Here’s an artifact concerning Sharpsburg veteran Lieutenant John Nimrod Ferguson, 13th Georgia Infantry, while he was a prisoner at Point Lookout, MD. He’d been wounded at Monocacy Junction and captured in July 1864 on Early’s raid.

Ferguson survived the war and was Constable of Shiloh in Union Parish, LA when he was murdered in 1887 at age 49.

This telegram form is among the papers which make up his Compiled Service Records at the National Archives, and is online thanks to fold3. It is a fascinating look into a corner of the late-war prisoner exchange system. My transcription below.

United States Military Telegraph.
By Telegraph from Washington DC
Dated Sept 29 3.48 P 1864
To Brig Genl Barnes

By authority of the Secy of War you will please send by this evenings Boat to Fort Monroe First Lieut J. N. Ferguson 13th Georgia to be delivered to the senior Naval Officer at Hampton Roads for exchange.

Send him under a guard. Reply [Respectfully?]

W. Hoffman

Lt. Benj F Southwick
Co. C. 5th Mass


Notes on the document

The commanding officer at Point Lookout was Brigadier General James Barnes. He was previously Colonel of the 18th Massachusetts and commanded a Brigade in the Fifth Army Corps at Antietam.

C.G.P = Office of Commissary General of Prisoners, Washington, DC

William Hoffman (1807-1884, USMA 1828), Colonel of the 3rd US Infantry, was Commissary General of Prisoners with charge of all US prisons, prison camps, and prison hospitals. His headquarters were in Washington, DC.

Here’s a lovely c. 1865 photograph of him (standing on steps at right) at that headquarters office from the Library of Congress.

Lieutenant Benjamin Franklin Southwick (1835-1906), former Sergeant in the 9-month 5th Massachusetts of 1862-63, was 2nd Lieutenant of Company C for their 100-day stint from July to November 1864. The 5th Massachusetts were on garrison duty in and around Baltimore in that period. I do not know why Lieutenant Southwick’s name appears on this document.

After the war he was a successful wholesale fruit and produce dealer in Peabody and a state legislator (1888-92).

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