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Thomas Hurst grew up on a farm just outside Savannah, on the east side. His father, 35-year-old Daniel R., worked as both farmer and mill wright; his mother, 32-year-old Elizabeth Black Hurst, mostly looked after Thomas's young brothers and sisters. With the excitement of the attempted Confederate-sponsored State conscription of early March 1862, disrupted by the landing at Savannah of Colonel Worthington's 46th Ohio Infantry, then 13-year-old Thomas Hurst appears to have spent a lot of time in town, acting as witness to all that was taking place. Years later (at the time he wrote this article) he remembers, "the Tennessee River was full to overflowing in March 1862. And the roads were a muddy mess, especially during the first week of April." He knew that "General Buell was to make a junction at Hamburg." And he knew "that the steamer Tigress was General Grant's flagship." On Sunday morning, April 6th, "wild staccato of the blazing musketry, accompanied by the sullen roar of thundering artillery" drew him to the waterfront, just behind the Cherry Mansion, where he, "witnessed General Grant lead a cream-colored horse aboard Tigress (despite claims years later that General Grant required the use of crutches, at that time.)" Some of the other gems remembered by Thomas Hurst: Paymaster Douglas Putnam, on Grant's staff, "gave up his horse about 2 p.m. for use of LtCol McPherson." [McPherson would ride this horse north across Snake Creek, in company with John Rawlins, to meet and hurry forward Major General Lew Wallace.] He saw the steamer Henry Fitzhugh, one smokestack all shot up, making its way downriver carrying the first wounded soldiers away from the battle; He was told by Paymaster Douglas Putnam, who accompanied Grant on the battlefield, that "after dark on Sunday, he went with General Grant to the Tigress and slept aboard." [This is interesting, and does not appear far-fetched, because we know Grant and Rawlins attempted to seek shelter from the rain Sunday night and sleep in the makeshift Hospital. U.S. Grant records that he was unable to rest there, with all the cries from the wounded, and returned outside. Rawlins, on the other hand (in his biography) records that "he slept like a baby in that Hospital." -- Did General Grant really sleep in the rain, under the tree, with Tigress close at hand?] Thomas Hurst remembers the steamer Glendale (and only the Glendale) as having a calliope on board; Hurst recalls the steamer Dunleith (sometimes spelled Demleith) as being the steamer Governor Harvey was leaving (after visiting wounded soldiers of the 16th Wisconsin) when he slipped and fell into the Tennessee River and drowned. After the war, Thomas Hurst married Mary Smith and moved to Pennsylvania (where Reverend T. M. Hurst became Pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Arnot.) Cheers Ozzy References: http://www.jstor.org/stable/42637415?loggedin=true&seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents Battle of Shiloh by T.M. Hurst, pages 82-96. http://www.findagrave.com/memorial/68880126 Reverend T. M. Hurst http://www.findagrave.com/memorial/179882598/Daniel-Robinson-Hurst Thomas Hurst's father, Daniel, of Savannah Tennessee
While investigating the actions of Ulysses S. Grant during the early hours of Sunday 6 April 1862 at Savannah, ran across this interesting letter, written by Annie Cherry [in March 1862 the 30-year-old wife of William Harrell Cherry (39) and residing with two children at "the brick house" in Savannah.] Written 6 December 1892 to amateur historian Thomas M. Hurst (formerly of Hardin County, but living in Nashville), the letter recalls General Grant's actions upon hearing the sound of distant artillery fire that morning; and details Grant's personal conduct during the weeks the General was a guest of the Cherry Family: December 6th, 1892 Mr. T. M. Hurst Dear Sir: Your letter of inquiry concerning "General Grant's physical condition the morning the battle of Shiloh began," was received several days ago. You will please pardon my seeming negligence, and accept my assurance, gladly given, that on the date mentioned, I believe General Grant was thoroughly sober. He was at my breakfast table when he heard the report from a cannon. Holding untasted a cup of coffee he paused in conversation to listen a moment at the report of another cannon. He hastily arose, saying to his staff officers: "Gentlemen, the ball is in motion, let's be off." His flag ship (as he called his special steamboat) was lying at the wharf, and in fifteen minutes he, staff officers, orderlies, clerks and horses had embarked. During the weeks of his occupancy of my house he always demeaned himself as a gentleman; was kind, courteous, genial and considerate, and never appeared in my presence in a state of intoxication. He was uniformly kind to citizens, irrespective of politics, and whenever the brutality to citizens, so frequently indulged by the soldier, was made known to him he at once sent orders for the release of the captives or restoration of the property appropriated. As a proof of his thoughtful kindness I mention that during the battle on Sunday he wrote and sent to my mother a safeguard to prevent her home being used for a hospital. Yielding to the appeals of humanity she did, however, open her home to the wounded and sick for three months in succession, often administering to their wants and necessities in person. In such high esteem did General Grant hold such magnanimity, under the most aggravating circumstances, that he thanked her most heartily, assuring her that considering the great losses and gross indignities she had received from the soldiers, her nobility of soul was more to be admired than the fame of a general leading an army of victorious soldiers. On one occasion he asked to be introduced to my mother and family, saying: "If you have no objections to introducing me, I will be much pleased." I replied: "Not because you are a great general, but because I believe you to be a gentleman I will introduce you to them unhesitatingly." In deference to the fact that I was a Southern lady with Southern proclivities, he attired himself in a full suit of citizen's clothes, and touching himself on the shoulder said: "I thought you would like this best," evincing delicate courtesy and gentlemanly instincts of which the honors of war, nor merited promotion had not deprived him. I feel that it is due the surviving members of General Grant's family to mention some evidences of his greatheartedness as shown in kindness to Southern people. "Military necessity" was not to him a term synonymous with unlicensed vandalism or approval of terrorism. He was too great and too true to his manhood to be fettered by prejudice. I am pleased that I can give these reminiscences of a man who as a soldier and statesman received and merited the homage of a nation -- for they are testimonies to his inner life and innate characteristics, worthy to be recorded with the magnanimity of "kingship over self" as manifested on the day of General Lee's surrender. Respectfully, (signed) Mrs. W. H. Cherry