|Bristol Herald Courier|
|Sunday, January 10, 1965||page 5 B|
Eventually Hurt's marriage to Kate was planned for the evening of Dec. 14, 1864. Miss Kate's parents had died. She was living at the family home with her sister-in-law, Selina Johnson Fulkerson, whose husband, Col. Abram Fulkerson, was commanding the 63rd Tennessee Regiment at the time. Also in the house was "Aunt Lou", a slave purchased in Estillville (now Gate City) by Miss Kate's Brother, Judge Sam V. Fulkerson, who had been mortally wounded at Chickahominy in 1862.
"Retirement" - formerly the home of Colonel Samuel V. Fulkerson, was the planned scene of the wedding. You'll still find it in Abingdon, near the intersection of Colonial Drive and Fulkerson Street.
On the wedding day the best china and
silver decked the supper table while the
sideboard was piled high with sliced ham and
beef, pies, cakes, puddings, and the wedding
cake with a gold ring baked into it. The rolls
were rising and the coffee was ground. Miss
Kate was getting into her wedding dress when
Hurt, on horseback, galloped up to the house
in dreadful haste and shouted that there would
be no wedding that night because the Yankees
were coming. He took the government money
and fled with his slave, White Chappell, to the
Knobs. Aunt Lou and Miss Kate collected the
silver off the table and buried it in the garden.
He maneuvered ahead of the
Confederate forces under Duke and Vaughn
and occupied the junction of the saltworks'
roads. Vaughn, thus blocked, skirted over to
North Carolina and headed for Wytheville.
Duke discovered the enemy at the crossroads
but did not attack because he feared they were
The Federal soldiers had given up for
the night and were looking for places to stay.
An officer was detailed to the Fulkerson house
to announce that the general would be
spending the night there. As he was informing
the women, he spied the unbelievable sight of
the feast set out in the dining room. He made
a quick foray into the banquet and left. When
the other soldiers saw him with a mountain of
food, they clamored into the house to enjoy the
One of the soldiers stuck a loaf of
bread under his arm, grabbed a large cake in
one hand and a hunk of beef in the other and
started out the door. Mrs. Fulkerson in a
furious rage shook the poker at him, but the
men just laughed and kept on gorging until
Burbridge suddenly appeared. He cleared the
soldiers out of the house and made apologies to
the ladies. Then he and a fellow officer spent
the night there and ate up what the soldiers had
On the return down the valley the
Federal forces joined and took Saltville on the
night of Dec. 20. Feeling that the leadmines
were as important as the saltworks,
Breckinridge had left Saltville to aid Vaughn
and returned belatedly in the morning of the
21st. He attacked the Federal pickets, and the
enemy retired the next morning.
The destruction to the saltworks was
variously described. The Yankees boasted that
it was complete and irreparable. Confederate
Col. H. L. Giltner reported, "Captain Scott just
returned from Saltville. Says not two-thirds of
shed and not one-third of the kettles were
destroyed. Some of the sheds and furnaces left
untouched. Loss not near so serious as at first
After the war, the groom of our story,
Floyd B. Hurt, became general superintendent
of these mines, "The Holston Salt and Plaster
Years later Col. Abram Fulkerson went
to Congress and met a northern Congressman
who had been to Abingdon during the war.
On his watch fob he carried the gold ring he
found in someone's wedding cake. When Col.
Fulkerson told him that it was his sister's cake,
the congressman offered to send the ring back,
but the lady who had graciously lent her ring
for the occasion had died without heirs, so
there was no reason to return the ring.
(Editor's Note: The information in this article was taken from an incident told by Aunt Lou and recorded by a member of the Hurt family. This account and explanations of the details were given to the writer by Mrs. Catherine Wharton Gray of Sherman, Texas, a granddaughter of Floyd and Kate Hurt. Military information in the article was taken from papers of "The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.)