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Orris Sanford Ferry


In office
March 4, 1867 – November 21, 1875
Preceded by Lafayette S. Foster
Succeeded by James E. English

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's 4th district
In office
March 4, 1859 – March 3, 1861
Preceded by George C. Woodruff
Succeeded by William D. Bishop

Born August 15, 1823
Bethel, Connecticut, USA
Died November 21, 1875
Norwalk, Connecticut, USA
Political party Republican, Liberal Republican
Alma mater Yale College
Profession Politician, Lawyer, Judge
Religion Congregational Christian
Military service
Service/branch Union Army
Rank Brigadier General
Battles/wars American Civil War

Orris Sanford Ferry (August 15, 1823 – November 21, 1875) was a Republican American lawyer and politician from Connecticut who served in the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate. He was also a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

Contents

Early life

Ferry was born in 1823, in Bethel, Connecticut. [1] Ferry went to the Hopkins School, as a child. As a boy, he worked at his father's shoe factory.[2] It was here that he realized his love of books. Then, at age 17, Ferry entered Yale. During his time at Yale, Ferry served as one of the editors of the Yale Literary Magazine.[3] He graduated from in 1844. Ferry first settled in Fairfield, Connecticut, where studied law under Thomas B. Osborne. He then settled in Norwalk, Connecticut, and served in the office of Thomas B. Butler. Ferry then married Charlotte Bissell, the daughter of Governor Clark Bissell. He was admitted to the bar, in 1846.[2] In 1847, Ferry was commissioned a Lieutenant Colonel in the 12th Regiment of Connecticut Militia.[3]

Early political career

Ferry was a probate judge, soon after being admitted to the bar.[2] At age 32, Ferry was elected to serve a term as in the Connecticut Senate. He then served as the State's Attorney, for Fairfield County, from 1856 to 1859.[1] Ferry was a member of the Toleration Party, but in 1856, he became a Republican. After joining the party, Ferry campaigned for John C. Frémont. In 1857, he was nominated to serve in the United States House of Representatives, but lost the election.[2][1] In 1859, he was again nominated, and this time he won. During his time in Congress, Ferry was known for extemporaneous speaking. Ferry gave numerous speaches against slavery, during his term, and was a member of the Committee of Thirty-Three. In 1861, Ferry was renominated for his seat, but lost.[2]

Battle of Winchester, 1862 Ferry served in McDowell's Division      Confederate      Union

American Civil War

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Ferry volunteered as part of the initial defence of Washington D. C..[2] On July 23, 1861, Ferry was put in command of the 5th Regiment Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, and given the rank of Colonel.[4] In early March of 1862, Ferry led his troops across the Potomac River, and attacked the Confederates at Winchester, Virginia.[3] Ferry was promoted to the rank of brigadier-general, on March 17, 1862.[4] Ferry was then put under the command of General James Shields, whose devision joined that of General Irvin McDowell. It was under McDowell that Ferry fought at the First Battle of Winchester.[3] During the war, Ferry served in the VII Corps, X Corps, and XVIII Corps. Ferry served as the head of the District of Lehigh, from August 20, 1863 until May of 1864,[5] and served as the head of the District of Philadelphia, from December 16, 1864 until July 15, 1865.[6] Ferry was brevetted a Major General, because of his services during the Peninsula Campaign.[4] Foster resigned from the military, on July 15, 1865.[4]

Later political career and death

I see around me the life-long friends and neighbors of Senator Ferry, now no more; a man whom I cherished as a dear companion and associate, and to whom I looked up as one of the foremost men of the republic, in talent, integrity and patriotic spirit. More than almost any one I knew did he possess those qualities of mind and character which just at this period of our history are so greatly needed for the guidance of public affairs... Had his body been as strong as his mind and heart, he would beyond doubt have compelled universal recognition as one of the very first of statesmen in American history.

Senator Carl Schurz, from his speech during Ferry's funeral, 1875[2]

After the Civil War, Ferry began his political career again. In 1866, he ran against Lafayette S. Foster, the current incumbent of the Class III Connecticut Senate seat.[2] Ferry won the election, and took his place in the U.S. Senate, on March 4, 1867. He became very active in his committees.[1][2] He favored amnesty for members of the Confederacy.[3] In 1869, Ferry was attacked by a disease of his spine.[2] This slowed his workings in the Senate, but he continued to play an active role. From 1870 to 1871, Ferry served as the chairman of the Committee to Audit and Control the Contingent Expenses. From 1871 to 1875, he served as the chairman of the Committee on Patents. Ferry also served on the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.[1] Ferry's last speech in Congress was considered an uncommonly eloquent speech about his former friend, William Alfred Buckingham. He then left capital for a new medical treatment. The treatment was to help heal Ferry's decaying spine, but the procedure failed.[3] On November 20, 1875, Ferry's friends and doctors helped take him home. Ferry died of his spine disease, the next day.[3] His funeral was attended by such dignitaries as Senator Carl Schurz. Ferry was interred at Norwalk Cemetery.[2][4]

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, Orris S. Ferry
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Obituary of Orris S. Ferry
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Williams pp. 277-281
  4. ^ a b c d e Eicher pp. 233-234
  5. ^ Eicher p. 831
  6. ^ Eicher p. 842

References

External links

See also

Political offices
Preceded by
Lafayette S. Foster
United States Senator (Class 3) from Connecticut
March 4, 1867 – November 21, 1875
Served alongside: James Dixon, William A. Buckingham and William W. Eaton
Succeeded by
James E. English
Preceded by
George C. Woodruff
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's 4th congressional district

March 4, 1859 – March 3, 1861
Succeeded by
William D. Bishop
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