Grand Army of the Republic
Stephen Hurlburt, second (first elected) Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, November 29, 1815. He was educated in the schools of that city and studied law in the office of Judge Pettigru, and there and then entered into the practice of law in the city of his birth. During the Florida War he enlisted as sergeant and was promoted to lieutenant on staff duty.
In 1847 he moved to Belvidere, Illinois, and opened a law office. He was a leading member of the Illinois convention in 1847, and a presidential elector on the Whig ticket in 1848. He served in the Illinois Legislature in 1859-61 and again in 1867.
At the outbreak of the Rebellion he commanded a local militia company at Belvidere and was at Springfield when the first call for troops was made. He telegraphed his company, asking the members to enlist, which they did, becoming Company B, 15th Illinois Infantry. May 27, 1861, Captain Hurlburt was commissioned by the President a brigadier general, United State Volunteers, and was first placed on duty in Missouri. Later he was placed in command of the 4th Division, Army of the Tennessee and was the first to land at Pittsburgh Landing. For bravery and skill at the Battle of Shiloh he was promoted to major general. After the evacuation of Corinth he was placed in command of the 16th Army Corps and had command at Memphis, Tennessee. He commanded the Department of the Gulf 1864-65, succeeding General Banks and was mustered out of service June 20, 1865.
He resumed law practice in Belvidere until 1869, when he was appointed by President Grant as Minister of the United States at Bogota, Columbia. He returned home in 1872, was elected a Member of Congress, being reelected in 1876. He was appointed by President Garfield as Envoy Extraordinary to the Republic of Peru and died in Lima, Peru, March 28, 1882. He is buried in Belvidere, Illinois. He served two terms as Commander-in-Chief, 1866 to 1868.
Lorraine Orton, Past Department President
Woman's Relief Corps, Aux. to GAR
Camillus, New York
November 25, 1999