Friday, November 24, 2017

Hell Hounds – Meet the Pack
(Part III)

By now, quite a few of you will have enjoyed the latest adventure to befall Daemon Grim and his pack of infernal bounty hunters – the Hell Hounds.

To increase your enjoyment in a way that helps you understand the mindset behind each main character, I’ve been giving you a little rundown on those individuals making up the Pack – as it’s unlovingly called by the denizens of hell.

This week should be fun, because I’ll introduce you to one of the basest, most disturbingly twisted, foulmouthed people who have ever lived. And that was before he wound up in hell.

Who am I talking about?

Meet Yamato Takeru’s pack partner
Champ Ferguson

Ferguson was born in Clinton County, Kentucky, on the Tennessee border, an area known as the Kentucky Highlands where people owned few slaves. The oldest of 10 children, Champ initially followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming a farmer.
Sometime in the 1850’s, Ferguson moved with his wife and family to the Calfkiller River Valley in White County, Tennessee. On the outside, he appeared to be an ordinary guy. However, there was something about him that earned a reputation for violence even before the American Civil War began.
(In 1858, he led a group of men who tied Sheriff James Read of Fentress County, Tennessee to a tree. Ferguson rode his horse in circles around the tree, hacking at Read repeatedly with a sword until he was dead. He also allegedly stabbed a man named Evans at a camp meeting, though Evans survived.)
That sadistic streak was given a new lease of life during the Civil War.
Let’s set the scene:
East Tennessee – a mostly mountainous region – was generally and, in many areas, strongly opposed to secession from the Union. The remainder of the state, which had more slaveholders, particularly in the plantation areas of West Tennessee, supported the Confederacy.
This historical division made East Tennessee a target for unofficial engagements by both sides. In addition, Confederate troops were committed to run-ins with local partisans, which took place far from the front.
From 1862, Tennessee was occupied by Union troops, which contributed greatly to tension and division. The mountainous terrain and lack of law enforcement during the war gave guerrillas and other irregular military groups significant freedom of action. Numerous incidents were recorded of guerrilla and revenge attacks, especially on the Cumberland Plateau. Families were often divided among their members. (For example, one of Champ Ferguson's brothers fought as a member of the Union's 1st Kentucky Cavalry and was killed in action).
Early in the war, Ferguson organized a guerrilla company and began attacking any civilians he believed supported the Union. And that was the problem, for many local feuds were carried out in occupied Tennessee under the guise of war.
Champ’s men cooperated with Confederate military units led by Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan and Major General Joseph Wheeler, and evidence suggests that Morgan commissioned Ferguson as a captain of partisan rangers.
Ferguson's men, however, were seldom subject to military discipline and often violated the normal rules of warfare. Following their captain’s lead, led them along a dark path and stories circulated about Ferguson's alleged sadism, including tales that he on occasion would decapitate his prisoners and make a sport of rolling their heads down hillsides.
It was said he was also willing to kill elderly, wounded and bedridden men.

At the war's end, Ferguson disbanded his unit and returned home to his farm. As soon as the Union troops learned of his return, they arrested him and took him to Nashville, where he was tried by a military court for 53 murders.
Ferguson's trial attracted national attention and soon became a major media event. One of Ferguson's main adversaries on the Union side, "Tinker Dave" Beatty, testified against him. Just as Ferguson had led a band of guerrillas against any real or suspected unionists, Beatty had led his own band of guerrillas against any real or suspected confederates. Not surprisingly each had done his best to kill the other. Ferguson acknowledged his band had killed many of the victims named and said he had killed over 100 men himself, insisting this conduct was simply part of his duty as a soldier. To no avail.
On October 10, 1865, Ferguson was found guilty and sentenced to hang. He made a statement in response to the verdict:
“I am yet and will die a Rebel … I killed a good many men, of course, but I never killed a man who I did not know was seeking my life. … I had always heard that the Federals would not take me prisoner, but would shoot me down wherever they found me. That is what made me kill more than I otherwise would have done. I repeat that I die a Rebel out and out, and my last request is that my body be removed to White County, Tennessee, and be buried in good Rebel soil.”
He was hanged on October 20, 1865, one of only two men to be tried, convicted and executed for war crimes during the Civil War. Following his wishes, Ferguson was buried in the France Cemetery north of Sparta, White County, Tennessee.

But he wasn’t allowed to rest for long. Satan had been watching events closely and had designs in mind for this cold and callous killer, especially as his tracking skills were close to that of his chief bounty hunter.
Not a day had passed before the undead Champ Ferguson was reanimated – his senses, strength and speed augmented – and set the poignant task of hunting rebels, these ones dissenters and revolutionaries against the despicable doctrines of the devil.
And he was a natural. For nobody he has ever been set upon has escaped.
(Mind you, that might also have something to do with one of the other little adaptations the Undertaker was authorized to make. You see, Champ’s favorite tidbits are the body parts of those he’s sent to apprehend) yum yum!
By the way...this is what he looks like now in armor:

And there you have it, a bluntly straight little introduction to the best tracker this side of infernity, apart from Daemon Grim himself of course.

But don’t take my word for it.

D’ya Wanna see just how brutal and crass Champ can be?
Then look no further:


1 comment:

  1. Of course, Champ Ferguson was born in Kentucky -- if you've ever lived there, Weston's portrayal of Ferguson will take you back to those mad days of lies and passion. One of my favorite things about the Heroes in Hell series, and particularly how Andrew P. Weston interprets it, is that the historical characters are so true-to-life, and the mythical characters so fantastical, a dichotomy that makes this series breathe like few other series ever do. I'd been craving more Daemon Grim, and this full length novel, the follow-on to Hell Bound, weaves its way from Weston's series stories, intensifies all it touches, and brings you back into the fold with great panache and aplomb. If you're looking to dive into the Hell series as the saccharine holiday season revs up, if you're looking for anti-heroes ascendant but don't know where to start then Hell Hounds is the perfect books for you.