Sherman's March to Meridian
Feb. 29, 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. 29, 1864
Southerners condemn Sherman for the utterly
ruthless tactics he employs in the Meridian Campaign, and later in Georgia and the
Carolinas. Sherman himself is unrepentant, placing the blame for his terrible work squarely upon the
Confederates themselves: "Three years ago, by a little reflection and patience, they could have had a hundred years of peace and
prosperity, but they preferred war; very well. Last year they could have saved their slaves, but now it is too late. All the powers of earth cannot return to them their slaves, any more than their dead grandfathers. Next year their lands will be taken; for in war we can take them, and rightfully, too, and in another year they may beg in vain for their lives."
Such was the measure of the professional warrior who crushed Mississippi beneath his heel in February 1864, and who chillingly boasted to Washington that "Meridian … no longer exists."