General Ulysses S. Grant nearly met his end, or, at least, certain capture by Confederate General William Hicks Jackson, on a visit through Memphis.
In his memoirs, Ulysses S. Grant, American President and famous Civil War general, related a chance occurrence near Memphis that nearly changed the course of his life.
On his way to Memphis, on the 23rd of June, 1862, Grant and a small convoy of soldiers were riding past a house where they saw a gentleman relaxing on his porch. Grant stopped and asked for a drink of water.
The gentleman, Mr. De Loche, introduced Grant to a neighbor who had stopped by. Grant enjoyed talking with the two men, especially De Loche, whom Grant learned was a Union sympathizer. De Loche's wife invited General Grant to stay for dinner, but the general sensed an acute uneasiness in his host and declined the offer. As it was very hot that day, Grant and his men later stopped to rest in the shade of an orchard, less than a mile away.
A few days after Grant arrived in Memphis, De Loche visited him and explained his less-than-neighborly behavior. Grant learned that the Confederate general William Hicks Jackson was very close to De Loche's home the day they met.
Even worse, after meeting Grant, De Loche's neighbor had raced off to inform General Jackson of Grant's whereabouts. Fearing for Grant's safety, De Loche thought it would be better to encourage Grant to leave as soon as possible.
General Jackson attempted to capture Grant, and rode as far as De Loche's home, but stopped his pursuit, because his horses were tired. Had Jackson continued the chase, he would have found Grant and his men at rest, and captured them by surprise.
Years after the end of the Civil War, Grant and Jackson met each other, and reminisced about the encounter that they almost had. General Jackson said he was glad he not captured Grant, after all, and Grant heartily agreed.
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