Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
March 31, 1862

Official Records of the War of the Rebellion
Series II, Volume 3, p. 782

Official Records of the War of the Rebellion Series II, Volume 3, p. 782 Headquarters Department of Western Virginia,
Wheeling, Va., January 27, 1862.

I, Milton J. Ferguson, on being released by Brig. Gen. W. S. Rosecrans, commanding Department of Western Virginia, do solemnly pledge my honor that I will procure the release of Lieutenant-Colonel Neff, now a prisoner in the hands of the C. S. authorities, or on failing to do so will deliver myself into the custody of General Rosecrans, and will not meanwhile, until the exchange is effected or I return, do any act hostile to the Government of the United States nor give aid or information to its enemies.

Milton J. Ferguson.


Virginia, January 27, 1862.

I, Milton J. Ferguson, a military prisoner, subject as such to the order of General William S. Rosecrans and also a prisoner of the District Court of the United States for the Western District of Virginia, holding at Wheeling, being desirous to effect an exchange between myself and Lieutenant-Colonel Neff (of a regiment of Kentucky volunteers), being taken prisoner by the Confederate Army at Scary, on the Kanawha River, and now a prisoner of the Confederate Army, and the said General Rosecrans proposing to allow the said Ferguson to make the trial to obtain such exchange provided said court will release said Ferguson on his parole, and the said court, through the district attorney, has assented to the same: Now, therefore, I, Milton J. Ferguson, do hereby pledge my parole of honor that in the event I fail to obtain such exchange and to procure the release of said Colonel Neff within sixty days from the date hereof I will surrender myself a prisoner to the jailer of Ohio County, in the town of Wheeling, there to be kept as a prisoner of the said court until discharged by a due course of law.

Given under my hand the day and year above written.

Milton J. Ferguson.

Official Records of the War of the Rebellion
Series II, Volume 3, p. 834, 835-36-

War Department, Richmond, March 31, 1862.

Col. M. J. Ferguson,
167th Regiment Virginia Militia, Present.

Sir: I have received your letter in which you ask either for a certificate of exchange or for passport to return to your captors in conformity with the terms of your parole. The President will not consent to your return to captivity until the enemy sends back to us an equal number in exchange for prisoners already released and sent to them for whom no return has been received. General Wood will be informed immediately of your desire to return to fulfill your parole and of the reasons of your compulsory detention.

Very respectfully,

Geo. W. Randolph,
Secretary of War


War Department, Richmond, April 1, 1862.

Maj. Gen. B. Huger, Norfolk, Va.

Sir: Col. M. J. Ferguson, of the One hundred and sixty-seventh Regiment Virginia Militia; Col. J. W. Davis, of the Virginia cavalry battalion; Private H. Spurlock, Eighth Virginia Regiment of Cavalry, and Private William B. Compton, Thirty-first Virginia Militia Regiment, have applied to this Department for passports to return to Wheeling in order to surrender themselves in conformity with the terms of their parole as prisoners of war. The Department has refused to grant the passports and these persons are detained within our lines until the enemy shall have returned to us an equal number of our prisoners in exchange for prisoners released and sent to them for whom no return has been received. You will inform Major-General Wool of this fact, stating the names of these persons, that his Government may be informed of the application and of the reasons of their detention.

Your obedient servant,

Geo. W. Randolph,
Secretary of War.

Official Records of the War of the Rebellion
Series II, Volume 4, p. 791-92-

Salt Pond, Giles County, Va., June 27, 1862.

Hon. G. W. Randolph, Secretary of War.

Sir: On the 29th of January last I was paroled by Brigadier-General Rosecrans for exchange as a prisoner of war. The nature of parole will fully appear by reference to a letter addressed to yourself by Colonel Willey and myself about the 27th of March last. At that time negotiations for exchange of prisoners of war were suspended. On the 31st of March you addressed a letter to me informing me that the President would not consent to my return to captivity according to the terms of my parole, for reasons therein stated. On the 14th of May I called again at your office and was then informed that I had not yet been exchanged, but that negotiations were again opened and it was thought a system of exchange would be agreed upon very soon. My parole and the letter aforesaid is in your office and you will see that my parole was limited. I am doing nothing for the good of my country while in my present condition. If the reason for my compulsory detention has ceased to exist I want to be exchanged or to receive passports to return to my captors in conformity to the terms of my parole. The individual designated in my parole to be returned for me was Lieutenant-Colonel Neff, of the Second Kentucky Regiment.

I am now in the vicinity of the force with which I was acting nearly twelve months since when captured. I hope to be able to render some service, and if any regard is paid to the date of capture in exchanging prisoners let me have the benefit of the preference. If I can receive a certificate of exchange according to my parole or a passport for return to my captors be pleased to forward it to me at Giles Court-House, Va., care of Col. Peter C. Buffington. My condition is extremely embarrassing to me and I beg of the Department to act in my behalf.

Yours, most respectfully,

Milton J. Ferguson.

[First indorsement.]

I wish to see his letter of March 27.

[G. W. R.]

[Second indorsement.]

The file room cannot find anything except the inclosures. I find letter written to Mr. F. telling him that he could not be exchanged until the enemy should make due return for men already released and that General Wool would be informed of the fact and reasons for the compulsory detention.


[Third indorsement.]

Inform him that the enemy have agreed to a general exchange and that communications were interrupted by the recent operations before Richmond.

G. W. R.

[Inclosure No. 1.]

House of Representatives, March 26, 1862.

Honorable Secretary of War.

Sir: You can place the most implicit confidence in the inclosed statement of Colonels Willey and Ferguson and Private Spurlock. I know them well. The two latter are my constituents. I am myself personally cognizant of nearly everything stated by these three gentlemen. Allow me to beg the most speedy action in this matter. You kindly promised this morning to call the attention of the President to the case. Your predecessor sent a communication to our body containing a suggestion that Congress should pass a resolution declaring our officers now here on parole from the enemy released therefrom. I do not see much prospect of proper and timely relief in this quarter.

In great hast, yours, respectfully,

A.G. Jenkins.

[Inclosure No. 2.]

Richmond, Va., March 28, 1862.

Hon. G. W. Randolph, Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:

On the 26th instant the Secretary of War asked of us to submit to him a written statement of our cases as paroled prisoners, which we did. We now solicit a prompt decision that we either return to our captors or that we are exchanged, and if we return to our captors that our passports be furnished us.


William J. Willey.
Milton J. Ferguson.
Hurston Spurlock

Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: March 1862

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