August 28, 1864 - 60,000 Union Troops in Motion, Destroying Railroads (Atlanta Campaign)
Almost 60,000 Union troops are moving south, west of Atlanta to Jonesboro, Georgia, trying to outflank Lt. Gen John Bell Hood (CSA) and cut the Macon and Western Railroad.
Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman’s (USA) three armies are all assembling for the move to Jonesboro, and in the meantime they have instructions to take a day to thoroughly destroy the West Point and Atlanta railroad. Sherman gives explicit instructions on the best way to permanently disable a railroad:
“To march a regiment to the road, stack arms, loosen two rails opposite the right and two opposite the left of the regiment, then to heave the whole track, rails and ties, over, breaking it all to pieces, then pile the ties in the nature of crib work and lay the rails over them, then by means of fence rails make a bonfire, and when the rails are red-hot in the middle let men give the rail a twist, which cannot be straightened without machinery.”
A variant of this procedure, when the heated rails were twisted around tree trunks, was to become known as a “Sherman necktie”.
posted on Facebook by the Regimental Quartermaster