James M. Ferris

James M. Ferris was born 1838 in Oakland, Oakland County, Michigan, the son of Morgan (b. 1806) and Catharine (Wycoff, b. 1802).

Morgan and Catharine were born native New Yorkers and were probably married in New York sometime before 1832. (Morgan may have been living in Roxbury, Delaware County, New York in 1830.) In any case they resided in New York for some years before emigrating to Michigan. By 1840 Morgan was living in Southfield, Oakland County. By 1850 James was living with his family in Southfield, Oakland County, where his father worked a farm. By 1860 James was a student living with his family and working as a foundryman, probably for his father who was operating an iron foundry in Lyons, Ionia County.

James stood 5’10” with gray eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion, and was 23 years old and probably still living and working in Ionia County when he enlisted as Second Sergeant in Company E on May 13, 1861. (Company E was composed in large part by men from Clinton and Ingham counties, as well as parts of Ionia County.) He was acting Sergeant Major in August of 1862, and from September 11, 1862, through April of 1863, he was in Michigan on detached service, recruiting for the Regiment. By the end of May he was back on duty with the regiment in Virginia, and he reenlisted on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Byron, Kent County. James was probably absent at his family’s home in Michigan on veteran’s furlough in January. Curiously, he was reported as having been reduced to the ranks on January 31, 1864, offense(s) unknown.

In any case, he probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February of 1864.

On June 1 or 2, 1864, James was taken prisoner at Cold Harbor (or Gaines’ Mills), Virginia, and confined in Andersonville prison, Georgia for a period of about 10 months (until about February of 1865). He was transferred as prisoner-of-war and, curiously, listed as a Sergeant to Company E, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. Following his release in March of 1865 he was sent to the United States general hospital, Division No. 1 in Annapolis, Maryland, on March 7, 1865, and was subsequently transferred to Camp Chase, Ohio on April 23. He was mustered out as a Sergeant on July 6, 1865 at Detroit.

It is not known if James ever returned to Michigan.

He was married and had at least one child, a daughter Effale. He claimed in 1898 that his wife died in 1894.

He was probably living in New York when he was admitted to a National Military Home, probably the Southern Branch (?). On January 16, 1896, James was admitted to the National Military Home in San Francisco; he was still living there in 1898. By 1899, however, he was living at the National Military Home in Danville, Vermillion County, Illinois.

In 1876 he applied for and received a pension (no. 362796).

According to his daughter James died on June 16, 1901, in the National Military Home at Danville, Illinois, but there doesn't appear to be any record of his burial in Danville.