For most of you who have been reading this blog for some time, you know that I’ve taken an interest in Vance’s Legion. Now I’m trying to decide what to do with the information that I’ve collected.
In the spring of 1862, Col. Zebulon B. Vance came up with the idea of recruiting a Legion. A Legion is an organization composed of Infantry, Cavalry, and Artillery. His motivation behind the Legion seems to solely be gaining a brigadier general’s star. Maybe that’s not quite a fair assessment, but that is the way it comes across in Vance’s correspondence.
Once gaining approval from the Confederate officials in Richmond, Vance began to run into problems. Vance had assumed that he would be able to get help from the governor in Raleigh - NOT! - They were of different political persuasions, and since Vance had not sought their approval, they turned a deaf ear to the young colonel. Vance assumed that he would be able to get companies already formed and in the training camps around Raleigh - NOT! See above for the reason.
Vance was facing a tight deadline regarding the Conscription Act. He basically had thirty days to finish his recruitment for his Legion. However, Vance could not even secure a pass from his commanding officer to allow him to go and recruit himself. Lastly, there were other people out recruiting, taking (not on purpose) men from the areas that Vance was most popular - his former 10th Congressional District, in the mountains of the western part of the state.
In the end, Vance was only able to recruit four companies for his Legion, three of infantry and one of cavalry, before his time ran out. The Legion failed, not only because it never met its recruitment goals, but because the idea of Legions became unpopular with the Confederate high command. Those four companies joined other regiments.
That leads me to this: I’ve come up with enough primary sources (there are almost no secondary sources) on Vance’s Legion to put together a small booklet on the organization. Say maybe 30 or 40 pages, with a roster. Would anyone out there be interested in a book on a group that never really existed?
Please drop me a line and let me know. I would probably self-publish the book. I’ve written eight books and have always worked with traditional publishers. The self publishing route would be a different road for me. I’m interested in your feedback!