In 1862, Corinth, Mississippi, was in the crosshairs. Both the Union and the Confederacy recognized the strategic significance of the two major rail lines which intersected there. These north/south and east/west lines were vital for moving troops and supplies.
The railroads were so strategic that Confederate forces marched into Tennessee to attack the Yankees at Shiloh, trying to put distance between the rail lines and the enemy. But the Rebels were defeated at Shiloh and retreated to Corinth, where Union troops held them under siege for more than a month.
Outnumbered and unable to hold out, the Confederates retreated on May 30, allowing Union troops to take the city. Confederate forces returned on October 3 with another attack. After fierce hand to hand combat, Union troops held Corinth, and the railroads remained under their control for the remainder of the Civil War.
For more interesting facts about Mississippi's 200-year history, watch a new interstitial each week of 2017 with Mississippi: A Thread Through Time on MPB Television.