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This Day in Georgia History

November 17, 1864

Railroads Destroyed on March to the Sea

This marked day three of the March to the Sea for three of the four columns (Sherman and the 14th Corps started a day late). One of the important assignments was to destroy railroad tracks in their paths. This was done in three steps. First, soldiers separated the steel rails from wooden ties. Next, the steel rail was stacked atop the wooden ties along the rail bed. Next, each stack of wooden ties were set on fire heating the center section of the metal railroad track. The final step was to bend the heated area of the rail around a tree, thus producing what Union troops dubbed “Sherman’s neckties.”

To view images from the March to the Sea, see the Digital Library of Georgia.
Image of Railroads Destroyed on March to the Sea View large image
Source: George Barnard, Photographic Views of Sherman's Campaign