“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Parkers Crossroads in Henderson County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)

Forrest's Tactics

Forrest's Tactics Marker image. Click for full size.
By David Graff, April 24, 2012
1. Forrest's Tactics Marker
Inscription. Nathan Bedford Forrest had no formal military education and was, as John Morton, Forrest's Chief of Artillery, put it, "the negative of a West Pointer." He regarded maneuvers and exhaustive drill as unnecessary and cared nothing for conventional tactics. He disregarded Army regulations when he felt it best for his command to do so. Forrest's unconventional methods often brought him into conflict with his superior officers but they found it hard to fault his success.

A Brilliant Tactician
Forrest had the ability to instantly grasp the strategic possibility of every situation. His supreme confidence in his ability and judgment allowed him to act without hesitation.

"His plans of battle were not chalked out on blackboards nor drawn on charts; they were conceived on the instant and as instantaneously carried out. He struck as lightning strikes, and his tactics were as incalculable to the enemy. "

A Master of Psychological Warfare
Forrest skillfully employed misinformation and bluff to spread exaggerated reports of the strength of his force.

"No device for creating this impression was too insignificant to be called into play. The constant beating of kettledrums, the lighting and tending of numerous fires, moving pieces of artillery from one point to another, the
Forrest's Tactics Marker (Forrest) image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, October 8, 2010
2. Forrest's Tactics Marker (Forrest)
dismounting of cavalry and parading them as infantry, nothing was overlooked."

Carefully instructed "stragglers" spread inflated reports. Elaborate shows of strength were staged for prisoners, who were then permitted to escape. The tactics were successful. Forrest's strength was consistently estimated to be much larger than it actually was. After the attack at Lexington on December 18, 1862 estimates put Forrest's force at "from ten to twenty thousand."

An Aggressive Opponent
Forrest never let his foe see that they had the advantage, never abandoned his aggressive stance. After Fuller's Brigade arrived at Parker's Crossroads, Forrest ordered every man he saw to turn about and fight the enemy. When halted by Forrest, Sergeant Nat Baxter exclaimed, "General, I am entirely unarmed, have neither gun, pistol nor sword." Forrest shouted, "That doesn't make any difference, get in line and advance on the enemy with the rest; I want to make as big a show as possible."

His forceful display convinced General Sullivan that Forrest meant to marshal his forces and attack in earnest. Instead, Forrest escaped from the battlefield.
Erected by Parker's Crossroads Battlefield Association.
Location. 35° 47.758′ N, 88° 
Forrest's Tactics Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, October 8, 2010
3. Forrest's Tactics Marker
Marker in distance (yellow arrow)
23.408′ W. Marker is in Parkers Crossroads, Tennessee, in Henderson County. Marker can be reached from Tennessee Route 22 0.6 miles north of Interstate 40, on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is on the North Loop Walking Trail 500 feet from the start of the trail. This marker is found where the loop trail splits south and east. The North Loop Walking Trail is at Tour Stop #1 (Parkers Crossroads City Park) of the Driving Tour. Marker is in this post office area: Wildersville TN 38388, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Forrest's West Tennessee Raid (within shouting distance of this marker); Morton's Battery (within shouting distance of this marker); The Battle of Parker's Crossroads (within shouting distance of this marker); The Tides of War (within shouting distance of this marker); Flight to Safety (within shouting distance of this marker); "Charge Them Both Ways" (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Parker's Cross Roads (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named The Battle of Parker's Crossroads (about 400 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Parkers Crossroads.
More about this marker. The marker has a painting "General Nathan Bedford Forrest" by Don Troiani with the caption "Nathan Bedford Forrest was the only soldier North or South to enter military service as a private and rise to the rank of Lieutenant General."
Additional keywords. Parkers Crossroads
Categories. War, US Civil
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by David Graff of Halifax, Nova Scotia. This page has been viewed 199 times since then and 61 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by David Graff of Halifax, Nova Scotia.   2, 3. submitted on , by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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