“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Crab Orchard in Cumberland County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)

Champ Ferguson

Confederate Partisan of the Cumberlands

Champ Ferguson Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Bosse, October 13, 2016
1. Champ Ferguson Marker
Inscription.  Samuel "Champ" Ferguson was the most notorious Confederate guerilla leader in the Upper Cumberland mountains. In 1861, he formed a company and began attacking Unionist partisans. Such irregular forces were common on both sides during the war, especially in areas where opinion was divided between Unionists and secessionists. They protected the property of civilians on their own side while looting and killing those on the opposing side, and harassed enemy troops and supply lines.

In official military correspondence, Ferguson held the rank of captain although he usually operated independently. At other times, however, he acted in concert with regular forces. In 1862, Gen. E. Kirby Smith authorized him to raise a cavalry company and operate along the volatile Kentucky-Tennessee border. That same year, Ferguson guided Gen. John Hunt Morgan's first Kentucky raid. In August 1864, Ferguson served in Georgia under Gen. Joseph Wheeler to harass Union Gen. William T. Sherman's army during the March to the Sea. That fall, Ferguson fought in the Battle of Saltville, Virginia, and was later charged with involvement in the massacre of U.S. Colored
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Troops prisoners.

Ferguson surrendered to Federal authorities in May 1865, supposing he would be treated as a Confederate soldier and paroled. Instead, he was tried in Nashville for war crimes including 53 murders, was convicted of many of them, and was hanged on October 20, 1865. He is buried in White County near Sparta. Capt. Heinrich H. Wirz, commander of the notorious Andersonville prison camp, was the only other Confederate prisoner was executed.
Erected by Tennesse Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Tennessee Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1861.
Location. 35° 55.7′ N, 84° 54.817′ W. Marker is in Crab Orchard, Tennessee, in Cumberland County. Marker can be reached from Interstate 40, 2.8 miles Exit 329 (Interstate 40), on the right when traveling west. This marker is located at the Cumberland County 1-40 West Rest Area. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Crab Orchard TN 37723, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Kemmer Stand / Tavern (a few steps from this marker); Veteran's Memorial (approx. 1.7 miles away); "Tinker Dave" Beaty (approx. 2.1 miles away); Cumberland Homesteads Historic District
Champ Ferguson Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Bosse, October 13, 2016
2. Champ Ferguson Marker
(approx. 4.3 miles away); Cumberland County Families (approx. 5.1 miles away); Thomas "Big Foot" Spencer (approx. 5.1 miles away); Cumberland Mountain State Park Bridge (approx. 5.1 miles away); a different marker also named Veterans Memorial (approx. 5˝ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Crab Orchard.
Also see . . .  Champ Ferguson: An American Civil War Rebel Guerrilla. (Submitted on October 17, 2016, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee.)
Credits. This page was last revised on December 4, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 17, 2016, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 835 times since then and 165 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on October 17, 2016, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Dec. 7, 2023