Here's a little article on Mr. Fergueson..
Champ Ferguson (November 29, 1821–October 20, 1865) was a notorious Confederate guerrilla during the American Civil War. He claimed to have killed over 100 Union soldiers and pro-Union civilians.
Ferguson was born in Clinton County, Kentucky, on the Tennessee border. He was the oldest of ten children. Like his father, he became a farmer. Ferguson had a reputation for violence even before the war. Reportedly, in 1858, his men tied a Fentress County Tennessee Sherriff named James Read (or Reid/Reed) to a tree and Ferguson rode his horse around the tree, hacking at Read with his sword for each round until he was dead. He also reportedly stabbed a man named Evans at a camp meeting. Evans survived, In the 1850s, Ferguson moved with his wife and family to the Calfkiller River Valley in White County, Tennessee.
For reasons still debated, Ferguson developed a passionate hatred for the Union cause. Local tradition claims Federal soldiers may have raped his wife and daughter. Another theory is that he maintained grudges against local individuals who supported the Union. Ferguson himself later said Confederate officials had promised him they would ignore a previous murder charge if he supported the southern war effort.
During the Civil War, East Tennessee, a mostly mountainous region, was divided over secession from the Union. The terrain and lack of law enforcement due to the war gave guerrilla fighters and irregular military groups significant freedom in the region. There are substantial numbers of recorded incidents of guerrilla and revenge attacks, especially on the Cumberland Plateau. Even families were often divided. One of Champ Ferguson's brothers was killed as a member of the Union 1st Kentucky Cavalry.
At the start of the war, Ferguson organized a unit and started attacking civilians believed to support the Union. Occasionally, his guerrilla band cooperated with Confederate military units led by Brig. Gen. John Hunt Morgan and Maj. Gen. Joseph Wheeler. Some evidence indicates Ferguson was actually made a captain of partisan rangers by Morgan. However, Ferguson's men were seldom subject to military discipline and frequently violated the normal rules of warfare.
There are legends of Ferguson's alleged sadism, including stories that he decapitated prisoners and rolled their heads down hillsides and was willing to kill elderly and bedridden men. He was once arrested by Confederate authorities for the murder of a government official and was detained for two months in Wytheville, Virginia, though he was finally released.
At the war's end, Ferguson returned home to his farm. He was promptly arrested by Union troops and was tried in Nashville for 53 murders, an attempt to document his wartime activities. His trial attracted national attention and became a major media event. One of Ferguson's main adversaries during the conflict, "Tinker Dave" Beaty, testified against him-just as Ferguson had lead a band of guerrillas against any suspected or real pro-unionists, Beaty had lead a band of guerrillas against any suspected or real pro-confederates. Not surprisingly, both had done their best to kill the other. Ferguson acknowledged his band had killed many of the victims named and admitted killing over 100 men personally. Nevertheless, he insisted it was only part of his military duty. The number of wounded men and prisoners his band killed after the Battle of Saltville is still a matter of dispute. These were mostly members of the all-black 5th United States Colored Cavalry and their white officers. Ferguson and his men murdered the wounded in their beds at the hospital, and only the arrival of Thomas' Legion of Cherokee Indians and Highlanders prevented further slaughter. Ferguson departed as soon as he heard that regular Confederate troops had arrived.
On October 10, 1865, Champ was found guilty and sentenced to hang. He made a statement in response to the verdict: "I am yet and will die a Rebel ... I killed a good many men, of course, but I never killed a man who I did not know was seeking my life. ... I had always heard that the Federals would not take me prisoner, but would shoot me down wherever they found me. That is what made me kill more than I otherwise would have done. I repeat that I die a Rebel out and out, and my last request is that my body be removed to White County, Tennessee, and be buried in "good Rebel soil. He was hanged on October 20, 1865. His body was buried in the France Cemetery on Highway 84 (Monterey Highway) north of Sparta, Tennessee.
Even today, Champ Ferguson is viewed very differently in parts of the region, as is shown by these historical markers