“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)

Civil War Artillery

Civil War Artillery Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Shane Oliver, April 11, 2021
1. Civil War Artillery Marker
Inscription.  Artillery played a pivotal role in the Battle of Parker's Crossroads. The Confederates turned their two 6-pounder smoothbore, two 12-pounder howitzers, two 12-pounder mountain howitzers and two three-inch ordnance rifles to deadly effect. The Union troops had only three guns, type unknown, which were disabled early in the battle.

Civil war artillery had an amazing range. Solid balls traveled somewhat farther than canister shot from the same gun. Both were deadly. Remember—a mile is 1,760 yards.

Gun --- Projectile --- Range
6-pounder bronze smoothbore --- 6 pound ball --- 1,523 yards
12-pounder howitzer --- 12 pound ball --- 1,072 yards
12-pounder mountain howitzer --- 9 pound ball --- 900 yards
3-inch ordnance rifle (a Rodman) --- 8 or 9 pound shell --- 1,835 yards

Load! Ready! Fire!
Firing an artillery piece required a carefully choreographed sequence of actions: On the command load, each man on the gun crew performed specific tasks to prepare the piece.

• Step One—Load
The Gunner, G, commands "Load!" 3 clears the vent and covers it, his thumb
Civil War Artillery Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Shane Oliver, April 11, 2021
2. Civil War Artillery Marker
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protected by a thumbstall. 2 worms the tube of debris. 3 sponges the tube to extinguish embers. G commands the type of projectile. 5 (not shown) hands the projectile to 2, who inserts it into the tube. 1 rams and sets the projectile.

• Step Two—Ready
G commands "Sight the piece!" 3 moves the trail left or right as G commands. G adjusts the elevation of the tube. G commands "Clear." G commands "Prick and prime." 3 pricks the cartridge that contains the black powder. 4 hooks the lanyard onto the friction primer, inserts it into the vent, and steps to the side. G commands "come to the ready." All men step clear.

• Step 3—Fire
G commands "Fire!" 4 pulls the lanyard, causing the gun to fire. G commands "Back into battery." All men return the gun to its original position. The sequence begins again.

Artillery was a powerful weapon and the enemy often targeted gun crews in order to disable it. Ominously, the manual provided instructions for firing with diminished crews, ending with "Service by two men."

An unidentified Union gun crew.
Erected 2015 by Parker's Crossroads Battlefield Association.
Topics. This historical marker is listed
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in this topic list: War, US Civil. A significant historical date for this entry is December 31, 1862.
Location. 35° 47.599′ N, 88° 23.284′ W. Marker is in Parkers Crossroads, Tennessee, in Henderson County. Marker can be reached from Wildersville Road, 0.2 miles Route 22, on the right when traveling east. Marker is located along the North Battlefield Trail Extension, south of Wildersville Road. The North Battlefield Trail begins at the Parker's Crossroads City Park: Auto Tour Stop No. 1 of the Parker's Crossroads Battlefield Auto Tour. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Wildersville TN 38388, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Manning the Guns (a few steps from this marker); Prelude to Battle/December 31, 1862—the Battle/Union and Confederate Forces (within shouting distance of this marker); The Battle Begins (within shouting distance of this marker); A Panicked Stampede (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Forrest's Artillery Leads the Attack (about 400 feet away); Forrest's Big Show (about 500 feet away); Confederate Horseholders (about 500 feet away); Dunham's Artillery is Forced to Withdraw (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Parkers Crossroads.
Also see . . .  Parker's Crossroads Battlefield Association. (Submitted on June 4, 2021.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 4, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 29, 2021, by Shane Oliver of Richmond, Virginia. This page has been viewed 70 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on May 30, 2021, by Shane Oliver of Richmond, Virginia. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 28, 2022