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Edited by Cheri Todd Molter & Kobe M. Brown

The following information was derived from a Civil War Trails historical marker entitled “Occaneechi in the Service: Piedmont Indians in the Civil War”:

In 1833, in what is now Alamance County many Occaneechi Indians, like Enoch Jones, Andrew Jeffries, Jesse Jeffries, and Dixon Corn, supported themselves and their communities by working in various trades or by farming. At that time, NC law prohibited American Indians from joining a militia. However, when the Civil War started, quite a few American Indians volunteered to serve as paid teamsters, foragers, and body servants. Also, it bears noting that, in western North Carolina, some members of the Cherokee enlisted to serve in a Confederate regiment known as Thomas’s Legion.


William Haith (pictured left), an American Indian from Orange County, served as a body servant to Nick Mebane of Co. F., 6th North Carolina State Troops, during the war years. An American Indian named Will Liggins served as a body servant to James E. Boyd in Company E, 13th NC Troops. Marshall Jeffries (pictured middle) had a similar assignment to another soldier in the same company, and Bedford Jeffries (pictured right), a man described as Marshall Jeffries’ “kinsman,” also served as a cook, as well as a body servant to Lt. Bartlett Yancey Mebane. Bedford Jefferies “never bore arms but…was always with the troops near the front.”  When Lt. Mebane was killed in action on June 7, 1864, at Cold Harbor, Virginia, Bedford Jeffries took the soldier’s remains back to his family.

Other American Indian men were paid for their services to the Confederate army, too. James Wilson and Buck Parker foraged for supplies and food for Co. K of the 6th North Carolina State Troops. Reportedly, Wilson “foraged and stole enough during the war” to keep Company K well fed. Also, Wilson’s brother, William Wilson, served Lt. George Bason in the Ordnance Department.

These American Indian men, like many others, served vital roles in the support of the Confederate army during the war years.


Source: https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=168278

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