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Parkers Crossroads in Henderson County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
 

Forrest's Artillery Leads the Attack

 
 
Forrest's Artillery Leads the Attack Marker image. Click for full size.
By Shane Oliver, April 11, 2021
1. Forrest's Artillery Leads the Attack Marker
Inscription.  Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest employed unusual tactics—mobile horse artillery, threatening multiple targets simultaneously, and employing misinformation and bluff. At Parker's Crossroads, Forrest used his artillery as a psychological and offensive weapon. So successful were his innovative and audacious tactics that they were adapted for motorized infantry and tanks during World War II.

Pounding and Pressing the Attack
During the Civil War artillery was generally used both before an attack and in support of soldiers assaulting an enemy position. At Parker's Crossroads, Forrest ordered his artillerists to move the guns forward by hand, bringing firepower into play against Union infantry. This action constricted their lines, giving them no option but to retreat or surrender.

"Many of the orders [I] received were outside of [my] knowledge of military tactic, but it never occurred to [me] to doubt their feasibility nor their success." Lieut. John Morton

Artillery Closes in On the Union Line
Forrest ordered the four guns of Capt. Samuel L. Freeman's Battery, aligned
Marker located next to the 3-inch Rifle image. Click for full size.
By Shane Oliver, April 3, 2021
2. Marker located next to the 3-inch Rifle
The "A Panicked Stampede" marker can be seen next to the bench.
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east to west in this area, rolled down the hill in front of you toward the split-rail fence (reconstructed in its original location, on the far side of I-40). Lieut. John Morton remembered, "Many of the orders [I] received were outside of [my] knowledge of military tactic, but it never occurred to [me] to doubt their feasibility nor their success." The artillerists, protected by dismounted cavalry, fought off several Union attacks as they pushed the guns to within 200 yards of the Union line.

Unleashing a Barrage of Canister
Sgt. Nat Baxter recalled, "We were at such close quarters a good deal of the time that we used two charges of canister with a single charge of powder." Under constant fire, the Confederate artillerists loaded their guns while lying on the ground.

The horrific, unending bombardment sparked fear and panic among the Union infantry. Dunham's line broke in two, wavered, and was on the verge of surrender when Gen. John Fuller's Brigade arrived and attacked Forrest from the rear.

A Deadly Antipersonnel Weapon
Canister was generally used as a defensive weapon. Here, however, Forrest employed it as an offensive weapon.

Upon being fired, the cylinder holding the iron balls packed in sawdust disintegrated. The balls fanned out like a huge shotgun blast, decimating all in their path.

(captions)
"We
3-inch Rifle next to the marker image. Click for full size.
By Shane Oliver, April 11, 2021
3. 3-inch Rifle next to the marker
were at such close quarters a good deal of the time that we used two charges of canister with a single charge of powder."
This Alfred Waud drawing illustrates the devastating effect shelling had on Confederate infantry in Virginia.
Canister
Sgt. Nat Baxter
 
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° 47.536′ N, 88° 23.263′ W. Marker is in Parkers Crossroads, Tennessee, in Henderson County. Marker can be reached from Wildersville Road 0.2 miles from 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. A Panicked Stampede (a few steps from this marker); Manning the Guns (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Civil War Artillery (about 400 feet away); Dunham's Artillery is Forced to Withdraw (about 400 feet away); Prelude to Battle/December 31, 1862—the Battle/Union and Confederate Forces
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(about 500 feet away); Dunham Takes the Offensive (about 600 feet away); The Battle Begins (about 600 feet away); Napier's Assault on the 39th Iowa (about 700 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 38 times since then. 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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Jun. 23, 2021