by Morgan Gates - At 1117 Cherry Street stands stately At 1117 built 1851. Now any house this old in a town like Vicksburg has stories to tell and this one is no exception. Yes it took some damage during the siege as did just about all the antebellum buildings still standing did, though not as much as many, for it was too close to the county jail where the Confederates housed POWs. It once belonged to a bartender who loaned money to friends and business partners but the loans had to secured by COLLATERAL when one of his debtors defaulted he became a steamboat captain (a blog topic for another day perhaps), but perhaps the most interesting story has to do with a Union General and an unintended casualty of the Civil War. The General was not U S Grant, William T. Sherman or the several dozen other Generals that traipsed through the town at one point or the other, but with George Thomas (who did not serve here in the War), the “Rock of Chickamauga” whose brother Nathanial bought this house in 1869. The Thomas family was an old Virginia slave-holding family that was forced to hide in the woods during Nat Turners Slave Rebellion in 1831. This left him with not with a deep seated fear of slave rebellion as it did most Southerners but with a negative impression of slavery. Thomas was a West Point graduate and a member of the U.S. Army when the Civil War began, just as was his more famous contemporary Robert E. Lee, but unlike Lee he did not leave the U.S. Army for the Confederacy. When Virginia seceded from the Union George Thomas, remained in the United States Army, but he did so at great personal cost, for his sisters back in Virginia opened the family Bible, struck out his name and began telling their friends that he had died in 1861, just another unintended casualty of the Civil War.