CORINTH – The old Duncan House, now a National Historic Landmark, served as headquarters for generals during the Battle of Shiloh and the Siege of Corinth and Battle of Corinth.
This article was written and published in The NE Mississippi Daily Journal in 1996. It's an interesting and informative article, written by Jane Clark Summers. Some data gathered in the 20 years since this was written might vary slightly from the article. Regardless, it's an excellent article and well-written.Recently renovated and renamed Vaughan-Aldridge GuestHouse, it now serves as a bed and breakfast.
Constructed by William Lane Duncan shortly before the Civil War, the house has been remodeled several times. However, the basic structure of the 1857 house is still the same.
Duncan served as sheriff of old Tishomingo County, which included what is now Alcorn, Prentiss and Tishomingo. During the war, Gen. G.T. Beauregard took possession of the house. Duncan moved his family to Rienzi but his son, Thomas D. Duncan, later moved into the house. It remained in Thomas Duncan’s possession until his children reached adulthood.
Thomas Duncan distinguished himself during the Civil War as a member of Confederate Nathan Bedford Forrest’s unit. He fought in the Battle of Shiloh and Brice’s Crossroads and many other bloody skirmishes, according to Rosemary Williams’ historical book, “Crossroads City Chronicle.”
The home once faced Jackson Street at the corner of Bunch Street, just north of the Curlee House, another of Corinth’s 16 National Historic Landmarks. The house was moved to its present location on Polk Street when W. Thomas “Tom” and Lillian Young, grandparents of one of the current owners, began construction of their two-story colonial southern home on Jackson Street. They lived in the house while their new home was being built.
Their daughter Estelle Young and her husband, A.J. “Buddy” Vaughan, later lived in the cottage on Polk Street where they raised their family which included Rosemary Vaughan Aldridge. “I moved into the house when I was an infant and lived there until I graduated from college and got married,” Rosemary said.
Rosemary and J.L. now live in the house where her grandparents and her parents later lived on Jackson Street where the Duncan House once stood. The Duncan House was moved on logs pulled by mules to its site at 810 Polk Street in 1915, J.L. said.
Both Rosemary and J.L. have special interests in the antebellum cottage – she because it was her childhood home as well as a connection to her ancestors and J.L. because he’s a history buff.
J.L. has researched the house’s history, particularly during the Civil War era. “There are only 2,000 National Historic Landmarks in the United States and this is one,” J.L. boasts.
After the Battle of Shiloh, Beauregard moved to the Fish Pond House. The Battle of Shiloh, which took place in April 1862, was planned in the Duncan House by Beauregard and Gen. John C. Breckinridge, J.L. said. It is thought that Union Gen. William Rosecrans also used the Duncan house as his headquarters before he took command of the Army of the Cumberland, J.L. said.
An article in the Jackson, Tenn., newspaper reported that Union Gen. U.S. Grant tied his horse up to a tree in front of the Duncan house while he visited Rosecrans.
The Aldridges acquired the Duncan House in 1990 and began extensive renovations in 1993. It was completed earlier this year and officially opened as a bed in breakfast on Sept. 24.
The only advertising done by the business is word of mouth. Divided into two suites joined by a common entrance and kitchen, accommodations include a full southern breakfast prepared by J.L., who also makes fresh muscadine jam and homemade muffins. He throws in a tour of the historic district upon request.
Originally the house consisted of three rooms connected by a dog trot, J.L. said. Old family pictures confirm that the house at one time had a wrap around porch on one side. The historic marker in front states that the house had five rooms. The “Crossroads Chronicle” states that the house had five rooms, two halls and a kitchen with a veranda across the front.
Paired brackets under the eaves and the entrance with sidelights and transom windows are authentic. The Aldridges restored the original appearance of the house’s front by removing twin windows on each side of the door and replacing them with tall single windows.
Lowered ceilings were removed during renovations to reveal 10 foot and 14-foot 2-inch ceilings. The seals were 12-inch-by-12-inch solid oak timbers.
Rosemary, who is trying to reduce her hours as manager of their real estate business, said utilizing the old house as a bed and breakfast may provide just what she needs to work part-time. Aldridge is a real estate salesman and contractor.