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Fielding Hurst facts for kids

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Fielding Jackson Hurst (born Claiborne County, Tennessee 1810, died McNairy County, Tennessee 1882) was a surveyor and planter who served as a colonel in the Union Army, commanding the 6th Regiment Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry during the American Civil War. He later served as a Unionist member of the Tennessee Senate and as a judge. As a Southern Unionist and slaveholder, he remains a controversial figure.

Hurst was born in 1810. Around 1834, he and his wife Melocky moved to McNairy County. He worked as a surveyor and owned a plantation with several families of slaves.

In 1861, Tennessee voted to secede from the United States and join the fledgling Confederate States of America as its last state. Hurst remained steadfastly Unionist, and was imprisoned in Nashville along with many other prominent Unionist Tennesseans after the vote. After Tennessee was retaken by Union troops in 1862, Hurst was freed.

Hurst formed a unit of mounted scouts. They served as self-funded irregulars until Tennessee military governor Andrew Johnson commissioned Hurst as commander of the newly formed 6th Regiment Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry. Hurst and his unit gained a reputation for harsh tactics, angering Confederates and even leading to his brief reimprisonment by Union officials. His forces clashed several times with those of Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest. Hurst resigned his commission in December 1864 due to poor health.

On March 4, 1865, he was elected as a Unionist to represent District 21 of the Tennessee Senate, which at that time consisted of Hardeman, Hardin and McNairy counties. His first vote was to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment. He resigned after the Senate session ended on June 12, 1865, to accept a position as circuit judge.

Hurst was a local leader of the Grand Army of the Republic. He died in poverty in 1882 and remained a hated figure among Confederate sympathizers.

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