October 13, 2016

Cumberland Blood: Champ Ferguson’s Civil War

What an insightful presentation on a truly morally corrupt killer. Mr. Mays presentation was well organized and well presented. The personal touch was good although, I probably wouldn't hang a hanging in my dining room. The silent breaks between segments might have been a little less distracting if some aspect of the presentation required some attention during those breaks. Perhaps just bringing the scene to follow for the audience to focus on.

My pleasure to be present,
Bob Hazen
Thomas D. Mays gave a talk last night about Champ Ferguson, Confederate Guerrilla from Tennessee. I found his talk and visuals to be interesting and enlightening. Ferguson was an infamous killer who used the Civil War as a pretext to murder and steal from those who could be called his “enemies”. I had heard Ferguson’s motivation was that his family was killed by Pro-Union guerillas. However, Mays blew that myth up. He pointed out that during Ferguson’s trial in the summer of 1865, he was given almost “star” treatment in the press, and was asked many questions about his deeds and motivation. According to what Mays discovered, Ferguson’s main reason for killing people in cold blood was that “they would have tried to kill me”.

At the end of the war, Ferguson was being held in jail by the Confederates because of wrongful killings- even they were disgusted by Ferguson’s many murders and foul deeds, though they were ostensibly being done in the name of the South. During the question and answer time, Mays was asked if Ferguson, along with Capt. Henry Wirz, commandant of Andersonville Prison were the only two tried for War Crimes after the war. He had to admit that a case could be made for that- though IMO Ferguson was very much more culpable than Wirz was. I am looking forward to reading his book "Cumberland Blood" on Ferguson. -
Mark Terry
An interesting presentation on a subject I don’t know much about.  This guerrilla leader was a blood thirsty killer, mostly of people that he had known for years!  Yes, the Civil War was more than battles and generals.  Well done! - Rick Solomon
I thought the speaker was excellent.  And with my new hearing aids, I could hear easily.  The subject was on a topic I knew nothing.  He had good slides. - Jack Seeley
The speaker reported about the confederate guerrilla leader with a historian's pen.  In today's jargon, Ferguson would be regarded as a racist terrorist.  Maintaining objectivity took skill. - Jorgen Bader
The speaker spoke well, but for me the subject of a Civil War terrorist isn't particularly interesting. - Craig Miller