“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)

Manning the Guns

Manning the Guns Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Shane Oliver, April 11, 2021
1. Manning the Guns Marker
Inscription.  Artillery played a decisive role in many Civil War battles, including Parker's Crossroads. Few people realize, however, that manning and equipping a six-gun battery involved approximately 150 men, 110 horses and mules, and hundreds of pieces of equipment.

The Men
A captain commanded the battery. There were four lieutenants, one to command each two-gun "section and one to command the caissons. There were also two staff sergeants, five mechanics, two blacksmiths, two buglers and a standard bearer. Each gun had one gunner, usually a sergeant, seven artillerists, and at least two horseholders. Almost 70 drivers were needed for the teams that pulled the caissons, limbers, supply wagons, and traveling forge.

The Guns
A full battery consisted of six guns, although four-gun batteries were common, especially in the Confederacy. The most common field pieces were the 3-inch ordnance rifle, the 10-pounder Parrott field rifle, and the 12-pounder Napoleon. Early in the war, 6-pounder bronze field guns and 12-pounder howitzers were common.

The range of these guns varied. Both the Parrotts and the 3-inch
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ordnance rifles had a range of over one mile. The Napoleon had less range, .92 mile, but because it was a smoothbore was more effective with canister.

Caissons and Limbers
On the march, each gun was hooked behind a limber, which carried a chest containing ammunition, primers, and fuses. The limber also carried the tar bucket, canvas water buckets, and a tarpaulin. For each gun in the battery there were at least two caissons, which carried additional ammunition chests, axes, and a spare wheel and pole.

Horses & Mules
A battery depended on its horses. A four or six-horse team was needed to pull each caisson, each gun and limber, the battery wagon, the forge, and each additional wagon. Officers rode horses, as did artillerists in a horse artillery battery.

Ten or more spare horses were a necessity. Without horses a battery's guns were immobile. They were so important that they, as well as the guns they moved, became targets in combat.

Wagons and Forges
The battery wagon carried everything needed to keep the battery in goo running order—oil, paint, spokes, spare gunners' tools, harness, spades, scythes, picks, and a complete complement of carriage makers' tools and saddlers' tools—over 125 different items. A rack carried forage for the horses.

The traveling forge sat on a limber that also carries
Manning the Guns Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Shane Oliver, April 11, 2021
2. Manning the Guns Marker
Marker can be seen behind the limber & caisson.
smiths' tools, spare hardware, nails, and 200 pounds of horseshoes. There might also be several wagons for extra fodder and other supplies.

Three guns of the six-gun "Keystone" Battery of Pennsylvania, ca. 1863
Two members of the New York State Militia pose in front of a caisson (left) and limber (right) near Harper's Ferry, Virginia, 1862.
A traveling forge at Gen. George McClellan's headquarters in Antietam, Maryland, 1862.
Battery Wagon.
Erected 2015 by Parker's Crossroads Battlefield Association.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. A significant historical date for this entry is December 31, 1862.
Location. 35° 47.6′ N, 88° 23.272′ W. Marker is in Parkers Crossroads, Tennessee, in Henderson County. Marker can be reached from Wildersville Road, 0.2 miles Tennessee 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. Civil War Artillery (a few steps from this marker); Prelude to Battle/December 31, 1862—the Battle/Union and Confederate Forces
Tennessee Historical Commission & Tennessee Wars Commission Sign image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Shane Oliver, April 11, 2021
3. Tennessee Historical Commission & Tennessee Wars Commission Sign
These field artillery pieces have been funded by the Wars Commission Grant Fund, administered by the Tennessee Wars Commission, the Tennessee Historical Commission, & Department of Environment and Conservation.
(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 400 feet away); Confederate Horseholders (about 500 feet away); Dunham's Artillery is Forced to Withdraw (about 600 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 30, 2021, by Shane Oliver of Richmond, Virginia. This page has been viewed 197 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on May 30, 2021, by Shane Oliver of Richmond, Virginia. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 17, 2024