Marion C.S.A. Cemetery

Trail Marker

6843 Confederate Drive, Marion, MS

In his special field orders Union General William T. Sherman advised that every tie and rail of iron for many miles in each direction and every bridge and culvert should be destroyed. Removing rails from their crossties was not enough. To deny the Confederates the use of their railroads, the rails had to be destroyed beyond repair.

This damage was carried out in a specific way. Soldiers pried rails from their crossties and then used the crossties to create bonfires which they laid the rails across. After about a half-hour the rails became malleable and would glow red-hot in the middle. Men on each end of each rail would lift it and twist it around a tree. The distinctive shape this created gave birth to the nickname “Sherman Bow Ties.”

Because the Confederacy had a limited supply of iron and few foundries to make new rails, this level of destruction should have shut down rail operations indefinitely. But Meridian was resilient. Repair work was completed within 26 working days.

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