February 14, 1864: Sherman Takes Meridian, Mississippi

Meridian Campaign

Sherman’s Meridian Campaign in February 1864 was in many ways a dry run for his Georgia campaign of the fall.  Sherman had hit upon the idea that the Union did not really need to hold on to all the important positions in the Confederacy if it could wreck what it did not wish to hold.  That is precisely what Sherman did to the important rail junction of Meridian, Mississippi.  Starting out from Vicksburg on February 3, 1864 Sherman at the head of 20,000 troops easily brushed aside the weak Confederate forces that stood in his way and seized Meridian on February 14.  For six days Sherman and his men held Meridian and destroyed 115 miles of railroad, 61 bridges and numerous engines and rolling stock.  Then he and his men marched back to Vicksburg unmolested.  Sherman noted that he and his men were able to live off the land quite easily, even in the middle of winter.  The only disappointment of the raid was that Major General William Sooy Smith, leading 7,000 cavalry from Memphis failed to rendezvous with Sherman at Meridian, having got off to a late start and then been defeated by Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest at Okolona on February 22.  Sherman learned much from this raid on Meridian, knowledge that would come in handy before the year was out.  Here is an excerpt from Sherman’s memoirs on the campaign: (more…)

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Published in: on February 14, 2014 at 5:30 am  Comments (4)  
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