In the fall of 1865, as the nation was struggling to bind up its wounds and put the bloodiest war in its history behind it, the United States Army executed two ex-Confederates for war crimes.
One was Henry Wirz, the unfortunate former commandant of Andersonville Prison.
The other was the notorious Champ Ferguson.
In a talk based on his award-winning book, Confederate Outlaw: Champ Ferguson and the Civil War in Appalachia, Brian McKnight will discuss the actions of Confederate guerilla Champ Ferguson that led to his conviction for the “murder” of 53 citizens of Kentucky and Tennessee during the Civil War. Long remembered as the most unforgiving and inglorious warrior of the Confederacy, some historians dismiss Ferguson as simply a cold-blooded killer.
But McKnight maintains that Ferguson, with an Old Testament mentality, fought the war on his own terms.
Ferguson believed that friends were friends and enemies were enemies–no middle ground existed. Ferguson killed prewar comrades and longtime adversaries without regret, even knowing that he might one day face his own Union scout brother in battle.
Ferguson’s partisan popularity led to widespread rumors of his last-minute escape from the gallows, and over time the borderland terrorist emerged as a folk hero for many southerners.
Numerous authors resurrected and romanticized his story, and Hollywood used Ferguson’s life to create the role played by Clint Eastwood in “The Outlaw Josey Wales.”
Come join us as Brian McKnight separates myth from reality, places Ferguson’s actions in context, and sets the record straight once and for all.