Sherman's March to Meridian
Feb. 27, 2004
During the Civil War, 140 years ago, Union Gen. William T. Sherman began a march across Mississippi that would change the course of history. One of his
targets was a thriving trade and transportation center in East Mississippi, a city known as Meridian. When his forces were finished, Meridian was thought no longer to exist.
The Meridian Star is tracking Sherman's route and the devastating impact his raid had on the city.
Feb. 27, 1864
Although Gen. Sherman reports to Washington that "we absolutely and effectively broke a full hundred miles of railroad at and around Meridian," the Confederate government is determined to quickly repair the damage. The same Maj. Whitfield who had earlier supervised the removal of
government property from Meridian is placed in charge of railroad repair.
Remarkably, by April 1, trains run over as much of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad as before Sherman's campaign, and the Southern Railroad is repaired all the way from Meridian to Brandon by May 7. This Rebel success ultimately matters very little to the war's outcome, however, because by the summer of 1864 all the serious fighting moves to Georgia.
Meridian's erstwhile defender, Gen. Leonidas Polk, is killed fighting against Sherman in the Atlanta Campaign. Sherman's principal Meridian Campaign subordinate, Gen. James B. McPherson, also dies that summer in Georgia combat.