Built by slaves with bricks made from riverbank clay, the Cherry Mansion is the oldest home in Savannah. When the Federal army arrived here in March 1862, William Harrell Cherry, a strong Union sympathizer, offered his home to Federal officers. For the next month the house served as the headquarters of Major General Ulysses S. Grant.
On the morning of April 6, 1862, Grant, breakfasting with his staff, walked out on the porch of the mansion and heard the rumble of distant cannon. "Gentlemen, the ball is in motion," he declared. He quickly boarded a transport and started for Pittsburg Landing and the Battle of Shiloh, nine miles southwest.
On April 6, Union general William H.L. Wallace fell with a horrid wound to his head. He lay on the field at Shiloh overnight but on April 7 was carried to the Cherry Mansion. For three days his wife Ann, who had come to the front for a surprise visit, tended to him. "Will" Wallace died in the mansion's library on April 10.
"He suffered so much, so much....My darling knew that he was going! He pressed my head to his breast long and fondly, then waved me away and said, 'We meet in Heaven.'"
The Cherry mansion, circa 1884
At least wo pieces of furniture that date to Grant's presence here
remain in the Cherry Mansion: the piano and a desk.