Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston sat down in a Corinth home with his staff in early April 1862 to draw up his surprise attack on Union forces encamped at Pittsburg Landing on the Tennessee River 20 miles northwest of town.
The Battle of Shiloh on April 6-7 early during the Civil War had an important role in the western battle campaign and the cost was bloody. There were nearly 24,000 casualties – including Gen. Johnston – the highest-ranking military officer to ever die on a battlefield.
The Curlee House in downtown Corinth where the late general wrote the significant step in the annals of Battle of Shiloh history managed to survive the war and the rigors of time itself.
The structure used as headquarters on both sides of the Civil War effort located across the street from Corinth City Hall at 705 Jackson Street will be open to the general public for free tours from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday during a busy day in Corinth with the return of the Green Market in the CARE Garden and the Corinth Coca-Cola Classic 10K.
Now called the Verandah-Curlee House, the home built in 1857 remains the only historic home in Corinth open to the general public.
The National Historic Landmark remains under the leadership of the Siege and Battle of Corinth Commission, who invite the community to see what the house has to offer or plan a revisit to the beautiful property.
“This house remains a community treasure,” said commission chair John James, as board members gathered inside the dining room this week to discuss ongoing efforts to sustain the property and discuss its goals, direction and future. “It is our duty to protect and preserve it.”
“There is so much history in this house,” added the chair, as commission members Brett Garrett, Ron Moore and Dennis Brown joined house curator Stephanie Hutson for the meeting. Member Jim Wheeler was unable to attend.
Top on the agenda was discussion on generating revenues for the house and marketing the property as a great place to host events such as bridal showers, receptions, weddings and photography sessions for families, couples or students.
“It’s such a great place to host events,” noted Hutson. “And a great place to take pictures.”
After being closed in recent years for renovations and upkeep, many local people may not know the house remains open for tours, she said.
House hours are 9:30 a.m.—2 p.m. on Mondays, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 1-4 p.m. on Sundays.
“We hear all the time from people who say they have not visited the house in many years,” said the curator. “We invite people to come back and see what has been done.”
Saturday’s free open house is the first of what the commission hopes to be many community events to help bring awareness of the historic structure and promote the property as a resource.
Hutson shared other ideas during the meeting with commission members, including increased awareness of the various local families who have been connected to the house since the Civil War era, preserve architectural integrity and interpret its importance, interpret the importance of the home as being headquarters for generals for both Confederate and Union forces and increase student visitation and partner with local schools.
James hopes the commission can develop a sense of pride in ownership of the house with local people.
Brett Garrett wants to see the adjacent Cottage House developed into a special weekend getaway.
James noted developing the cottage into a bed and breakfast type overnight experience is a commission goal.
Ron Moore said he is pleased to see the historic house get the attention it deserves as a historically significant building in Corinth.
“This area is steeped in American history,” said Moore. “We can sometimes forget the uniqueness of our location.”
Dennis Brown hopes the home’s rich Civil War history continues to be promoted and understood.
“We invite the community to see what house has to offer,” added James. “Saturday would be the perfect time to do so.”
About the commission members:
John James is a lifelong Corinth resident and has been commission chair since 2020. He obtained his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in accounting from the University of Mississippi and is also a licensed CPA. He is the general manager for Refreshments, Inc. James also serves as the president of the Kiwanis Club of Corinth, a board member of the Community Development Council of The Alliance, a board member of the Commission on the Future of Alcorn County and a member of First Presbyterian Church. He is married to Virginia Boyd James and they have one daughter, Campbell James.
Ron Moore is a Corinth native and Alcorn Central graduate. Retired from the hotel industry where he served as general manager for several hotel chains, he has a degree in history from Mississippi State and Master of Divinity from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. He is a bishop with the Anglican Church and an ordained minister. He is married to Crystal Moore and they have four children.
Brett Garrett grew up in Alcorn County. He loves his hometown and wants to be a part of the growth of Corinth. He has a passion for history and he loves antiques and historic homes. Garrett is practice administrator at Garrett Eye Clinic. He is married to Jennifer Garrett and they have two sons, 14-year-old Jon Worth and 10-year-old Jack.
Dennis Brown has lived in Corinth for 45 years. He obtained his B.S. degree from Faulkner University. Brown retired from Caterpillar after 31 years of service. He is a member of Sons of American Revolution, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Sons of Confederate Veterans and Military Order of Stars and Bars. He is married to Regenia Brown and they have one daughter, Amanda Comer.
Jim Wheeler has been commission treasurer since April 2018. A native of Corinth, he is graduate of Corinth High School and Mississippi State University. A U.S. Navy veteran, his professional experience includes public accounting, auditing and tax, corporate vice-president and CFO and tax accountant. He is married to former Cathy Worsham and they have four kids, eight grandkids and one great-grandchild. Cathy is the daughter of the late Clifford Worsham.
Stephanie Hutson – has been house curator since April 2016. She is a proud “Army Brat” and her experience growing up around the world instilled an appreciation for the rich culture and history everywhere she lived. Hutson has a B.S. degree in history from Ole Miss and Master’s degree in military history and political science from American Military University.
(For more information about the Verandah-Curlee House, call Stephanie Hutson at 662-287-9501 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.)