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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

August 29, 1864

Sherman Destroyed Railroad Tracks; “Sherman’s Neckties”

While advancing around Atlanta’s western perimeter, the Union army of General William T. Sherman had reached the tracks of the Western & West Point Railroad on the previous evening. Sherman ordered his men to spend all of this day pulling up over twelve miles of railroad track. This is what happened to the track, in Sherman’s own words:

“The track was heaved up in sections the length of a regiment, then separated rail by rail; bonfires were made of the ties and of fence-rails on which the rolls were heated, carried to trees or telegraph poles, wrapped around and left to cool.”

These were the instructions for what Union soldiers called “Sherman’s neckties”.