Formation of the Cherokee Legion, 1863
The following article appeared in the July 25, 1863 issue of The Intelligencer published in Atlanta, Georgia:
"Three Cheers for Cherokee County”
Under the late call of the President for troops for the defense of the State, Governor Brown made a requisition upon Cherokee County, which has so long been his home, for 200 men as her quota. Her people went actively and patriotically to work to respond to the call. After one or two preliminary meetings, they fixed upon Wednesday last to meet at Canton and to organize. Gov. Brown, having gone to Canton to spend day or two with his family, who are spending the summer there, was waited upon by the committee of citizens and invited to address his old neighbors and fellow citizens upon the subject of the organization. He accepted the invitation and delivered an address explanatory thereof, and upon the duty of all to respond promptly to the President's call. After the Governor had concluded his remarks, he invited the citizens of the county without distinction of age, rank, or position, who were able to bear arms to carol their names and form a legion in the county. They immediately went to work with zeal and enthusiasm and before night they had formed a legion of twelve companies, eleven of which were made up in Cherokee County and one from Milton County, which had determined to go into the same organization with the companies from Cherokee. The whole number of names enrolled in the legion up to the time of its organization was 732; of this number 673 are of Cherokee County.
This embraces nearly all the men in that county able to bear arms in active service, and the few who have not yet joined the companies are expected to unite before they are needed for service.
Here is a noble response coming from a patriotic people! Two hundred men are called for, and the whole arms bearing people of the county respond to nearly seven hundred in number! If every county in Georgia will do as well, our people and State will soon be secure against the raids of the enemy.
Again we say three cheers---yea, thee times three cheers for Cherokee County. No county in Georgia had responded more nobly to previous calls. She is now the "Banner County" so far as we know and believe, in the State. The official proceedings of the meeting, we learn, will be forwarded to us for publication. This we shall with pleasure and pride do, as soon as they are received. The following field officers to command the legion, have been elected: James H. Rusk, Colonel; B. Hill, Lieutenant Colonel; H.G. Grambling, Major.
Before we close this article, we must not omit another important feature in the proceedings of the patriotic people of Cherokee County. The legion officered and organized, do not tender their services for the defense of their county, but have resolved to tender it for service in all that scope of territory from West Point in a straight line to Griffin, thence in a straight line to Elbert Court House; thence to the Savannah River, and embracing also the upper part of the State.
This is an example for our people in very county in the State to follow! Surely it will stimulate our people everywhere to similar action. What says Fulton? Fulton, in which Atlanta, now the most important inland city in the Confederacy, is located, and which to occupy is now the burning desire of the Abolitionist. Awake fellow citizens, arise, abate of your lethargy, and imitate the example of the patriotic farmers of Cherokee who have resolved and have organized to defend your property and your homes, your wives and your children! He . . . that will not fight in its defense, or in defense of the State is either a coward or a traitor!