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Wordpix John

Diary of Elsie Caroline Duncan Hurt

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Guest C.D.RICKMAN

grandpa; have you run across any reference to the lady that hid under the river bluff.

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Yes, but she does not give a name. She writes "One woman took her daughter and her two little grandchildren down under the bluff with the river almost at their feet. They stayed under there three days and two nights without food or water and came out Tuesday. They came to our house, ......they were  hungry and cold."

Grandpa

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Grandpa,

Here's a possible discrepancy to consider. In its March 30, 2000, story about the diary, the Commercial Appeal states that Elsie Caroline Duncan Hurt "moved to Memphis in 1902. She built a house of McLean where she lived for the rest of her long life." (She died in 1943.) Other sources report that the diary was found in 2000 when the house was being remodeled. Here's the possible discrepancy: my cousin did a little research and discovered that Elsie Caroline sold that house on September 11, 1919. Did you see anything in the diary that would indicate that it was written after 1919--like mention of events that took place later than that?

John

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John: I went back to the library Monday (another dental appt.). I didn't have a lot of time to read but I did copy another 20 pages. I spent just a little time scanning the rest of the book. Toward the back there is information about the house on McClean, but I didn't look at it closely. There is also information about deeds, but unfortunately this is mostly about deeds in Roane and Washington counties.

I found a reference about Millie (I figure that whoever transcribed the document misread Millie for Middie, so I will refer to her as Millie henceforth) moving across the river "to live in the old stone house that belonged to our Father". Maybe the old stone house was at Pybern.

I still haven't figured out exactly where they lived at Shiloh.  Caroline states that "we had four houses on our place".  She also states that "we had to bring water from the spring at the edge of the swamp". She also mentions going down to the "bottom field". There is also a description of the "old chimney at rock hill". It was a double fireplace 8 feet deep and 6 feet across.

From what I've read so far, I consider this document to be important as a record of rural life in the South (and the Shiloh area specifically) during the (Un)Civil War.

I don't have facilities to scan the copied pages, or else I would scan and send to CD, but I still hope to get down to Shiloh in the next few weeks.

Grandpa

 

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Grandpa, thanks for reading the diary and reporting on it.

If we could figure out the meaning of "rock hill," we might know where they lived. Joseph Duncan's 1862 will mentions two seemingly different tracts with "eastern rock hill" as part of the description. One is "eastern Rock hill the land whereon my family now resides." He says that tract was 200 acres. The other is "eastern rock hill on the Seay Place by deed 260 acres on lick creek west side of Tenn." (For more detail, see my post above from about this time last week.) If both of those tracts are near Seay field or between it and Lick Creek, would that area fit the descriptions in the diary?

The information about deeds in Washington and Roane Counties is of interest to me but probably doesn't have much bearing on events at Shiloh. Joseph Duncan was born in Washington County and married his first wife in Roane County before arriving in Hardin County. I've seen some records that indicate that he still owned a few tracts of land in those counties after he moved to Hardin County.

John

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Guest C.D.RICKMAN

I have a lead on rock hill. in 1849 lewis seay sold land on lick creek to Pratt and if I'm right this is the land that duncan owned in 1862. I think duncan bought it in 1860 or61 and if I'm right grandpa and I know this hill very well.

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C.D., I knew you could do it! (See my post from Wednesday, May 13). Two questions:

First, where would I find that land on a map?

Second, could any of that land be in McNairy County? I found this reference to a tract which looks like one described in Joseph Duncan's will:

"F-391: 23 Feb. 1857, W.G. Campbell to Joseph Duncan, both of Hardin Co. TN, $600, 200 acres on west side TN River on waters of Lick Creek, Range 5, Sec. 1. Wit. Larkin F. Bell, James W. Bell. (FHL film 983,085)" Source: Duncans in McNairy County: http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~dobson/tn/tnmcnair.htm 

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John: This particular piece of land is not in McNairy County. It is directly South of the Louis Seay place, even South of the bark road. There is a hill like she describes, and it is at the edge of Lick creek bottom. I don't remember a spring, but if there was one there, I'll bet we could find where it was.

However, right now , I lean to the belief that the "eastern rock hill" where they lived was more toward Hamburg on the edge of Lick creek bottom.

Here's something that is of interest to CD. Caroline mentions a Baptist preacher that she calls Brother Peter. CD's gg grandfather (my ggg uncle) was Peter Wood, and he was a Baptist preacher. If CD is right about the location of "eastern rock hill", Peter Wood lived less than a mile away.

And the plot thickens!

Everyone have a glorious and safe Memorial Day! Be sure to fly your flag!

Just one more historical tidbit. In 1917 my uncle road in a mule drawn wagon to Corinth, MS to catch the train to enter the US Army. His grandfather, a Confederate veteran had died only 3 years earlier. His grandfather was paroled at Corinth in 1865. I'm guessing that this was a common situation across the South.

Grandpa

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Grandpa: I have to ask tongue in cheek which flag you want us to fly. I fly my flag every day just not the 1 that flew over the USS Arizona on December 7, 2007.

And yes I hope everyone has a safe Memorial Day and remembers all those who gave their last full measure of devotion. I hope to decorate a civil war veterans grave here who came to Idaho to mine & is buried here in Boise.

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I've got to start proof reading my notes. I don't think my uncle "road" in a wagon, however, he probably "rode" in a wagon.

Regarding flags: At Shady Grove cemetery at Shiloh, we have two small pipes embedded in the ground on each side of my great grandfather's head stone. One is for the current US flag and the other is for the Confederate battle flag.

By-the-way, wherever Caroline lived, she mentions that there were several Union soldiers buried closeby.

Grandpa

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Guest C.D.RICKMAN

Grandpa; there is a spring on either side of sugar hill, each one on the edge of a swamp. these springs I know where they are. I still hope to find the deed to really pinpoint the site. also there is a new flagpole (large)just outside the fence at shady grove. and to all veterans,may you have a peaceful veterans day,you deserve it!

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As I continue to study Joseph Duncan's land holdings, I see that he may have owned as many as three separate tracts along Lick Creek with a total of 660 acres. In his descriptions of the tracts, he mentions "Eastern Rock Hill." The other tract was in McNairy County. That would seem to place it near Michie, which is where my grandmother said the family went during the battle. (But all my notions about the Duncan family have been called into question since we started looking at this diary.)

Please have a safe Memorial Day weekend... and fly BOTH flags. All of our ancestors--union and confederate alike--were patriots who fought and died to protect the land they loved from an enemy they feared.

John

 

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I hope everyone has a safe Memorial day weekend.Also we need to remember our military personel in state and overseas also.it is because of the past veterans of past wars and soldiers in active duty at this time that we can sit here at a computer and talk our "war game"

Mona

P.S. I fly the American Flag on Memorial day and on june 3rd here in Tenn fly the Confederate flag for Confederate Memorial day(the date is different in different states.)I cant leave a flag up because people steal them.And I'm on a main hiway!

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My hat's off to all our veterans, especially to my friend C.D., who served two tours of duty in Vietnam.

I'll put my flag out tomorrow morning and leave it up through Independence Day. Sad to say, flags will be few and far between in my neighborhood.

John; probably some of the Duncan family did move out to Monterey (modern day Michie) after all, there were a bunch of them. Or they may have gone only as far as 'Mickey's'. This family was named Michie, but the modern day name of the area where they lived is Pebble Hill. Peeble Hill....Rock Hill....? (Nah, that would be too easy). I look forward to the day, after I finally get these copied pages to CD, and after you and CD have read them, that I can see comments from both of you. Maybe you or CD can scan them and post them on the SDG site. I guess I should tell you that Caroline was a woman of the Old South. Some of her ideas and feelings are a product of her time. However, her writings are a good window into the trials and tribulations of the civilians in the South during the UnCivil conflict.

Each memorial day I'm reminded of what Gen Grant said. (I probably don't have the quote correct, but you can look it up) In effect he compared Shiloh to the War in general, and said " Shiloh....a case of Southern dash against Northern pluck and endurance...the troops on both sides were Americans, united they need not fear any foreign foe".

Take care everyone.

Grandpa

 

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Grandpa: it is an ironic coincidence that I am reading Grant's Memoirs right now and actually read the exact language you reference in two different pages of the book. the final quote "The troops on both sides were Americans, and united they need not fear any foreign foe. It is possible that the Southern men started in with more dash than his Northern brother: but he was corresponding less enduring".

Everyone have a great Day!!!!!!:)

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Grandpa, help me understand the terrain a little better. The Bark Road I see on old maps doesn't seem to exist as a single road on modern maps. It looks like the old Bark Road might be a combination of the current Bark Drive, Gladden Road, Fraley Drive and maybe a section of Federal Road that goes on to Hamburg. Is that anywhere near correct? I never studied this area until the last few days. I always believed Joseph Duncan lived in a house at Duncan field, and my Hurley and Strawn ancestors lived north of the current park. I always assumed that Joseph Duncan was an ordinary farmer who struggled to support his family. Since you started reading the diary and I started studying the land transactions (with a lot of help from C.D. and my cousin), I never considered that he might have had more significant land holdings than just the Duncan field area.

But, then, I never considered the ramifications of having so many children. In 1862, he would have had several children who were grown and married with children of their own--like Millie and Dick Blevins. With all those children and all that land, Duncan relatives were probably spread all over the area--all the way from Monterey to Hamburg, across the river and a couple of other places as well.

When it works out for you and C.D. to get the diary pages to me, I'll find a way to get them posted so we can all read them and discuss them further. Also, I'd like to work it out to be at Shiloh some time when you and/or C.D. are there so you can show me. Mona once mentioned getting a group together for Confederate Memorial Day. However, it will probably be mid-July before I can get there.

John

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Iam ready for when ever you all can get here-^-#-)9 beeing a Wed puts a cramp on visiting but I'm rerady if any body is or afterward.Just let me know.

Mona

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Idaho Native: I think Grant used a poor choice of words. I don't think the Southern soldier was less enduring. Quite the contrary, due to circumstances he had to be more enduring. I think a better choice for the Northern soldier would be patience; patience to endure until the greater industrial power of the North would tip the scales in their favor. Southern commanders had to be more bold and creative to try to overcome deficiencies in quantity of manpower and equipment. Still, when you put the qualities of both sides together, it makes for one damn fine group.

Grandpa

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John, I am going to defer to CD for an answer about Bark road. Some of the old maps can be a bit confusing.

As for the location of 'eastern rock hill', it may take some on site investigation to try to discover it. Feb and Mar are the best time to go tromping in the woods at Shiloh. Of course, the site is probably on private property, but we shouldn't have any problem getting permission to tromp around.

Grandpa

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Guest C.D.RICKMAN

John: the bark road ran from the corinth road to the hamburg-savannah road. there are stories about it got the name. one was that it was paved with tree bark from where they hauled it to the tannery, but the tannery was called bark's tannery. but the road was what is now the bark road and fraley road. J.J.Fraley lived at the intersection of the hamburg-savannah road and the bark road. I don't know when the road became fraley road but during the battle it was the bark road.

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Guest C.D.RICKMAN

Grandpa: what a great find, I may have to get some help from that feller what has the cannonball with a big L in front of it but we need to find a way for all students of the battle of shiloh to read this.

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Here's an update on the diary. After receiving a copy of most of it from Grandpa via C.D. on Friday, I decided to contact Mike Cody, the man who "found" the diary. (Based on my conversation with him today, it looks like he obtained at least part of it from one of Elsie Caroline's descendants.)

Mike told me today that he has asked his secretary to copy the diary and mail a copy to me. As soon as I get a chance to examine it, I will determine the best way to reproduce it and make it available to everyone in the group so we can continue this discussion. I hope to be able to reproduce it electronically and post it online, but I don't know what I'm getting into yet.

One point I've noticed in the part I've read is that she writes quite a bit about life in the area in the years following the battle. I have tended to think of the battle primiraily as a two-day event or a several-weeks-long event if you measure time from the first engagement at Pittsburg Landing until the federal army moved on. However, the diary makes it clear that hard times and military operations continued for years.

I owe a special thanks to Grandpa and C.D. for (1) helping me finally get my hands on this document after all these years and (2) giving me insight into the location and geography of land described in the diary. Thanks, guys!

I'll report again as soon as I have more news.

John

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It is an interesting phenomenon that we think of battles for the most part only as they relate to the soldiers who fought in them. I have a book A Strange and Blighted Land: Gettysburg the Aftermath of the Battle which I think I bought in Gettysburg in 2002. To bad there are not more studies about the locals & how things were for them before, during and after the battles. I am reading To The North Anna River by Gordon Rhea. Elizabeth Couse has a home behind Union lines but both Confederate and Union troops keep going back and forth across her property and through her house for several days during this phase of the Overland Campaign. it is interesting to read her accounts of events in the book. Obviously it was not any fun for her or her family.

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You are SO right. I suppose the focus on soldiers comes largely because that's the information we have. They kept official records, wrote letters home, kept diaries and wrote memoirs after the war. Maybe the mothers and children didn't think they had much of a story to tell. But, really, parts of this diary are as chilling as any soldier's story. A couple of examples:

First, Joseph Duncan's daughter, "Middie," apparently stayed inside the house on Duncan Field with five small children all day on Sunday, April 6. Her oldest child would have been 7 or 8. Even with modern interpretations that point to a diminished level of action across Duncan field that day, it was still a harrowing experience. Would Middie and the children have been any more terrified if Gen. Ruggles had a few more cannons?

Second, the Duncans clearly were confederate sympathizers--at least 5 of their men joined the confederate army--but when the union army left the area, their reaction was along the lines of, "Oh, no! Now, we don't have anyone to protect us!" For them, the battle was just beginning.

John

 

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