John William O'Ferrall
John William O'Ferrall (sometimes
spelled O'Ferrald or Farrell) was born on September 23, 1823, in Mar-tinsburg,
Virginia (now West Virginia), the son of John and Humric (House) O'Ferrall. His
father was a War of 1812 veteran and longtime Virginia state representative; a
younger half-brother was later governor of Virginia. His youth and early school
years were spent in Berkeley Springs, Virginia. In 1856 he moved to Enterprise,
Mississippi. There O'Ferrall, "an active, energetic businessman," became a
wealthy merchant. In the spring of 1861 O'Ferrall was elected captain of the
"Enterprise Guards," a company of twelve-month volunteers raised to meet the
state's emergency need for troops. Governor John Pettus of Mississippi sent
O'Ferrall's company, among others, to help guard Pensacoia, Florida. On July 8,
1861, the governor appointed O'Ferrall brigadier general of Mississippi state
troops. He led the 4th Brigade of the Army of Mississippi, stationed in the
southeast portion of that state, through the fall of 1861. In October, 1861,
Governor Pettus ordered O'Ferrall to transfer his two regiments (1,800 men) to
Confederate service, and the Army of Mississippi gradually dissolved. The two
regiments were turned over to Confederate authorities in Pensacola, Florida, and
O'Ferrall was out of a job. Returning to Enterprise, he resumed his career as a
merchant, his house always open to feed and shelter passing troops. The governor
subsequently appointed O'Farrell a captain of state troops. By January, 1864,
anxious to do his part again, or perhaps just bored, General O'Ferrall wrote
President Davis requesting an appointment in the quartermaster corps, or "some
other honorable position" in the army. He did not obtain the desired
appointment, but was instead named an agent to the area tax collector.
Aftet the war he remained in Enterprise, where he worked as a cotton weigher and insurance agent, representing twelve different insurance companies. An active Democrat, he was elected to the Enterprise city council, and in 1880 he was elected to the Board of Public Works of his congressional district. General O'Ferrall (described as "large and stately in appearance," and "one of the most prosperous citizens of Mississippi'") died on December 10, 1895, in Enterprise. He and his family are buried in Enterprise Cemetery.
Heitman lists O'Ferrall as a general, but his general's rank was derived through state authority.
Reference: More Generals in Gray. Bruce S. Allardice. A companion volume to Generals in Gray. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge. LA.