion. The battalion carried into action 230 aggregate; of these, 16 were killed, 75 wounded, many mortally.” Commends bravery of Capt. L. H. Crumpler and Lieut. John H. Porter. (426, 427) Lieut.-Col. J. W. A. Sanford says: “We (Third battalion) carried into the fight on the 20th instant, 229 men. Of this number, 4 were killed and 42 wounded.” He especially commends for courage and skill, Capt. John McCreless, Surgeon James B. Luckie, Corporal Hutto and Privates Hix, Turner and Tally of Company A; Sergeant Baygents and Privates Jackson, Brooks and Hall of Company B; Private Brown, Company C; Privates Hufham, Quillan and Jesse L. Jackson <cmh7a_238>of Company D; Sergeant Harris and Privates Harris, Lewis, Skinner and Williams of Company E; Privates Simmons, Patrick and Jackson of Company F. (427, 428) Major McLennan of Fourth battalion commends conduct of Privates McCain, Holly, King, Head, of Company A; Corporal French and Privates Anderson, Flournoy, Smith, of Company B; Sergeant Mahone, Sergeant Daniels and Privates Daniel, Hill, Rutledge, Bennett, of Company D; Sergeant Stuckey, Corporal Martin, Corporal Curable and Privates Phillips and Lancey, of Company E, for conspicuous gallantry on the field.
- Roll of honor, Chickamauga, First battalion: Adjt. John Massey, Private John H. Conner,(*) Company A; Private J. E. Wright, Company B; Private James M. Gibson, Company C; Private B. A. Davis,(*) Company D; Sergt. J. L. Cox,(*) Company E; Private A. J. Daw,(*) Company F. Second battalion: Capt. W. D. Walden, Company B; Private John H. Randall, Company A; First Sergt. Socrates Spigener, Company B; Private Benj. F. Temple,(*) Company C; Private William P. Jones, Company D; Private George W. Norris,(*) Company E; Corp. Jos. V. Castlebury,(*) Company F. Third battalion: Capt. John McCreless, Company E; Private Micajah Kirkland,(*) Company A; Private John Blanken-ship, Company C; Private Henry R. Lewis, Company C. Fourth battalion: Private Jackson Lee,(*) Company A; Corp. James E. French, Company B; Private B. F. Martin,(*) Company D; Private R. S. Turlington,(*) Company E.
- No. 54–(452) November 30, 1863, Gracie’s brigade, Gen. B. R. Johnson’s forces. First battalion, Maj. D. S. Troy; Second, Capt. John H. Dillard; Third, Lieut.-Col. J. W. A. Sanford; Fourth, Maj. John D. McLennan. No. 55–(659) In Gracie’s brigade, Buckner’s division; detached November 22d, for operations against Burnside in east Tennessee.
- No. 56–(891) December 31, 1863, Gracie’s brigade, Longstreet’s corps. Parts of First and Third (Sixtieth Alabama), under Colonel Sanford; Second and Fourth (Fifty-ninth Alabama), under Colonel Hall.
- No. 78–(589) May, 1864, General Clanton speaks of Legion as in Gracie’s brigade. Same mention as above, No. 42, p. 556.
(*) Killed in action.