Meridian, Miss. Wednesday marked the 150th anniversary of the end of Gen. William Sherman's destruction of Meridian during the Civil War, the day Sherman said, 'Meridian no longer exists'.
Sherman's troops spent several days in Meridian waiting to meet up with Union forces coming from Memphis. But Sherman was unaware then that those troops suffered defeats at West Point and Okolona.
While waiting, Sherman ordered his men to 'wipe Meridian off the map' by destroying the railroads and burning much of the area.
But historian Ward Calhoun, Jr., says Meridian ultimately became a phoenix rising from the ashes after that.
"The railroad again brought prosperity. Meridian was quite a little industrial town," said Calhoun of the years following the war. "And there were about 119 businesses that I was able to document that were performing in Meridian at the turn of the century."
The destruction of Meridian was a blow to the Confederate cause at the time, since it was a key rail connection and home to a military hospital, as well as an arsenal.
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