Michigan in the Civil War

Browse by Name: Ferry, William Montague

Ferry family (William Montague Ferry)

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Thirty letters of William Montague Ferry (1861-1865) written to his wife while he was serving in the 14th Michigan Infantry. He entered the service as first lieutenant, was captain and commissary of subsistence, and made brevet major and lieutenant colonel, U. S. Volunteers, for faithful and meritorious service. The letters give details of camp life, describe the countryside, the mud, the perverseness of the mule teams on the march to Corinth, the supply steamers plying the Mississippi, the siege of Vicksburg with a vivid account of its surrender. He makes critical comments on his commanders, government officials and their policies, the abolitionists, and the freeing of slaves. He became a soldier because he felt it his duty to help preserve the Union but not to free the slaves. The letters contain comments about the trials and duties of a quartermaster, and criticisms of clergymen, doctors, officers, southern women, Negroes as soldiers, and the Christian Commission. He describes tricks used in obstructing river traffic, the occupation of Vicksburg, and the condition of Contraband camps. He tells stories of Forrest's raids and of Negro spies in camp. Ferry, of Grand Haven, Mich., carried on his father's lumber business, and he was also a regent of the University of Michigan.

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