Captain Champ Ferguson’s Calvary Company

No muster rolls were found of this organization, but it was organized in the first half of 1862 by Champ Ferguson, who was born just across the state line in Clinton County, Kentucky, but moved his family to White County, Tennessee for safety, and organized his company in Fentress and neighboring counties. Federal reports in the Official Records make numerous references to “his marauding band” as operating in Clinton County, Kentucky, and in Scott, Morgan, Fentress and Clay Counties, Tennessee, in 1862 and 1863. During this period he seems to have operated in conjunction with Hamilton’s Tennessee Cavalry Battalion. His company was reported as part of the forces under Colonel John Hunt Morgan in an action at Celina on July 9, 1862. On the Confederate side, Colonel George Dibrell, in his report of the action at Calf Killer Creek, White County, on August 9, 1863, said he was re-enforced by Champ Ferguson with a part of his company. In November 1863, Colonel William B. Stokes, 5th Tennessee Cavalry, reported numerous skirmishes with the forces under Hughs, Hamilton, Ferguson and others in the area around Sparta. The Hughs referred to was Colonel John M. Hughs, of the 25th Tennessee Infantry, CSA. On July 15, 1864, forces under Ferguson, Hughs and others made off with 500 United States Cavalry horses from the post at Kingston, Tennessee.

On October 2, 1864, Federal reports charged Ferguson with the murder of a Lieutenant Smith, of the 13th Kentucky Cavalry, while on his bed wounded and a prisoner at Emory General Hospital, Virginia. On April 28, 1865, Major General George Stoneman, United States Army, reporting on the roundup of Confederate forces in Virginia, stated “Champ Ferguson is in command of Southwestern Virginia.” On May 16, 1865, Major General L. H. Rousseau, at Nashville, issued an order: “Champ Ferguson and his gang of cutthroats, having refused to surrender, are denounced as outlaws, and the military forces of the district will deal with them and treat them accordingly.” Ferguson had by this time returned to his home in White County, and finally surrendered to Lieutenant Colonel Joseph H. Blackburn in the last half of May. He was charged with murder, tried, convicted and executed by the Federal authorities. Major General Joseph Wheeler, Confederate States of America, testifying in his defense, stated that Ferguson’s company was attached to his command in August, 1864, marched with him to Georgia and South Carolina, was transferred in the fall to Major General John C. Breckinridge’s command until after the Battle of Saltville, Virginia on October 2, 1864; was returned to his command until February 1, 1865, when he was ordered back to Virginia; and that he considered Ferguson to be a member of the regular armed forces of the Confederacy, and entitled to treatment as a prisoner of war.

This unit history was extracted from Tennesseans in the Civil War, Vol 1. Copyrighted 1964 by the Civil War Centennial Commission of Tennessee and is published here with their permission. This history may not be republished for any reason without the written permission of the copyright owner.

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