Meridian campaign

Map of Meridian Battlefield study area by the American Battlefield Protection Program
Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, commander of Union forces in the Meridian campaign
Lt. Gen. Leonidas Polk, commander of Confederate forces during the Meridian campaign

The Meridian campaign or Meridian expedition took place from February 3 – March 6, 1864, from Vicksburg, Mississippi to Meridian, Mississippi, by the Union Army of the Tennessee, led by Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman.

- Meridian campaign
Map of Meridian Battlefield study area by the American Battlefield Protection Program

14 related topics

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The Siege of Vicksburg

Army of the Tennessee

Union army in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, named for the Tennessee River.

Union army in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, named for the Tennessee River.

The Siege of Vicksburg
Brigadier General Grant and staff, Cairo, October 1861
Battle of Fort Henry and the movements to Fort Donelson.
Shiloh: Crucible of the Army of the Tennessee
General Henry Wager Halleck
Grant's Operations against Vicksburg
Grant discussing the terms of the capitulation of Vicksburg with defeated Confederate General Pemberton
Major General Sherman, second commander of the Army of the Tennessee
Major General McPherson, third commander of the Army of the Tennessee
Sherman's March to the Sea
Sherman's Carolinas Campaign
General Sherman at war's end with Generals Howard, Logan, Hazen, Davis, Slocum, and Mower; Howard and Logan were the last two commanders of the Army of the Tennessee

Under other generals, starting with William Tecumseh Sherman, the army marched and fought from the Chattanooga Campaign, through the Relief of Knoxville, the Meridian Campaign, the Atlanta Campaign, the March to the Sea, the Carolinas Campaign, and to the end of the war and disbandment.

Meridian, Mississippi

Seventh largest city in the U.S. state of Mississippi, with a population of 41,148 at the 2010 census and an estimated population in 2018 of 36,347.

Seventh largest city in the U.S. state of Mississippi, with a population of 41,148 at the 2010 census and an estimated population in 2018 of 36,347.

A monument in Rose Hill Cemetery honoring Lewis A. Ragsdale, one of the founders of Meridian.
Union Army General William Tecumseh Sherman fought and won the Battle of Meridian in 1864.
Downtown Meridian in the early 1900s (photo taken near intersection of 22nd Ave and 4th St looking north)
Meridian Union Station in the early 1900s
Looking into downtown Meridian from the 22nd Avenue Bridge in 2008. The Hotel Meridian was later demolished.
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Meridian City Hall after restoration efforts
Meridian City Council ward map
Meridian Museum of Art
The Riley Center, renovated in 2006
Hamasa Shrine Temple Theater
Dentzel Carousel in Highland Park
Upper lake at Bonita Lakes park
Okatibbee Lake
Meridian's Union Station
Highways in Meridian
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Meridian Community College has served the city since 1937
The headquarters of Meridian's only daily newspaper, The Meridian Star

During the American Civil War, General William Tecumseh Sherman burned much of the city to the ground in the Battle of Meridian (February 1864).

Sherman's March to the Sea, Alexander Hay Ritchie

Sherman's March to the Sea

Military campaign of the American Civil War conducted through Georgia from November 15 until December 21, 1864, by William Tecumseh Sherman, major general of the Union Army.

Military campaign of the American Civil War conducted through Georgia from November 15 until December 21, 1864, by William Tecumseh Sherman, major general of the Union Army.

Sherman's March to the Sea, Alexander Hay Ritchie
Savannah campaign (Sherman's March to the Sea): detailed map
Savannah campaign (Sherman's March to the Sea)
Sherman's advance: Tennessee, Georgia, and Carolinas (1863–65)
Sherman's men destroying a railroad in Atlanta
Sherman's March to the Sea was celebrated in music in 1865 with words by S.H.M. Byers and music by J.O. Rockwell.

The campaign was designed by Grant and Sherman to be similar to Grant's innovative and successful Vicksburg campaign and Sherman's Meridian campaign, in that Sherman's armies would reduce their need for traditional supply lines by "living off the land" after consuming their 20 days of rations.

William Sooy Smith

William Sooy Smith

West Point graduate and career civil engineer who became a brigadier general in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

West Point graduate and career civil engineer who became a brigadier general in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

William Sooy Smith
Smith in later life.

On January 27, 1864, as part of the Meridian Campaign, Smith was given the command of General Hurlbut's force of 7,000 cavalry, to be consolidated from their positions throughout western Kentucky and Tennessee, along with the 2,500 that was already under his command.

Map of Okolona Battlefield core and study areas by the American Battlefield Protection Program.

Battle of Okolona

The Battle of Okolona took place on February 22, 1864, in Chickasaw County, Mississippi, between Confederate and Union forces during the American Civil War.

The Battle of Okolona took place on February 22, 1864, in Chickasaw County, Mississippi, between Confederate and Union forces during the American Civil War.

Map of Okolona Battlefield core and study areas by the American Battlefield Protection Program.
General William Smith
Major General Forrest

With Confederate reinforcements, Forrest routed Smith but did not pursue due to lack of ammunition, and Smith limped over the state line to Tennessee on February 26, where he was criticized for putting Sherman's Meridian Expedition in danger.

Battle of Yazoo City, March 5, 1864

Battle of Yazoo City

Engagement in Mississippi during a month-long Union expedition up the Yazoo River in the American Civil War.

Engagement in Mississippi during a month-long Union expedition up the Yazoo River in the American Civil War.

Battle of Yazoo City, March 5, 1864
George C. McKee
L. S. "Sul" Ross

The expedition was undertaken in cooperation with Major General William Tecumseh Sherman's Meridian campaign.

Stephen A. Hurlbut

Attorney and politician, who commanded the U.S. Army of the Gulf in the American Civil War.

Attorney and politician, who commanded the U.S. Army of the Gulf in the American Civil War.

General Hurlbut

Hurlbut was present at the Battle of Shiloh and served under General Sherman during the Meridian Expedition.

Sgt. Samuel Smith, African-American soldier with family

3rd United States Colored Cavalry Regiment

Regiment in the United States Army organized as one of the units of the United States Colored Troops during the American Civil War.

Regiment in the United States Army organized as one of the units of the United States Colored Troops during the American Civil War.

Sgt. Samuel Smith, African-American soldier with family
Control of the waterways allowed the Federals to easily move troops by boat. This photo shows steamboats tied up at Pittsburg Landing after the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862.
Civil War recruiting poster for black soldiers. Note that the officer is white.
Map shows the route of Grierson's 1864–1865 raid.
Major Edwin Main

Meanwhile, Ross' brigade was called away to oppose Major General William T. Sherman's Meridian campaign.

James C. Veatch, c. 1862

James C. Veatch

Lawyer who served as an Indiana state legislator and county auditor.

Lawyer who served as an Indiana state legislator and county auditor.

James C. Veatch, c. 1862

Veatch led the 4th Division of the XVI Corps during the Meridian Expedition.

XVI Corps badge

XVI Corps (Union Army)

Corps of the Union Army during the American Civil War.

Corps of the Union Army during the American Civil War.

XVI Corps badge

Maj. Gen. Hurlbut assumed direct command over these divisions known as the Right Wing and participated in the Meridian Expedition in February 1864.