Battle of Parker's Crossroads
Location: Parker's Crossroads, TN
Dates: December 31, 1862
Union Commander: Jeremiah C. Sullivan, Brigadier General
Nathan Bedford Forrest,
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
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.
Forrest's Expedition into West Tennessee 62-63
Outcome: Confederate victory
Union: 3,000 approximately
Confederate: 2,000 approximately
Union: 237 (killed, wounded or missing/captured)
Confederate: 500 (killed, wounded or missing/captured)
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. Close Window