(Mss. 1416, 1576)


Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections

Special Collections, Hill Memorial Library

Louisiana State University Libraries

Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University

Reformatted 2003

Revised 2011


SUMMARY .................................................................................................................................... 3
BIOGRAPHICAL/HISTORICAL NOTE ...................................................................................... 4
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE ................................................................................................... 5
COLLECTION DESCRIPTION .................................................................................................... 6
INDEX TERMS ............................................................................................................................ 13
CONTAINER LIST ...................................................................................................................... 14

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61 items

Geographic locations.

South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Kansas

Inclusive dates.

1857-1915, undated

Bulk dates.





Confederate general and lawyer of Charleston, South Carolina, and Greenville, Mississippi. Letters, memoirs, and writings describe student life at West Point; the settlement of Kansas; religious missions and the life of missionaries in the Oregon territory; and the hostility of Native Americans and the fate of settlers bound for California and Oregon. Civil War materials include records of Ferguson's Confederate military service, descriptions of participation in several battles, and a description of the collapse of the Confederate government.

Restrictions on access.

If microfilm is available, photocopies must be made from microfilm.

Related collections.

Samuel Wragg Ferguson Letter, Mss. 2177

Percy Ferguson Papers, Mss. 1416

Kate Lee Ferguson Papers, Mss. 1416, 1576


Copyright of the original materials is retained by descendants of the creators in accordance with U.S. copyright law.


Samuel Wragg Ferguson Papers, Mss. 1416, 1576, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, La.

Stack location(s).



Brigadier General Samuel W. Ferguson was born in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1834, and graduated from West Point in 1857. As a lieutenant, Ferguson participated in Albert Sidney Johston’s Utah expedition and later went on duty at Fort Walla Walla, Washington until 1860.

Upon learning of the outcome of the 1860 election, Ferguson resigned his commission and entered the service of the Confederate States. Captain Ferguson served as an aide-de-camp to General Beauregard, where he took an active part in the battle of Shiloh and other confrontations. Ferguson also held the rank of lieutenant-colonel of the 28th Mississippi cavalry regiment where he fought the advance of Federal transports to Vicksburg and other Mississippi locations.

In 1863, he was promoted to brigadier-general, and was active in the Atlanta campaign. Ferguson also played a vital role in assisting the evacuation of Savannah, and later operated in southern Georgia until ordered to escort President Jefferson Davis to Washington, Georgia, where his command was disbanded.

After the war, Ferguson made his home in Greenville, Mississippi, where he practiced law. In 1894, he returned to Charleston, and devoted himself to civil engineering. He died in 1917.


Letters, memoirs, and writings (with some repetition between memoirs and writings) describe student life at West Point Academy (1852-1857); the confusion connected with the settlement of Kansas (1857-1858); religious missions and the life of missionaries in the Oregon territory (1859); the hostility of Native Americans and the fate of settlers destined for California and Oregon (1857-1860); and an expedition under command of Albert Sidney Johnston against Mormons in 1857.

Civil War materials include records of Ferguson’s Confederate military service as an aide to General P. G. T. Beauregard and as commander of the 28th Mississippi Cavalry Regiment in the Atlanta Campaign; descriptions of participation in the bombardment of Fort Sumter, the first Battle of Bull Run, the Battle of Shiloh, the raids of Nathan B. Forrest, and the Atlanta Campaign (1861-1865); and a description of the collapse of the Confederate government (1865).

Post War materials refer to Ferguson’s law practice and his affiliation with the United Confederate Veterans. Also included in the collection are photographs of the Ferguson family, Mississippi state senators, Fitzhugh Lee, and General Beauregard.





11 items:

Letters from Samuel Wragg Ferguson to his godmother, Frances Baker, relating his activities as a student at West Point Military Academy and during an expedition against the Mormons, describing the Plains and Rocky Mountain areas, army life on the western frontier, and relating the expectation of a war with the Mormons (Feb. 16, 1857, Jan. 31, Apr. 4, 1858);

Copy of an extract from report of Captain J. H. Simpson, topographical Engineer on the Utah expedition, citing Ferguson for efficient performance of duty (Jan. 3, 1859);

Confederate bills issued by the State of Mississippi (May 1, Nov. 1, 1862);

Appointment of Ferguson to rank of Colonel of Cavalry, Okalona, Miss. (July 23, 1863);

Copy of inscription on monument at South Battery, Charleston, South Carolina, erected by the Daughters of the Confederacy and the Memorial Association of Charleston (1865);

Letter from Mrs. Samuel Wragg Ferguson to Colonel Slater, Commander of the Kentucky Regiment, relating the theft of her Arabian mare by Federal soldiers (May 22, 1865);

Letter from Ferguson to General W. T. Sherman relating the theft of his wife’s mare and other property and requesting restoration of property (May 27, 1865);

Letter from Horatio Rogers, Providence, Rhode Island, to Ferguson relative to family genealogy (July 19, 1887)


12 items:

Letter relating Ferguson’s election as honorary member of Camp No. 250 of the United Confederate Veterans (Oct. 17, 1898);

Printed copy of regulations issued by U. S. War Department relating to claims for property taken by federal troops (Apr. 26, 1902);

Newspaper clipping concerning final meeting of the Confederate cabinet (Sept.- 6, 1903);

Letters from the U.S. Department of War relating to Ferguson’s claim for property taken at the close of the Civil War and his reimbursement for that property (Feb. 13, 23, Aug. 16, 22, 1904);

Newspaper clipping describing the explosion of the Mississippi steamer W. R. Carter (May 1, 1904);

Semi-centennial Civil War edition of the Richmond (Virginia) Times Dispatch (Apr. 9, 1911);

Letter (June 14, 1913) from Theodore G. Barker, Charleston, S.C., to John Sharp Williams, U.S. Senator from Miss., referring to a letter from General Samuel Wragg Ferguson requesting that Barker bring to the attention of the President of the U. S. facts showing the services of General Ferguson to the Democratic Party of South Carolina in 1876;



Letter from Ferguson to General Fremont Hower relating incidents which occurred during their Confederate Army service and mentioning the service of his sons in the Spanish American War and during the insurrection in the Philippines (July 23, 1914);

Letter from Ferguson to a relative (name not given) relating his Confederate War service and requesting kinsman’s assistance in his effort to get a Confederate pension from the governor of South Carolina (May 24, 1915);

Letter from Governor Richard Manning, Columbia, S.C., to Ferguson, stating ineligibility of Ferguson for pension due to non-residence in South Carolina (May 27, 1915).


Samuel Wragg Ferguson Memoirs [1820-1902]

Part 1, “Family History and Boyhood,” relating the migration of his ancestors from Scotland, tracing his ancestry from James Ferguson who was associated with James Oglethorpe in the settlement of Georgia, noting the rebellious activities of his grandfather, Thomas Ferguson, during the American Revolution, describing the city of Charleston, S.C., and relating incidents from his boyhood spent in Charleston and at his father’s rice plantation on the coast, and noting a plotted slave uprising at Charleston (1822) and the punishment of the slaves implicated in the plot.

Part 2, “Life at West Point, 1852-1857,” relating his admission to West Point Military Academy, his being ―hazed‖ during his first, or ―plebe‖ year, his entrance examination, his academic work, his suspension and reinstatement during his third year, relating escapades for which he was penalized by demerits, and mentioning his relationship with cadets J. E. B. Stewart, Phil Sheridan, and John S. Bowen.

Part 3, “Life in the United States Army, 1857-1861,” relating his service in the United States Army on an expedition under the command of General Albert Sidney Johnston against the Mormons in the Utah territory, his being detained in Kansas due to lawlessness and confusion which the civil government was unable to control, his trip across the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains, the peace settlement with the Mormons, his service as an escort to Major Simpsons to Fort Bridger, his introduction to many of Brigham Young’s wives, his service at Fort Walla Walla, Washington Territory, the monotony of life at frontier army post, his resignation from the U.S. Army upon election of Abraham Lincoln, and his return to South Carolina with the intention of service in the Confederate Army.

Part 4, “Life in the Confederate States Army, March, 1861July, 1864,” relating his acceptance of a commission as Captain of Infantry in the Army of S.C.; his appointment as an Aide de Camp to General P. G. T. Beauregard, together with other distinguished aides to Beauregard (John L. Manning, Lewis T. Wigfall, James Chestnut, William Porcher Miles, Roger A. Prior, Alex Chisolm, John S. Preston, and others); his account of the details of the First Battle of Bull Run; the prevalence of measles, mumps, dysentery, and other diseases among Confederate soldiers; the designing and making of the battle flag of the Confederacy and the presentation of battle flags to Generals Albert Sidney Johnston and P. G. T. Beauregard; the establishment of headquarters at Bowling



Green, Ky., by Generals Johnston and Beauregard and Ferguson’s stay there until the fall of Fort Donelson; the distress occasioned by the fall of Fort Donelson to the Confederate civilians at Nashville and Jackson, Tenn., and elsewhere in the Confederacy; his departure from Beauregard’s command to accept the Lieutenant Colonelcy of the 28th Mississippi Cavalry Regiment; the death of Gen. Johnston following a wound received at Battle of Shiloh; the roles of Beauregard, Ferguson, and Hardee at Shiloh; the Battle of Baker’s Creek and [John Clifford] Pemberton’s falling back into Vicksburg and enduring siege; the collection of a force of Confederates by Joseph E. Johnston to relieve Vicksburg (besieged by Grant); Ferguson’s receipt of rank of Brigadier General of the Cavalry (July, 1863); the activities of Ferguson’s cavalry in obstructing and guarding the railroad leading from Ripley, Miss., to Jackson, Tenn., to Grant’s base of supply at Columbus, Ky., and in assisting General N. B. Forrest in crossing into Tenn. (during Forrest’s ―second raid‖ in Western Tennessee, Dec. 11, 1862Jan. 3, 1863); Forrest’s success in crossing the heavily guarded railroad line leading into Nashville, Tenn., and returning a few weeks later ―with as many thousands as he had hundreds when he crossed the railroad;‖ the demonstrations made under direction of General S[tephen] D[ill] Lee by cavalry brigades at other places on the railroad leading from northern Mississippi to Nashville, (the Mobile and Ohio railroad) to assist Forrest to cross into Tennessee and to raid the area and to capture Federal troops; the order of General Johnston to suppress the illegal cotton trade at Memphis between Confederate civilians at New Albany and Federal troops stationed at Memphis; the confiscation of the cotton, wagons, mules, and merchandise purchased at Memphis, their sale at auction; the joining at Pontatoc, Tennessee, of Ferguson’s cavalry with that of General [Lawrence Sullivan] Ross’ [6th] Cavalry Brigade of Texas, under the direction of General S. D. Lee, to oppose Sherman’s march from Memphis to Chattanooga, Tenn.; Ferguson’s witnessing of the hanging of a Federal spy at Pontatoc by order of General Johnston; destruction of the railroad from Memphis to Chattanooga by Ferguson’s (and others) cavalry brigades by breaking the tracks until Sherman abandoned that side of the Tennessee River; crossed near Florence, and continued his march (to Chattanooga) along the other bank of the Tennessee River; the activity of Ferguson and two cavalry regiments ordered to proceed into Alabama to intercept a regiment of native Alabamians who had enlisted in the U.S. Army, the capture of 100 prisoners during this activity; the destructiveness of Union generals [Franz] Sigel and [Peter Joseph] Osterhaus (refugees from the revolutions in Germany in 1848) in the Tennessee Valley; Ferguson stating ―all of the invading troops were brutal enough, but the Germans, and those commanded by Germans, like Sigel and Osterhaus, were by far the worst;‖ Ferguson’s orders to operate against the Marine Brigade of Colonel [Alfred Washington] Ellet on the Mississippi River; Ferguson’s attempt to intercept the advance of Sherman en route from Vicksburg to Jackson, Miss., and the fight between Ferguson’s regiment and Sherman’s advance guard at Clinton, Miss.; Ferguson’s successful ambush of a detachment of Sherman’s army on the march to Meridian; the capture of stragglers from the rear of Sherman’s column during his return march to Memphis; Ferguson’s report to Gen. Johnston in Georgia and his successful encounter with [John Thomas] Wilder’s Lightning Brigade; Ferguson’s distress at the removal of Johnston and the placing of [John Bell] Hood in command of the opposition to Sherman.



Part 5, “Life in Confederate States Army, General Hood’s Campaign, July, 1864-May, 1865,” relating the details of the Atlanta campaign the Battle of Peachtree Creek (July 20, 1864) with great losses to the Confederacy, the death of U. S. Army General James Birdseye McPherson and the death of Confederate General William Henry Talbot Walker in the Battle of Atlanta (July 22, 1864), the burning of Atlanta, Sherman’s march to the sea, Ferguson’s assignment to follow with all Confederate cavalry in Georgia, Ferguson’s detention against his will at Macon by order of Confederate General Howell Cobb who feared some detached force from Sherman’s army might burn the city, Ferguson’s retreat from Savannah to South Carolina, the promotion of Pierce Manning Butler Young to the rank of Major General in the Confederate Army, the rumor that Jefferson Davis had commissioned Ferguson as a Major General, although notice of the promotion had never reached Ferguson because Colonel Horace Miller had persuaded Davis to hold back the commission, the depredations of an African American brigade under command of General Robert Brown Potter and Ferguson’s commission to ascertain information as to its position and strength, the reception of the news of Robert E. Lee’s surrender, the last Confederate council of war held at Abbeville, S.C., in the house of a Colonel Burt, the resignation of members of the Confederate cabinet, and the disbanding of Confederate troops.

Part 6, “Return to Mississippi and to Private Life, 1865-1867,” relating Ferguson’s return to civilian life for the first time since his entrance to West Point (June 1, 1852), his residence at Ditchley Plantation, near Greenville, Miss., his presence aboard the steamer W. R. Carter when it exploded in the Mississippi River, and his mentioning the explosions of steamers Missouri and Miami at the same time, all three explosions being attributed to the use of tubular boilers, Ferguson’s admission to the bar, and his practice of law at Greenville, Miss.

[1861]-1867, 1900-1902

Samuel Wragg Ferguson Memoirs

Draft copy of Part 4 (―Life in the Confederate States Army, March, 1861-July, 1864), Part 5 (―Life in the Confederate States Army, General Hood’s Campaign, July 1864May, 1865‖) and Part 6 (―Return to Mississippi and to Private Life, 1865-1867‖).


[U. S. Military Academy] ―Life at West Point‖

Recounting the five years spent at West Point Military Academy, his relation with Cadet John B. Hood, (the first classman designed to take charge of new cadets), his rooming with Fitzhugh Lee and their absence from quarters after taps which resulted in trial by court martial, and other escapades resulting in his suspension, and consequent attendance for five years at the Academy, relating the suspension of Cadet Philip Sheridan for having fought a Corporal and the welcome received by Sheridan from classmates upon his return to West Point.


[U. S. Military Academy] ―Fanny Ellslers Pirouette by Moonlight‖

Describing a ballet dance performed by the French dancer, Fanny Ellslers, on command of Cadet Pierre Dubois when he observed the dancer strolling in the moonlight near his



post of guard duty.


[Kansas, Fort Leavenworth]

Relating the journey from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he and other dragoons were delayed temporarily by Governor Waller in his effort to maintain civil authority, to Salt Lake City, Utah, to avenge the Mountain Meadow massacre by the Mormons of a wagon train of immigrants en route to gold fields of California and to install Gov. Cummings as governor of the Utah Territory.


[Utah Expedition] ―The Expedition in 1857, under General Albert Sydney Johnston, to Salt Lake City to Install Governor Cummings,‖

Relating the Mountain Meadow Massacre by the Mormons of an entire emigrant train and the consequent appointment of Alfred Cummings of Georgia as governor of the Utah Territory, the negotiations for peace with the Mormons made by a commission from Washington headed by Ben McCullough (Texas Ranger), and the installation of Cummings as territorial governor.


[Utah Expedition] ―reminiscences of the expedition to Salt Lake Under General Albert Sidney Johnston and of Kansas, Utah, and the Mormons in 1857‖

Repeating some incidents recounted in ―Life in the U. S. Army: Report for Duty at Fort Leavenworth‖ and describing journey from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Kearney, to Fort Riley, across the Rocky Mountains, descending to Fort Bridger, and marching through ―Emigration‖ and ―Echo‖ Canyons, emerging on a level plain on the outskirts of Salt Lake City to learn that a commission from Washington had arrived, under the leadership of the Texas Ranger, Ben McCullough, bringing news of a peace settlement with the Mormons, then passing through Salt Lake City and escorting Major Simpson of the Corps of Topographical Engineers, to Camp Floyd, for the purpose of surveying a route from Fort Bridger to the Salt Lake Valley, and later receiving orders to report to Fort Walla Walla, Washington Territory, as lieutenant of the Company of First Dragoons.


[Washington Territory] ―Then and Now‖

Relating changes in the northwestern territory occurring during the fifty years subsequent to his U.S. Army service at Fort Walla Walla, Washington Territory, relating a voyage by ship from San Francisco to Oregon, portage to Fort Walla Walla, his mission as escort to a supply wagon train en route up the Missouri River to the Coeur D’Alene mission, describing missions and missionary work in the Oregon Territory, describing the Oregon country, relating precautions taken against hostile Native Americans, describing the hardships endured by settlers migrating to the Oregon territory.


[Washington Territory] ―The Sad Fate of an Emigrant Train‖

Describing the massacre by Native Americans of a wagon train, which was destined for Oregon, near the mouth of the Owyhee River.


―Lecture on Bombardment and Capture of Fort Sumter by the Confederate Forces‖

Recording the history of the founding of Fort Sumter formed on an artificial island in



shoal water by dumping rock brought from the coast, describing the architectural structure, the defenses installed there, the garrisoning of the fort, the crucial importance of the fort to the Confederacy, the incidents directly preceding the bombardment of the fort by the Confederate troops.


―Bombardment and Capture of Fort Sumter‖

Recording the history of Fort Sumter, the excitement at Charleston prior to bombardment, efforts made to negotiate for the possession of the fort by the state of South Carolina, the activities of Charleston women as they prepared for war while praying for peace, the evacuation of Fort Moultrie by Major Anderson to surrender the Fort upon demand of General P. G. T. Beauregard, the firing of the first shot by Edmund Ruffin, Ferguson’s receipt of Major Anderson’s formal surrender of the fort, and the raising of the Confederate flag over the fort.


[Siege of Vicksburg] ―A Close Call‖

Relating Ferguson’s encounter with four Federal troops at Deer Creek, near Greenville, Miss., and his successful defense against the troops.


―Extracts From a Journal kept the latter Part the Civil War‖

Relating the demoralization and ―insubordination‖ of the troops under Ferguson’s command upon receipt of the news of Joseph E. Johnston’s surrender, the abusive speeches of several of his subordinate officers in an effort to convince soldiers that Ferguson’s command had been legally surrendered by General Johnston, the compliance of Lt. Graham, commanding the 12th Mississippi Cavalry, with his order to report to General John C. Breckenridge, the advice of Gen. Breckenridge to Ferguson to disband his brigade without further useless sacrifice, and mentioning a visit to Edward Porter Alexander to discuss information received by Alexander from the Brazilian minister relating to the possibility of getting employment in Brazil.


[Reconstruction] ―Notes‖

Relating the course of Reconstruction in the state of Mississippi (1865-1876) with emphasis upon the military rule of Generals O. O. Ord and Alvin G. Gillem, the drafting of a state constitution under the Reconstruction acts, the readmission of Mississippi into the Union (1870), the racial unrest stirred up by the Freedmens’ Bureau, the voting of African Americans in Mississippi for the first time (1867), the ―Black and Tan‖ legislative body, the race riots at Meridian, Yazoo City, Rolling Fork, and Clinton, the activities of the Ku Klux Klan, and the administrations of Governors Alcorn, Blanche K. Bruce, and Adelbert Ames.


―Truth Stranger than Fiction‖

Relating the rescue of a baby by a fisherman following the explosion on the Mississippi River near Greenville of the steamer W. R. Carter and reunion with its parents a year later.




―Explosion of a Mississippi Steamer with Terrible Loss of Life‖

Account of the explosion of the W. R. Carter about 30 miles north of Vicksburg, the alleged cause of he explosion being the use of tubular boilers which had been introduced on the River just prior to the Civil War and had resulted in so many river boat explosions that they were discontinued.


―Fiesta of Corpus Christi in the Andes Mountains‖

Relating the details of the religious festival of Corpus Christi at the Andean village of Tambillo, Ecuador.


―Last Council of War‖

Relating the last meeting of the Confederate cabinet at Abbeville, S.C., following a council of war called by Confederate Secretary of War, John C. Breckenridge, during which Confederate officials resigned (George A. Trenholm, Secretary of the Treasury; George Davis, Attorney General; Judah P. Benjamin; Secretary of State) and it was revealed to Jefferson Davis that the troops escorting him could not be depended upon to continue the war in the Trans-Mississippi area, having learned of Joe Johnston’s surrender and believing themselves included in the surrender.


―One of Many Interesting Conversations with President Davis‖

Relating a visit with President Jefferson Davis at Beauvoir during which Davis expressed admiration for Albert Sidney Johnston and Zachary Taylor, relating the role of Johnston in negotiations among the governments of the United States, Mexico, and Texas at the close of the Mexican War and praising the military ability and literary attainments of General Taylor.


―The Toast to Morgan’s Men‖ by Captain Thorpe of Kentucky

Praising the bravery of soldiers who died fighting under the command of [John Hunt] Morgan and of those soldiers who survived to continue serving under him.


Photographs of persons including members of the Ferguson family and relatives, Mississippi state senators, and Generals P. G. T. Beauregard and Fitzhugh Lee.

1. Barker, Frances

11. Swett, Charles

2. Beauregard, P. G. T.

12. Yerger, W. G.

3. Cain, W. F.

13. Ferguson, J. DeGis

4. Ferguson, Tom B.

Sargent, Henrietta

5. Ferguson, Tom B.

Ferguson, J. DeBose

6. Jackson M[oses]

14. not identified

7. King, Benjamin

15. not identified

8. Lee, Fitzhugh

16. not identified

9. McCargo, W. W.

10. Mosely, H.


Atlanta Campaign, 1864--Personal narratives, Confederate.

Beauregard, G. T. (Gustave Toutant), 1818-1893.



Confederate States of America. Army. Mississippi Cavalry Regiment, 28th.

Ferguson family.

Ferguson, Samuel Wragg, 1834-1917.

Johnston, Albert Sidney, 1803-1862.



Lee, Fitzhugh, 1835-1905.

Letters (correspondence)





United States Military Academy--Students.

United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Campaigns--Personal narratives, Confederate.






Contents (with dates)








Memoirs, 1900-1902 [1820-1902]


Photographs, undated



Photocopies of items in Ferguson Papers (1857-1865, 1887-1915)