By JB Clark
TUPELO – The newest Heritage Trails marker in Tupelo commemorates the site where up to 60,000 Confederate and Union troops camped along the Old Town Creek.
Now the site serves as the back nine for Veterans Park’s disk golf course.
The marker on Veterans Boulevard marks the spot where Confederate troops made camp 150 years ago to protect historic Tupelo’s railroad and bridges.
“Just 150 years ago, over 60,000 troops were camped where we’re standing today,” said Neal McCoy, executive director of the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau. “That’s almost twice the population of Tupelo.”
Representatives from the Heritage Trails Enrichment Program on Friday morning pulled the sheet off of the newest marker, perched atop the wooded hill where the troops camped.
“Confederate troops were a common sight in this area in the 1860s because as many as 10,000 at a time protected the trestles, bridges and railroads from raiding Union troops,” said Edwina Carpenter. “The ridges and hills we see here along the creek provided a lot of trees and shade for the camps and also provided clean water, which was very important to the troops.”
The marker is the fourth placed as a part of the first phase of the Heritage Trails Enrichment program that was created to identify and interpret historical Chickasaw, civil rights, African-American heritage and Civil War sites in Tupelo and Lee County.