Hurlbut, Stephen A.

Born: 1815-11-29 Charleston, South Carolina

Died: 1882-03-27 Lima, Peru

Hurlbut studied law in Charleston, South Carolina, with James L. Petigru and earned admittance to the bar in 1837. He served as an adjutant during the Seminole wars. Hurlbut had a falling out with Petigru in 1845 and moved to Belvidere, Illinois, and set up a new law practice. In 1847, he married Sophronia R. Stevens, with whom he had two children. A Whig, Hurlbut served as a delegate to the state constitutional convention that same year and as an elector for Zachary Taylor the following year. He won election to the Illinois General Assembly as a Republican in 1858 and remained there until the secession crisis. An acquaintance of Abraham Lincoln's, Lincoln dispatched Hurlbut to South Carolina after its secession to gauge and encourage unionist sentiments there. Upon his return, Hurlbut began raising troops and soon received a commission as brigadier general. He served in Missouri until early 1862, when he took command of a division under Ulysses S. Grant, commanding it with skill at Shiloh through the aftermath of the Corinth campaign. Hurlbut won promotion to major general in September and received a corps command by the end of the year. He primarily engaged in occupation duty through 1863 and lost his command in April 1864 due to his failure to check Nathan Bedford Forrest's Confederate cavalry. In the fall, Hurlbut received a new command in the Department of the Gulf but soon fell into conflict with civilian officials and faced accusations of corruption. Edward R. S. Canby ordered a court-martial but the trial never took place.

Steven E. Woodworth, "Hurlbut, Stephen Augustus," American National Biography, ed. by John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 11:560-61.