Around Christmas in 1861, Alexander Huff and a group of Unionist Tennesseans attempted to arrest one of his distant relatives: infamous Confederate guerilla leader Samuel “Champ” Ferguson. Huff’s attempt to detain Ferguson only served to enrage his target; Ferguson later made a drunken promise to Huff’s son Preston that he would kill his father. In May 1862, Ferguson’s opportunity for revenge arrived when, on a raid through Fentress County, he made a point to stop at Huff’s house. Huff was in his front yard when Ferguson and his men appeared. He quickly retreated into the house, but a few of Ferguson’s men entered and brought him back out. They detained Huff and a few other men on the porch of a neighbor’s house. Upon hearing their pickets firing, Ferguson’s men took off in the direction of the engagement, but Ferguson approached the porch and drew down on Huff. Huff raised his arms in surrender and began pleading with Ferguson to spare his life. Another prisoner stepped between the two men and implored Ferguson to put his gun down, but Ferguson would not be denied, yelling at the man to step aside. Huff attempted an escape, running down the road before he was gunned down. A neighbor found him “sitting up with his back against a tree, begging for water.” From the initial volley, Huff suffered a broken arm and ankle and multiple gunshot wounds. A few women screamed for Ferguson to stop the attack but, upon Ferguson’s orders, one of his men shot Huff through the back of the head at close range execution-style. Huff struggled for roughly 30 minutes before succumbing to his injuries. In 1865, the Federal government charged Ferguson with 53 counts of murder, including the murder of Alexander Huff. His trial was held between July and September of that year in Nashville, Tennessee, where he was convicted and hanged on October 20.
- Attempted to arrest guerilla leader Champ Ferguson, a distant relative
- Captured and executed by Ferguson