366 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI KIRBY BUILDING SYSTEMS Kirby Building Systems began in 1968 as Gulf States Manufacturers in Starkville. Approximately 180 employees provide pre- engineered metal buildings throughout the Southeastern United States and overseas using design, detailing, and fabrication tools and equipment. Kirby Building Systems is a division of Nucor Corporation, made up of more than 20,000 employees. PHOTO COURTESY OF KIRBY BUILDING SYSTEMS Grant, this was a significant if costly victory, as Corinth would serve as an important base of operations for his subsequent attempts to seize the Mississippi River Valley. Although the Clay Hills remained on the southern periphery of these battles, civilians in some of the region’s towns played important support functions, particularly in caring for the wounded. The Battle of Shiloh was the bloodiest in history up to that point. The casualty rate among Confederate troops alone was an astounding 25 percent, which meant there were thousands of wounded men to attend to, far more than the small town of Corinth could handle alone. In response, authorities distributed wounded to other nearby communities. Okolona, a railroad town in Chickasaw County, was one of them, as was Grenada and Columbus. Okolona took in some 2,000 wounded men who were cared for mostly by local women. In Grenada, planters like Thomas Watkins allowed his daughter to deliver food to the men and sent one of his female slaves to work in the local hospital. Those men of the region who survived these battles at Shiloh and Corinth were stunned by the brutal nature of these experiences. Other battles, such as Manassas, paled in comparison to the mass destruction of human and animal life, property, and farmlands at these engagements. Many Southerners realized that the outnumbered South could not prevail in a prolonged war of attrition. There were other concerns too. Confederates had to manage the nearly 2,500 Union prisoners of war they had taken, mostly at Shiloh. They initially moved these prisoners to Corinth, but then moved them again by freight car to Grenada, Jackson, and Meridian, and then eventually to in camps in Alabama and Georgia. Even victories for the South could become serious drains on limited Confederate resources. Following the battles in and around Corinth, Grant focused his attention on Vicksburg, a critically important port and railroad hub whose capture would give the Union control of the Mississippi and divide the Confederacy. In late 1862, Grant prepared for an overland invasion. While General William Tecumseh Sherman and his troops moved from Memphis to Vicksburg, Grant planned to march his