Military Wiki
Stephen Augustus Hurlbut
Steven A. Hurlbut
Born (1815-11-29)November 29, 1815
Died March 27, 1882(1882-03-27) (aged 66)
Place of birth Charleston, South Carolina
Place of death Lima, Peru
Place of burial Belvidere Cemetery, Belvidere, Illinois
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch Union Army
Years of service 1861 - 1865
Rank Union army maj gen rank insignia.jpg Major General
Commands held XVI Corps
Department of the Gulf
Battles/wars American Civil War

Stephen Augustus Hurlbut (November 29, 1815 – March 27, 1882), was a politician, diplomat, and commander of the U.S. Army of the Gulf in the American Civil War.


Born in Charleston, South Carolina, Hurlbut studied law and was admitted to the South Carolina bar in 1837. During the Second Seminole War, he served as adjutant of a South Carolina infantry regiment. In 1845, Hurlbut moved to Illinois, established a law practice in Belvidere. He was a presidential elector for the Whig Party in the 1848 Presidential Election. He was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1859 and again in 1861.

When the Civil War erupted, Hurlbut joined the Union Army and became a brigadier general on May 17, 1861 and a major general on September 17, 1862. He commanded the 4th Division, Army of the Tennessee at the Battle of Shiloh and in the advance towards Corinth and the subsequent siege. He also led a division at the Battle of Hatchie's Bridge, taking command of the entire Union force after Gen Edward Ord was wounded.

Hurlbut commanded XVI Corps from his headquarters at Memphis, Tennessee. It has been suggested by the historian Bertram Korn, that during his garrison duty at Memphis, Tennessee, Hurlbut issued antisemitic orders confiscating Jewish property and preventing Jews from trading.[1] Gen Hurlbut led a corps under William T. Sherman in the 1864 Meridian expedition. Hurlbut subsequently commanded the Department of the Gulf, succeeding Nathaniel P. Banks and serving in that capacity for the remainder of the war. Hurlbut was suspected of peculation during his term as department commander.

After mustering out of the Union Army on June 20, 1865, Hurlbut was one of the founding fathers of the Grand Army of the Republic, of which he served as commander-in-chief from 1866 to 1868.

He was appointed Minister Resident to Colombia in 1869, where he served three years. In 1872, Hurlbut was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican Congressman from Illinois. Elected for a second term in 1874, he was defeated for reelection in 1876. Hurlbut was made ambassador to Peru in 1881, where he had an embarrassing altercation with Gen. Hugh Judson Kilpatrick, U.S. minister to Chile during the War of the Pacific. Each had become a partisan of the country to which he was the US diplomatic representative. Hurlburt served as U.S. ambassador to Peru until his death in Lima in 1882. Hurlbut and his spouse are buried together in Belvidere Cemetery, Belvidere, Illinois.

See also[]


  • According to Donald T. Phillips, the author of Lincoln on Leadership 1992, Hachette Book Group,N.Y., N.Y., Stephen A. Hurlbut was "one of his (Lincoln's) trusted colleagues." Lincoln sent him "on a fact-finding mission to Charleston .... to meet with the Confederate leaders, evaluate the situation (i.e., the crisis developing over Ft. Sumter) and report back...." "War, according to Hurlbut, was inevitable, unless the South was allowed to secede." As a result of this report, "Lincoln decided to resupply the embattled fort; if his ships were fired upon, it would be the Confederacy that started the war, not the Union."[citation needed]


  1. Korn, Bertram Wallace (1951). American Jewry and the Civil War. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America. p. 154. OCLC 761780. 


  • Lash, Jeffrey N. (Jeffrey Norman), A politician turned general: the Civil War career of Stephen Augustus Hurlbut. Kent, Ohio; London: Kent State University Press, 2003.
  • PD-icon.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John, eds. (1891) "article name needed" Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography New York: D. Appleton 
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
John B. Hawley
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 4th congressional district

March 4, 1873–March 3, 1877
Succeeded by
William Lathrop
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Peter J. Sullivan
United States Minister to Colombia
November 13, 1869–April 3, 1872
Succeeded by
William L. Scruggs
Preceded by
Isaac P. Christiancy
United States Minister to Peru
August 2, 1881–March 27, 1882
Succeeded by
Seth Ledyard Phelps
Political offices
Preceded by
Benjamin F. Stephenson
Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic
1866 – 1868
Succeeded by
John A. Logan

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