Town Creek Tupelo Encampment
Throughout the Civil War, the Tupelo area was ideal for large numbers of troops to camp, train and recuperate from sickness, wounds and fatigue. There was an abundance of clean water and of billy land was covered with trees that provided shade, wood for shelter and campfires. Typically, 10,000 Confederate troops camped in and around Tupelo as sufficient number of troops were needed to protect railroad tracks, bridges and trestles from raiding Union troops intent on disrupting supply and troop movement. The troops also protected farms from continued Union attempts to and storehouses. Twice the Confederate Army withdrew to Tupelo with huge concentrations of troops, over 60,000 soldiers camped on both sides of Town Creek on the hills overlooking the creek after the fall of Corinth in May 1862. General Hood bad over 20,000 troops here after the Confederate defeat at the Battle of Nashville in 1865. One soldier's description told of looking across the hills and seeing thousands of campfires flickering in the night as the men prepared evening
meals and huddled around the fires for warmth.
Camp Life in Tupelo
Many Confederate soldiers who spent time in the Tupelo camps remembered those days as "good duty." Life here was much easier
than in other camps. Located on the northern edge of a fertile farming area known as the "Black Belt," it was capable of producing enough grain, livestock and forage to supply the entire Confederate Army of the West. Therefore, the troops stationed here usually had plenty to eat. Corn was the principal crop and was ground into meal that soldiers used along with their ration of baked bread, salt pork, bacon, peas, molasses, coffee and hardtack. They hunted wild game, caught fish and picked berries that grew in abundance. Tupelo camps were clean. Kitchens were frequently furnished with a small, convenient pit for refuse. Soldiers built ovens, ate together in small squads and slept in canvas flies, ten men to a fly. Overall, Tupelo camps were much better than the soldiers were accustomed to, and, accordingly, troop morale was usually high.