Edward Ferrero, of Italian parentage, was born in Granada, Spain, on January 18, 1831. He was brought in infancy to New York, where his father became a dance teacher—a profession followed with marked success by young Ferrero, who taught dancing at West Point. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Ferrero was lieutenant colonel of a militia regiment and on October 14, was mustered into the service of the United States as colonel of the 51st New York Infantry, a regiment which he commanded in Ambrose E. Burnside's North Carolina expedition. At Second Manassas, Sharpsburg, and Fredericksburg, he was in charge of a brigade of the IX Corps and was promoted to brigadier general on September 10, 1862. However, this appointment lapsed the following March by failure of Senate confirmation, and his later reappointment, to rank from May 6, 1863, resulted in his being junior to General R. B. Potter, who had been Ferrero's major in the 51st Infantry but became his division commander in the Vicksburg campaign. At the siege of Knoxville by James Longs tree t, Ferrero commanded a division and upon the return to the IX Corps to the Eastern theater, was given command of the newly organized colored division of the corps. At the celebrated battle of The Crater on July 30, 1864, Ferrero's men were supposed to follow Ledlie's forces in the assault on the Confederate line after the explosion. But Ledlie and Ferrero remained in a bombproof some yards in the rear, passing a bottle of rum back and forth, while the assaulting troops became a leaderless mass of humanity in the huge excavation. The whole affair was a dismal failure; casualties amounted to almost thirty-eight hundred men; and a court of inquiry headed by Winfield S. Hancock found that Ferrero was culpable for "being in a bomb-proof habitually, where he could not see the operation of his troops [nor know] the position of two brigades of his division or whether they had taken Cemetery Hill or not." Nevertheless, he received the brevet of major general in December for "meritorious service in the present campaign before Richmond and Petersburg." During the last months of the war he was stationed in the defenses of Bermuda Hundred. Returning to New York, he leased and managed a succession of large ballrooms. General Ferrero died on December 11, 1899, and was buried in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn.
Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.