Battle of Parker's Crossroads
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Location: Parker's Crossroads, TN
Dates: December 31, 1862
Union Commander:  Jeremiah C. Sullivan, Brigadier General
Confederate Commander:  Nathan Bedford Forrest,
                                Brigadier General

Battle Summary:
During the early winter, of 1862, US Major General
Ulysses S. Grant had his army camped in northern Mississippi.  After taking Iuka, and Corinth, earlier in the fall, Grant had set his sights on Vicksburg, and the opening of the Mississippi River, to the United States.  He relied heavily on the railroads, in western Tennessee, to supply his huge army.

CS Brigadier General Nathan Bedford Forrest's 2,500 man cavalry division was ordered to wreck the railroads, and supplies, in western Tennessee, forcing Grant to retire from Mississippi.

In an effort to prevent, the disruption of his supply lines, and attack from the rear, U.S. Grant sent approximately 10,000 troops, to Jackson, TN, under the command of US Brigadier General Jeremiah Sullivan.  Additionally, Grant detached roughly 800 cavalry, commanded by US Colonel Robert Ingersoll, to track down Forrest.

Forrest would cross the Tennessee River, at Clifton, TN, on December 15-17, and head west.  He would defeat the small cavalry force under Ingersoll, capturing Ingersoll in the process, at Lexington.  Forrest would next attack Jackson, while two of his regiments struck the railroads around Jackson. 

Moving north, Forrest would tear up Mobile & Ohio track, between Union City, TN and Jackson.  This track was destroyed enough, that it would be of no use, to the Federal forces, until March 1863.  Having accomplished his mission, Bedford Forrest turned southeast, effectively ending his raid.

Brigadier General Jeremiah Sullivan, determined to pin Forrest's cavalry, north of the Tennessee River, devised a trap for him at the small village of Parker's Crossroads.  Sending US Colonel Cyrus Dunham's brigade to Parker's Crossroads, it was Sullivan's plan to block Bedford Forrest's escape route, to the Tennessee River.  On December 31, Forrest's hard charging cavalry ran into Dunham's brigade a mile northwest of the crossroads - in Hick's Field.  Using the horse artillery of CS Captain S.L. Freeman and CS Lieutenant John W. Morton, Forrest was able to push the Dunham's brigade back south of the crossroads. 

Sending forces behind Dunham, Bedford Forrest demanded he surrender his brigade.  As the surrender demand was being considered, another Federal brigade, commanded by US Colonel John Fuller, arrived from the north, threatening Forrest's rear.  It is said, that at this time, realizing he was surrounded, Forrest commanded his troops to, "charge them both ways."  Whether this was in fact said, Forrest simultaneously attacked Dunham, and Fuller, pushing his troops around Dunham's badly scattered brigade.  N.B. Forrest would cross the Tennessee River, on January 1, 1863.  While historians claim there was no clear victor, both sides claimed the victory that day.  Forrest's hard charging cavalry, having accomplished its goals of destroying Grant's supply lines, had won the campaign - and in my humble opinion, the battle.

Campaign: Forrest's Expedition into West Tennessee 62-63

Outcome: Confederate victory

Troop Strengths
Union: 3,000 approximately
Confederate: 2,000 approximately

Casualties (estimated):
Union: 237 (killed, wounded or missing/captured)
Confederate: 500 (killed, wounded or missing/captured)

Battle Aftermath:
While N.B. Forrest, was tearing up the railroads, in western Tennessee, CS Major General Earl Van Dorn destroyed the Federal supply depot at Holly Springs, MS.  With no supplies, and no communication, to the north, U.S. Grant was forced to pull out of northern Mississippi, and move back to Memphis, TN. 
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