Built mostly by slave labor in 1828, the Hunt-Phelan Home displays a rich and elegant past. Several hundred slaves were taught English by members of the Freedmen's Bureau at an on-site school house. The house was built in two stages, the first in 1830 by George H. Wyatt. The second stage, circa 1851, added a two-story kitchen and service wing and a two-story porch. In the early months of the Civil War, the house served as headquarters for Confederate General Leonidas Polk. After the Battle of Shiloh, Union General Ulysses S. Grant used the house, planning the siege of Vicksburg in the parlor. The mansion also served as a Union hospital from 1863-1865. Although unlikely, it has been rumored that a tunnel under the house was part of the underground railroad through which slaves escaped and boarded boats for Illinois.
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