THE CLAY HILLS 365 OLD MAIN DORMITORY Originally built as the first dormitory on Mississippi State University’s campus, Old Main was added onto four different times before the entire building was destroyed in a fire in 1959. Bricks that survived the fire were used to build the chapel of memories on the Starkville campus. Old Main was a men’s dorm with an open area that size of a football field in the middle. Around 40,000 young men lived in Old main from the time the first part of the building was opened in 1880, until the time it was destroyed by fire. When it still stood, Old Main was said to be the largest dorm not only in the State, but also in the nation. brought to fruition a land invasion that few in Mississippi had expected at the start of the war. In consequence, many Mississippi communities that were distanced from the conflict suddenly found themselves on the war’s front lines. The Union’s first target in the spring of that year was the small town of Corinth in the state’s northeast corner. Corinth sat at the strategic juncture of the Memphis and Charleston and the Mobile and Ohio Railroads. It was a young town, founded in 1853, only eight years before the war’s beginning, but it had quickly become a major transport, communications, and troop induction center for the Confederacy, and the Union Army made it a priority target. Union General Henry Halleck predicted that there would “probably be a big battle somewhere in that vicinity.” That battle did indeed come during the spring of 1862 when some 40,000 Confederate forces under the leadership of General Albert Sidney Johnston launched a successful surprise attack on Grant’s Army of the Tennessee where it was encamped near Pittsburg Landing on the Tennessee River. Union forces counterattacked, and after several days of especially intense fighting in which Johnston was killed, Confederate troops fell back to Corinth for refuge. Union forces soon followed with their numbers strengthened with reinforcements. After enduring a month-long siege of the city, the Confederates, who were outnumbered and sick, evacuated Corinth and the town fell into Union hands. For