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Diary of Elsie Caroline Duncan Hurt

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Jim, when you read on into the next section (that I hope to post on Wednesday), you'll see that Elsie continues on a timeline that fits with her p. 62 comment "the new year came in (1863)" and contradicts her p. 64 mention of "almost two years since the battle." Maybe it just SEEMED like it had been almost two years. Maybe she mis-counted the time. Maybe she meant to count time from the beginning of the war instead of the battle. Whatever the reason, her p. 64 statement is inconsistent with the rest of her timeline.

John

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I am enjoying reading the diary - am a little sidetracked reading Shiloh Bloody April - I realized I had not read it before after it came through an ebay purchase. I just wish i could figure out how many homes there were on the battlefield at the time of the battle and how many families lived there. Is Monterey the same place as Pea Ridge?

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Next section of the diary is now available online. Click below. This one highlights Peter Wood ("Brother Peter") who is the g-g-grandfather of C.D. Rickman and also an ancestor of Grandpa and GrandpasDaughter. (NOTE: I edited the link below so it goes to a new version with some additional information that C.D. sent me on Peter Wood.)

Book II, Section 1:

“We were booked for more trouble.”

Spring 1863 to Early 1864

“If we had to die we would die fighting. So I got the shovel and the other girl got the tonges,–then we waited.”

Sharon, I should wait and let C.D. answer your question on Monterey and Pea Ridge because he knows more on that subject than I ever will, but... I've seen one old map that shows them as being the same place.

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[

Next section of the diary is now available online. Click below.

What an interesting poignant description of hardships and suffering of the civilians. These are the times that try mens souls and I should add womens too.

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Sharon pea ridge was north east of monterey in the area that is now known as gravel hill. pea ridge was located on the purdy-corinth road. monterey is now known as michie on the maps. there was a large union hospital at monterey and all the sick and wounded on the crawl to corinth were taken there and if bad enough from there to hamburg to be put on the steam boats. one of the wisconson units were stationed at hamburg until dec. 1862, a unit from missouri was at monterey. some union soldiers were buried at the sanders cemetery and moved to the corinth nat. cemetery in 1867.

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Thanks C D I was looking at the maps in Shiloh Bloody April & they have a Mickey's and a Monterey on different roads both which confused the matter & then I am trying to remember what we discussed on the Falling Timber hike this year as we went through that area. Should have taken better notes.:D

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micky's farm was actually in the area that is now called pebble hill. which is where some historians have placed the battle of fallen timbers approx 1/4 mile due east of pebble hill. an interesting sidenote thomas maxwell was wounded on sherman's recon of pea ridge, he was a civilian guide for the union army in this region. he owned more slaves than anyone in this area and his plantation in the hamburg bottom was ran by overseers who were known to be quite ruthless. I have often wondered if his help was to prevent the army from disturbing his slaves. his reputation was almost as bad as hurst's.

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[user=29]Wrap10[/user] wrote:

On page 10, John tells us that the 200 acre tract of land that included Duncan Field was referred to as "Pleasant Land." Not sure I could think of a better name for it. It's very appropriate, and considering what took place there in April 1862, it's about as ironic as "Shiloh."

Perry, I just realized that the name "Pleasant Land" may be even more ironic than it seems on the surface. My reading this morning included Psalm 106 which uses the words "Pleasant Land." So, I did a little research. It depends on which translation you use, but "Pleasant Land" is used in at least 4 places in the King James Version as a reference to the land God promised to Abraham's descendents. Most of the time, it's called "Canaan," the "Promised Land," the "land flowing with milk and honey," or the "Beautiful Land."

John

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Wow, that is ironic. It fits though, doesn't it, given that the father was a preacher. But who could ever have imagined having over 100,000 men fight a battle across your home.

A few other things that caught my attention from the first two parts -

On page 30 she mentions that the Yankees were "real American gentlemen" as they found out after the battle, and apparently much to her surprise, given what she'd heard about them beforehand. She was also very complimentary toward Grant later on, describing a pleasant visit he had with the family. The description sounded authentic, and very much like Grant, based on what you read other people usually had to say about him as a person. For some reason though, she did not think he arrived at the battlefield until the night of the 6th, in company with Buell's army.

Speaking of which, I said before that Elsie's conversation with D.W. Reed (page 37 & 38) struck me as kind of odd. The reason being that she apparently thought the arrival of Buell's army was made possible because the Confederates failed to post sentries along the bluffs.

The problem of course is that Buell's army came ashore at Pittsburg Landing itself, which was under firm Union control during the entire battle. But did Elsie think they came ashore somewhere else, perhaps further south along the river? Based on her conversation with Reed that she relates in the journal, maybe so. She says she spoke to him (or a "Major Bead" as it's transcribed, but I think it's probably Reed) around the time the park was created, which would of course be around the mid 1890's. She asked him if Buell's army would have come ashore had the Confederates had sentinels posted along the bluffs, and she quotes Reed's reply as being, "certainly they would not have run into a hornets nest."

I think she means by that, that Reed was saying no, they would not have come ashore under those circumstances. But again, that makes no sense based on where Buell's army actually did come ashore. I suspect there may have been some sort of miscommunication or misunderstanding about where Buell’s army had come ashore. Either that or Reed was simply being polite to an obvious southern sympathizer. She does say this "Major Bead" was in Buell’s army, which isn’t true of Reed of course, so maybe it wasn’t him. Or maybe she just got that information wrong.

It could also be that she thought, for whatever reason, that Buell’s army had come ashore farther south along the river, perhaps closer to Hamburg, and on the flank of the Confederate army. That would go hand-in-hand with Maney and Forrest vacating their guard posts near Hamburg during the battle, to join the fight. If she thought Buell’s men came ashore near where those southerners had left, that might explain why she thought as she did, although it still doesn’t totally clear up the conversation with Reed, since he would have known better. Hard to say I guess.

Perry

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I think we have to remember that this is the writing and memories of a very young girl, who had a limited knowledge of actual troop movements. and proably through the years she had heard stories which bore no sembelance to facts. and she sure didn't have access to the facts we have today. and from what I know of maj. reed he would have issued such an answer, because for him the war was over and the hatchet was buried and nothing was to be gained in trying to change elsie's mind about the landing. so he answered with an evasive answer that could have applied to any situtation the army faced at shiloh.

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I'm sure Reed was probably trying to be polite, although you could also look on it as being a bit patronizing. But it depends on the circumstances. Whatever Elsie's understanding of the battle or of troop movements though, I don't think that comes into play here, since all we're talking about is where Buell's army came ashore. You don't really need to know a lot about military movements for that, just someone pointing and saying, this is where they came ashore. It appears from what she wrote that Reed didn't do that, which is a bit interesting in itself to me as to why he wouldn't. Telling her that Buell came ashore at the landing doesn't strike me as re-fighting the war. It's a pretty straightforward subject. But maybe like I was saying earlier, he was just being polite to someone who was obviously a strong southerner. No way to really know.

I don't know if she thought they came ashore somewhere other than the landing, but based on what she writes, it makes me think she may have believed they did so farther upriver than they actually did. Could be like you suggest, she heard that from someone else when she was young and had no reason to disbelieve it. If so she seems to have carried this belief into adulthood. Reed could have cleared that up for her but apparently didn't, based on her journal. Just makes me wonder why, or wonder if, as I said before, there was some sort of miscommunication between the two about the subject. It's not really that important, just got me curious.

Perry

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I'm inclined to agree with both of you. He was just being polite and saw no need to do anything but give her the answer he knew she wanted to hear.  Anyhow... here's the next section. This one will be special to anniekee because it starts with her ancestors.

Book II, Section 2:

“In the Hands of God”

Early 1864 to Winter 1864-65

“Men locked his family in the house and set fire to it  This made my brother so furious …he raised a squad of men… and drove the Torries down the river.” 

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In the first section of the diary (PDF page 10/Elsie's page 23), she says that her brother "was off at school." Does anyone know where he might have been at school or anything about the school? Could it have been in Savannah? Elsie's comment makes it sound like a boarding school.

John

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at the time of the battle students that wanted to go to what we consider high school they had to board in savannah. proably the school he attended was ross academy. this continued until the 1920's, I think the first high school on the west side of the river was shiloh in1928.

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On Elsie's page 38 of Book II of her diary, Elsie writes, "I heard a Guerilla say that when they caught a Torry they sent him the nearest way to Raddy. I knew what that meant, --that they would hang him." I suppose that is a reference to Confederate Brigadier General Phillip Dale Roddey (or "Roddy"), but I don't find much information about him other than the comment that he was known as "The Defender of North Alabama." Does anyone know more about him or a source for more information? Thanks.

John

 

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The next section of Elsie's diary is now online. This one includes the story of the flood that C.D. mentioned in the discussion of "Shiloh in the Rain."

Book II, Section 3:

“Afraid for night to come…”

April 1865 to April 1866

War’s end brought no peace for Elsie’s family: “At night when we laid down on our beds to rest we never knew what the morning would bring forth. We only could watch and pray and hope for the best.”

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John; today I held in my hand the key to the lock that was on james's cell in purdy, Billy Wagoner has it. I gave him a copy of Elsie's diary thur. night at the S.C.V. meeting, I went over to see him this morning and like us he is meserized by the diary. he inquired as to what you were going to do with the diary and when I told him I thought you were going to publish it he was very excited about that prospect and is in agreement with us that it needs to be published. he is planning on being at the cemetery cleaning. as you know he is the historian for mcnairy county and is very interested in speaking with you. he said that last week a man and his sister had come to inquire about the hurley's, I think they were from Jackson.

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Great timing, C.D. I've just posted the diary section that deals with Jim's arrest. I'm looking forward to meeting Billy Wagoner, too. See you on the 24th, if not sooner. Here's the next diary section:

Book III, Section 1:

“Condemned to be hanged...”

April 1866 to January 1867

“I saw Brother Joe standing there and Mother had her arms around him. She was crying and Pappy was standing there looking down. I ran back into the house and told Margie that they had hung Jim.”

The Diary of Elsie Caroline Duncan Hurt -- Book III, Section 1:

"Condemned to be hanged..."

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John the tanyard was approx 1.5 miles west south west of eastern rock hill.close to where hwy.22 crosses the branch just north of chambers. the mills place was approx. 12 miles from eastern rock hill proably 2 miles east of pea ridge(gravel hill). the seay place where middie and dick were staying was on lick creek in mcnairy county. it was the 200 acres that lewis seay was granted in 1839. I have been unable to locate the smith place although it had to be located on the eastern rock hill property, it may have been the old wood cabin.in the 1860 census it shows two of peter wood's daughters living in one of the houses on the property with their two children and peter's brother george, whom I believe was the old tory elsie spoke of and of course the two women were the widows she wrote of. george must have had a challenge of some type because he never lived on his own. he lived with peter until he moved in with mary and elizabeth wood in the 1850's.

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A new section of the diary is now online:

Book III, Section 2:

“We waited in silent prayer...”

1867

“Joe … took a sledge hammer with him to the jail.”

Jailbreak attempt. Joe decides he'll either break his brother out of jail or die in the effort.

The Diary of Elsie Caroline Duncan Hurt -- Book III, Section 2:

"We waited in silent prayer..."

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Regarding the 'hanging' of Mr. Duncan: I was recently reading some essays by Mike Scruggs about the WBTS. In one of them about Missouri he says "Torture by strangulation became a standard method for forcing civilians to reveal the location of money and valuables, or for deriving information on Confederate partisans." Seems this method was also used in Tennessee. I had never read anything about this before, and now in just a few months, I have seen two references to it.

For those who asked about Fall color at Shiloh, from my experience the first week of November is usually when color peaks. You notice I said "usually".

Grandpa

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John, the deed where Joseph duncan sold rock hill to Samuel stephenson verifys the amount of the sale as 900.00. I have been wondering if the blacksmith was barlett greer. the diary says they walked ten miles,and then when the posse got there friends told the posse that they had drowned crossing the river. that puts the blacksmith in the shiloh area. I know the approx. location of the greer blacksmith shop, will do some looking this fall and winter.

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