Special Report

US Cities and Towns Destroyed During the Civil War

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Hernando, Mississippi,
> When: June, 1863

In an area controlled by guerilla Confederate cavalry, this town south of Memphis, Tennessee was attacked by Federal troops in June 1863. Union forces then spent five days ransacking the area, burning the town’s courthouse, Masonic temple, jail, and residences used by rebel troops. In 1864, Union General Hatch also burned a hotel and many other buildings in the town.

Bluffton, South Carolina
> When: June 6, 1863

The location of a secessionist movement long before the start of the war, this town just north of Savannah, Georgia was largely deserted after Union troops took over nearby Hilton Head island. Confederate troops, however, remained in the area. In June 1863, a convoy of Federal ships landed at Bluffton and torched most of the town’s houses and churches.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Darien, Mississippi
> When: June 11, 1863

A picturesque waterfront town that served as a major port, Darien was mostly abandoned by residents when Union troops burned the town down to its brick foundations. The entire business district was torched and ruins remain on the waterfront to this day.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Eunice, Arkansas
> When: June 14, 1863

Union gunboats shelled this railroad town on the Mississippi River after coming under fire from Confederate guerillas. Federal troops then entered the town and set fire to any remaining houses, stores, and infrastructure. Eunice was never rebuilt, and nothing remains of the town today.

Source: Kean Collection / Archive Photos via Getty Images

Vicksburg, Mississippi
> When: May 18 to July 4, 1863

An important Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi, Vicksburg was a pivotal railroad hub and supply port. After many failed attempts to take the city, the Union finally succeeded with General Grant’s 1863 campaign. Federals besieged and bombarded the city for 47 days until the rebels surrendered, with the town in ruins.

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