I knew I had seen something on the Foreign Legion; it just took me a while to connect up what I had. Major J. Hampden Brooks wrote a postwar reminiscence re his command of the Legion, and it found its way into the hands of the UDC. He calls it the "Foreign Battalion." The acocunt as published by the UDC reads as follwos:
"In Cotober, 1864, there was organized a battalion of infantry entitled "The Foreign Battalion," to the command of which Capt. J. Hampden Brooks was aswsigned as Major. Major Brooks furnishes the following statement, of date October 16, 1899:
'The Confederate Congress passed an act allowing all foreigners from the Federal Army then in our prisons who so desired, to take the Oath of Allegiance to our government and enlist in our army. Upon recommendation of Gen. Beauregard, and by order of Gen. Lee, I was detached, with the avowed purpose of promotion, to organize a battalion from amongst the prisoners then at Florence, S.C. Gen. [Johnson] Hagood, my Brigade Commander, objected to the detail unless it was intended to promote me, and he made the point directly. Gen. Lee replied that the promotion was intended. I left the army before Richmond with this understanding, and repaired to South Carolina, and reported to Gen. Hardee for orders. Gen. Hagood [as printed; he apparently meant to say "Hardee"] kindly told me that he would have one of his staff, Maj. Black, to select the men for me. This was done, and Maj. Black brough obver six hundred men to Summerville, [near Charleston] and they were organized into a battalion of five companies, styled Brooks Battalion Regular Infantry, and I placed in command. Maj. Bryan, of Gen. Beauregard's staff, was appointed my collaborator but did not report. Maj. Black mustered in the command, with V. E. Martin as Captain, Co. A; Jno. B. Minott as Captain, Co. B; Lewis Wardlaw [of Abbeville] as Captain, Co. C; B. G. Pinckney as Captain Co. D; and Co E, Lieut. Eldred [S.] Simpkins [of Beaufort], 1st [S.C.] Regular Artillery, acting as captain but not changing service. All this in the fall of 1864. We drew tents, clothing and other equipments, and went into camp at Summerville, and began drilling at once. We did not draw arms, however, for some time.
Toward the close of December, as Sherman had invested Savannah, I requested Gen. Hardee to allow me to take a part of my command to Savannah and join in its defence. He consenting. I took detachments from A. B, C and D companies, with their respective commanding officers, with Charles Goodwyn of Columbia, as Adjutant, to Savannah and was assigned to duty on the lines of defence. We were under fire in taking our position, and the men behaved very well. After being on the lines a few days, the men began to desert, and soon matters culminated into a regular plan of mutiny. The conspiracy was betrayed by one of their number; the ringleaders shot by order of Gen. Mercer, and most of the men returned to prison. A few were assigned to the two regular regiments, 1st [S.C.] Infantry [actually serving as artillery] and 1st [S.C.] Artillery [a heavy artillery unit]. The company officers were allowed to return to their respective commmands, from which they had never resigned, and I was placed in command of ther unattached troops in Charleston. Getting tired on inactivity, I asked to be relieved, and upon the request of my old company, I ignored my promotion and returned to its command.
Messrs. V. E. Martin, Jno. C. Minott and Lewis Simpkins were Lieutenants of Butler's 1st [Regular] Infantry; Eldred Simplkins was from Rhett's 1st Artillery; B. G. Pinckney was from Charleston, and Charles Goodwyn was from Columbia (son of Dr. Jeff. Goodwyn). I also had a nephew of Gen. Beauregard as a Lieutenant, and he, too, was with us at Savannah -- his name was Toutant. My appointment to its command was intended as a complement to me, and I accepted it as such, but really, I was never sanguine of the success of the experiment. In a fortress, it might have succeeded, but in the open field, it was a hazardous undertaking. If success had been possible, the officers I had were pre-eminently fitted to achieve it.'"
Source: South Carolina Division, United Daughters of the Confederacy, eds., Recollections and Reminiscences 1861-1865 through World War I, Vol. V. Columbia: Privately Published, 1994, 714 pp, at pp. 558-559.
If I am not incorrect, I bleieve that a a fair number of the Florence prisoners had been transferred from Camp Sumter, so the comment about Andersonville prisoners may yet be true. There was just a stop in Florence before enlistment in the Foreign Battalion.