A Civil War Biography

Orris Sanford Ferry

Ferry was born 15 August 1823 in Bethel, Fairfield County, Connecticut. He graduated from Yale College in 1844 then studied the law. Admitted to the bar in 1846 he established a practice in Fairfield County. In 1849 he was appointed judge of the county probate court. He represented Connecticut's 12th district in the state senate in 1855 and 1856 then, after failing in a bid for a seat in the US House of Representatives in the election of 1856, was named prosecuting attorney for Fairfield County. He remained in that position until he took his seat on 4 March 1859, representing the 4th district, in the US House. He served in the House until 3 March 1861 failing in his reelection bid the previous fall.

Following his failed reelection bid Ferry joined the Union army, becoming the colonel of the 5th Connecticut Volunteer infantry regiment on 23 July 1861. The 5th, with Ferry in command, saw action in the Shenandoah Valley. He was promoted to brigadier general on 17 March 1862 and commanded the 2nd brigade in James Shield's division during the later stages of "Stonewall" Jackson's Valley campaign. Ferry and his brigade reinforced the Army of the Potomac on the peninsula shortly after the Seven Days battle becoming the 3rd brigade, 2nd division, IV Corps. He was then sent to South Carolina where he commanded a district. He returned to the main eastern theater of the war as commander of the 3rd division, X Corps, Army of the James and took part in actions around Bermuda Hundred and Petersburg.

Following the war Ferry was elected as a Republican to the US Senate in 1866 taking his seat on 4 March 1867. He was reelected in 1873 by a combination of Liberal Republicans and Democrats. He died on 21 November 1875 in Norwalk, Connecticut while still in office.

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