Historic Markers Across Tennessee

The Battle of Parker's Crossroads - Three Desperate Charges

Marker ID:  
Location: at stop seven, of the driving tour of Parker's Crossroads Battlefield, Tennessee Route 22, Wildersville, TN
County: Henderson
Coordinates: N 35° 47.304    W 088° 23.308
  35.7884    -88.38846666
Waymark: None


The Confederates pressed forward, taking possession of the high ground abandoned by the Union troops, Forrest advancing his battle line into small arms range. The Confederate artillerists manhandled their guns forward, resuming their punishing fire at a range of less than 200 yards.

Dunham's men charged the guns under a hail of canister and grape. Part of the Federal line advanced to within 60 paces of the Confederate guns before it was turned back by the intense barrage of fire. Colonel Dunham again ordered his line to charge the batteries to his front and right.

During this charge, Confederate Colonel Alonzo Napier, on the Huntingdon-Lexington Road, mounted a counter attack on the 39th Iowa on the Union left. Napier and some of his men reached the split-rail fence. There, while standing atop the fence, Napier was mortally wounded and the Union enjoyed a short-lived advantage.

Meanwhile, Forrest began to deploy his troops so as to encircle the Union position. These preparations drew men from the Confederate battle line facing south, leaving only one regiment, Dibrell's 8th Tennessee. Dunham seized the opportunity offered by the weakened line and ordered an attack on Dibrell's position but the men, assaulted by a crossfire of canister and shrapnel, were driven back behind the split-rail fence. It was then that Forrest executed a classic military maneuver, a double-envelopment, attacking the Union front, rear, and flanks simultaneously.

During the first Union charge Colonel John Rinaker, commander of the 122nd Illinois, was severely wounded: "I was struck just below the right knee severing an artery, and soon so reducing me that I was unable to take any active part in the fray."

James Drish saw his commanding officer fall: "I was near him when he was struck, and helped him behind a tree and tied handkerchiefs around his leg and stopped the blood … it didn't take me two minutes but he fainted from lack of blood before I finished." Drish's quick thinking saved Rinaker's life.

Parker's Crossroads Battlefield Association.


More information:
The Parker's Crossroads Battlefield Association: The Battle of Parker's Crossroad