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Rare View of a Member of Hillard’s Legion

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Rare ninth plate ambrotype of an unidentified member of the famed Hillard Legion out of Alabama. In April of 1862, Colonel Henry Washington Hillard was authorized to raise one complete legion. Hillard’s Legion was unique in that consisted of all branches of the military. It was a combined force of infantry, artillery and cavalry. The entire legion comprised almost 3000 men. They would play a significant role in Tennessee during the Siege of Cumberland Gap. That Battle of Chickamauga would be their undoing. As they tried to wrestle control for Snod Grass Hill they would suffer a 45% casualty rate out of the 902 men from the unit sent into battle. The 1st Battalion itself was decimated losing 169 men out of 239. In November of that year the unit would be disbanded and the remaining men split up among the 59th and 60th Alabama as well as the 23rd Alabama Battalion Sharpshooters. This young soldier is dressed in a dark jacket and sporting a large red, white and blue cockade with the words “HILLARD LEGION”. Only the “D” being visible for Hillard. This is probably the 3rd image I have seen from this battalion wearing this cockade so I presume they were most likely all done by the same photographer very early in their organization. This one comes housed in a mint thermoplastic case.

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