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Meridian Campaign
Civil War Encyclopedia >> Campaigns
February 3, 1864 William Tecumseh Sherman, having moved to Vicksburg by boat, begins the Meridian Campaign Mississippi
  William Tecumseh Sherman
  Leonidas Polk
February 5, 1864 Sherman enters Jackson, Mississippi Mississippi
  William Tecumseh Sherman
February 6, 1864 William Sooy Smith [US] leaves Memphis to join the Meridian Campaign Mississippi
February 14, 1864 Federals take Meridian. They continue their "work," tearing up railroad infrastructure and destroying locomotives, but there is little Leonidas Polk can do Mississippi
  William Tecumseh Sherman
  Leonidas Polk
February 22, 1864 Battle of Okolana

Other Names: Ivey's Farm, Ivey Hill

Nathan Bedford Forrest [CS] defeats W. Sooy Smith [US], attempting to join Sherman's Meridian Campaign
  Nathan Bedford Forrest

Meridian Campaign

Perhaps one of the most misunderstood campaigns of the Civil War, the Meridian Campaign took William Tecumseh Sherman's Army of the Mississippi back to Vicksburg to complete the destruction of the Confederate rail system begun following the victory at Vicksburg. Opposing Sherman's total force of 30,000 men (including the cavalry support of William Sooy Smith) was the Army of Mississippi, now under the command of Leonidas Polk.

With the city of Chattanooga, Tennessee relieved and Ulysses S. Grant heading north to Nashville, Sherman had some "unfinished business" he wanted to complete. Leaving George Thomas and the Army of the Cumberland to distract the Army of Tennessee in Dalton, Georgia, Sherman's army headed west by boat on the Tennessee River, then south along the Mississippi to Vicksburg. Brigadier General William Sooy Smith in charge of a cavalry force of some 7,000 effectives, was ordered to advance from Memphis to support Sherman's column.
With two columns of roughly 12,000 men each under Stephen Hurlbut and James McPherson, Sherman marched west towards Jackson, destroying infrastructure, especially related to railroads. Sherman's stated goal was to increase the number of men who could participate in the Atlanta Campaign by decreasing the number of men he had to leave to patrol the Mississippi. Also, Nathan Bedford Forrest had been operating in the area, and Sherman wanted to discourage (or capture) the "Wizard of the Saddle."

Leaving Vicksburg on February 3, 1864, Sherman ordered his men to travel light ... bring no tents and live off the land. This has led some to compare the Meridian Campaign to the March to the Sea, although only limited comparisons can be made. Sherman reached Jackson, capital of Mississippi, on February 5 and headed east to Meridian. During his advance he kept pressure on Polk by threatening Mobile.

Links appearing on this page:

Army of Tennessee
Army of the Cumberland
Atlanta Campaign
February 3
February, 1864
George Thomas
Leonidas Polk
March to the Sea
Nathan Bedford Forrest
Ulysses S. Grant
William Tecumseh Sherman

Civil War Encyclopedia >> Campaigns

Meridian Campaign was last changed on - February 5, 2007
Meridian Campaign was added on - October 31, 2006

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