In mid-January 1864, Major General U.S. Grant set in motion a military operation that would profoundly affect the Poore family homeland in southeast Mississippi. He approved William Tecumseh Sherman’s plan for a raid across the state from Vicksburg to Meridian.
Historian Margie Riddle Bearss observed that Sherman’s soldiers left Mississippi “more scourged and desolated than the area he covered in the March to the Sea” through Georgia a year later. He struck so fiercely that it wrecked the economy and left nothing for the rebels to defend or to live on.
The Yankees burned nearly every house along their path as well as all cotton gins and public property. Foragers returned to the column each day loaded with hams, shoulders, bacon and molasses stolen from civilians. Sherman left many of the Poore family’s neighbors homeless and hungry during a bitterly cold winter.