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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Tupelo in Lee County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
 

The Iron Furnace / Front Street

 
 
The Iron Furnace Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, April 7, 2017
1. The Iron Furnace Marker
Inscription.
The Iron Furnace

Hundreds of Union prisoners were interned here during the summer of 1862. Treated reasonably and guarded lightly, few tried to escape in anticipation of being exchanged, as was common practice early in the war. They were kept in a wood stockade located on the west side of Front Street, slightly south of where you stand. Adjoining the stockade on the north was a separate enclosure housing Union sympathizers, bridge burners and accused informants. They were held captive in a poorly ventilated store or warehouse. During July and August the interior of the prison was so hot the survivors called it "The Iron Furnace." Those prisoners were heavily guarded and severely treated while awaiting trial by a military court. Many of those who were found guilty were sentenced to death and forced to dig their own graves. These prisoners were shot by a firing squad or hanged from a gallows. Some still remain near this site lying in unmarked graves lost to time, One of the prisoners, Reverend John H. Aughey, escaped two days before his scheduled execution, He wrote a book after the war entitled "Tupelo," recounting the escape and his experience in "The Iron Furnace."

Front Street

In 1858, when local construction on the M&O railroad began, businessmen
Front Street Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, April 7, 2017
2. Front Street Marker
in the surrounding area disassembled their businesses and moved them to Tupelo. By the time the war was underway, six or seven clapboard structures had been thrown up where the row of buildings stands today on the west side of Front Street. Included were a storehouse, one or two stores, two saloons and two hotels named the Ledbetter House and the Robertson House. The businesses initially catered to railroad workers, but when the soldiers arrived, the saloons quickly turned rowdy and the hotels became brothels The hotels were two stories with approximately six small rooms on the second floor. They contained a small bed, wash stand, bowl, pitcher of water and a straight backed chair. Streets were muddy and foul-smelling from horses and mules. A temporary depot with a loading platform stood next to the railroad tracks. All were burned to the ground when Union troops withdrew from town following the Battle of Tupelo on July 14-15, 1864.
 
Erected 2013 by the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau.
 
Location. 34° 15.405′ N, 88° 42.191′ W. Marker is in Tupelo, Mississippi, in Lee County. Marker is on South Front Street north of Troy Street, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: South Front Street, Tupelo MS 38804, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers.
Former locations of prisoner buildings. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, April 7, 2017
3. Former locations of prisoner buildings.
At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Sit-Ins Led to Civil Rights Act of 1964 / F.W. Woolworth (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Tupelo Hardware (about 300 feet away); Elvis Presley and Tupelo (about 600 feet away); Tupelo Confederate Soldiers Monument (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Younger Cabin / Confederate Headquarters (approx. 0.2 miles away); Shake Rag Community (approx. 0.2 miles away); Shake Rag (approx. mile away); In Commemoration of Hernando De Soto (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Tupelo.
 
More about this marker. Part of the Tupelo Civil War Trail in the Heritage Trails Enrichment Program.
 
Also see . . .  Three Civil War markers added to Heritage Trail. (Submitted on April 16, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
Categories. Cemeteries & Burial SitesRailroads & StreetcarsWar, US Civil
 
Some of the buildings along Front Street. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, April 7, 2017
4. Some of the buildings along Front Street.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 16, 2017. This page originally submitted on April 16, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 71 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on April 16, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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