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Doc. 94.-battle of Parker's cross-roads, Tenn.

Colonel Dunham's official report.

headquarters Third brigade, Parker's Cross-Roads, near Lexington, Tenn., December 31, 1862.
Brig.-Gen. J. C. Sullivan, Commanding Division:
sir: In pursuance of your written order of yesterday, the thirtieth instant, I on that day, at about two o'clock P. M., left Huntington, in pursuit of the enemy's force, under Gen. Forrest, toward Lexington, with the brigade under my command, except the Seventh Tennessee, which was by your order left to guard the bridge north of Huntington.

My command consisted of parts of two companies — A and E of the Eighteenth Illinois volunteer infantry, mounted, under Capt. Davis, sixty-five men; the Fiftieth Indiana volunteers, Lieut. Col. Wells commanding, five hundred and twenty-five [328] men; the One Hundred and Twenty-third Illinois, Col. Ranaker, five hundred and twenty-nine men; the Thirty-ninth Iowa, Colonel Cummings, four hundred and five men; and three pieces of the Seventh Wisconsin, under Lieut. Wheelock, thirty men. In all, one thousand five hundred and thirty-four men, rank and file.

Notwithstanding all were weary and worn with constant marches and arduous duties already performed, our little force pushed vigorously forward, and reached Clarksburgh, twelve miles distant, shortly after dark.

As the advance-guard (the mounted infantry under Captain Davis) approached the town, they were met and resisted by a company of the enemy. They promptly dismounted, engaged and repulsed him — killing three, who were left dead on the ground.

Our column immediately moved forward into, and occupied the town, without further resistance. Here we bivouacked for the night.

I ascertained from scouts whom I sent out, that Gen. Forrest, with a large force — said to be his whole command — were bivouacked at Union Church, four miles west of Clarksburgh, on the road leading from McLamoresville into the Huntington and Lexington road at Parker's Cross-Roads, five miles south of Clarksburgh. One of his foraging parties represented his force at eight thousand strong, with twelve pieces of artillery.

I immediately (two o'clock A. M.) sent a courier to you with a despatch, saying, in substance, that he was at the point above designated in considerable force, and that I should try to coax or force a fight out of him in the morning.

My information induced me to believe that he was endeavoring to escape by way of Lexington, and hence would enter the road to that place at the cross-roads aforesaid.

I determined to there intercept him. Our little force had breakfasted, and were in motion before day. The mounted infantry having been upon picket during the night, were left as rear-guard, and company A, of the Fiftieth infantry, under Lieut. Indy, was thrown forward as an advance-guard.

As the advance approached Parker's Cross-Roads, it was attacked by the enemy's pickets, and immediately deployed as skirmishers, and pushed rapidly forward up the hill, the whole column following. As I got with the advance to the top of the hill, I saw what seemed a large company, or two small ones, of the enemy, retreating along the road to the west, upon whom we opened fire, and the retreat became a flight, to Dr. Williams's house, upon a hill near half a mile distant, under the shelter of which, and the outbuildings and timber around it, they rallied.

Desiring to ascertain whether the enemy was there in force, two guns were ordered up, and threw a few shells into the surrounding timber, when a further retreat into the woods to the north-west followed.

Lieut.-Colonel Wells, with the Fiftieth Indiana, was ordered forward, to occupy the hill upon which the house stood and the woods to the right, and reconnoitre. He threw three companies (A, D and F) forward as skirmishers, following with the remainder of the regiment, and soon took the position indicated.

No enemy being found, company F, Lieutenant Jones, was sent across a skirt of woods to the north, to reconnoitre, and soon came up with and engaged a company of the enemy's mounted men, at a house a little west of north from that of Dr. Williams, and drove them back across a large field up and over the crest of a ridge. The recall was sounded, and they returned to the house.

Soon the enemy was seen coming down the hill toward the house. Company F had in the mean time been joined by a part of the detachment of the Eighteenth Illinois, (the mounted infantry before mentioned,) and the two again deployed, and drove the enemy back to the top of the ridge.

At this juncture, I saw the enemy deploying a line along, but behind the brow of the ridge, and the recall was sounded, and the skirmishers again rallied to the house. They had barely done so, when the enemy opened upon them with shell from a gun on his extreme right, and soon from another considerably further to the east, and the skirmishing party was withdrawn to the regiment at Williams's house.

Determined to ascertain if possible the force and disposition of the enemy, two pieces of artillery were ordered forward to the edge of the woods, supported by four companies of the Fiftieth Indiana, under Major Atkinson.

From these guns a fire was opened upon the enemy along the ridge. He replied with at least a full battery, and the fire for a little while was intense on both sides.

Seeing that the enemy had put a heavy force in line along and just over the crest of the ridge, and having accomplished all I desired at that place and time, I ordered our fire to cease and the forces there to be withdrawn to the main column at the cross-roads. Two or three of the horses of one gun having been disabled, it was gallantly taken out by a detachment of the Fiftieth, under a heavy fire of grape and shell.

The whole command was then moved south down the Lexington road, half a mile to the Red Mound, and placed in line of battle along and behind the crest of a ridge, which ran back from the road at an angle of about forty-five degrees, about half the length of the line, where it turns still more eastward. The left rested upon the road — the right upon a thick wood and ravine. The artillery was placed at the turn in the ridge.

This position covered a field to the west, a considerable part of the road running south from the cross-roads, and also by our guns a portion of the road from the west to the cross-roads.

The wagon-train was placed in a hollow in the rear, with two companies, one of the Thirty-ninth Iowa and one of the One Hundred and Twenty-second Illinois beyond, to protect it. These dispositions were scarcely made, indeed the artillery had not got fully into position, before the enemy, in heavy column, was seen moving from the woods [329] on to the road near Williams's house, and along it toward the cross-roads.

Being out of range of musketry, the artillery was ordered to open fire upon the advancing column, which it did, but from some cause, seemingly with but little effect. Lieut.-Colonel Wells was also directed to send two companies of his regiment (the Fiftieth Indiana) toward the cross-roads, to watch and check his advance. Company G, Capt. Carothers, immediately moved up the road at double-quick, deployed in the lane, opened a galling fire, and held his position until forced back by overwhelming numbers. Company B, Lieut. Davis, also moved forward at the same step, and deployed along the edge of the woods, upon which I afterward changed my line, and did valuable service. The enemy moved past the cross-roads eastward, and appeared as if desirous of escaping in that direction.

Our forces were immediately and rapidly moved to the north (toward the cross-roads) and a new line formed nearly perpendicular to a prolongation of the first, along the edge and under cover of the woods, parallel to the enemy's advancing column, the left resting upon the road and the right upon an open field, with three companies thrown perpendicularly to the rear in the edge of the woods, to cover the right flank, and a vigorous attack was commenced.

The disposition of forces at this time was: first, company G, Fiftieth Indiana, in the lane, who, when forced back as aforesaid, took position at the extreme left; second, the Thirty-ninth Iowa; third, the One Hundred and Twenty-second Illinois; fourth, the detachment of the Eighteenth Illinois; fifth, the Fiftieth Indiana, holding the right; sixth, two companies, company A of the Thirty-ninth Iowa, and one company of the One Hundred and Twenty-second Illinois, at the house on the mound, to cover our rear and protect our train yet in the hollow.

All had moved into position with alacrity and with the steadiness of veterans. The artillery had been ordered forward with a view to being placed between the Thirty-ninth and One Hundred and Twenty-second, where it was thought it would be made most effective upon the enemy's batteries and be supported by these regiments, but it had not yet got into position.

By this time the enemy had got into position, and the fire from his batteries had become intense along our whole line. Our skirmishers had been forced back out of the lane, which the enemy now occupied, and from which, and a small hill behind which he was, to some extent, sheltered, he poured upon our left a galling musketry fire.

I looked for our guns; two, only, had been brought forward, and they, instead of taking the position indicated, were being put in position in front of the extreme left.

I rode along the line to them. When I came up they had opened fire upon the enemy in the lane and upon the hill last mentioned. I again ordered them to be moved to the place designated. To my utter astonishment I was informed by the lieutenant that his ammunition was about exhausted, and hence that it was useless to change position.

Directing him to do the best he could with his pieces, I turned away to do the best I could without them.

Candor compels me to say, that from some cause our artillery was throughout strikingly inefficient, although both the officers and men with it exhibited the greatest bravery.

The enemy at this time had one battery on the ridge in front of and parallel to our line, one on a ridge nearly perpendicular to, but beyond our line to the right, so situated as to enable him to concentrate a fire upon several portions of our line, and to enfilade a part of it, and his fire had become terrible in its intensity. I determined to take his batteries, at all hazards the one on the right.

The requisite orders had been given, and I was riding along the line to see that they were properly understood, when we were suddenly and furiously attacked from the rear by a heavy dismounted force, which had, under the cover of the hills and woods beyond, turned our right flank and was moving to the rear of our main line in a direction nearly parallel to it, and between it and that of the two companies left to protect the train and rear.

At the same time a regiment of cavalry charged up the Lexington road from the south toward the rear of our left. This was the crisis of the day, and nobly did our gallant men meet it. The main line was faced at once to the rear, and drove the enemy back, inflicting a heavy loss in killed and wounded, and taking a large number of prisoners.

The repulse was complete. The Fiftieth here made a bayonet-charge, never surpassed and seldom equalled, forcing their way entirely through the enemy's line.

The cavalry charging up the road was also completely and severely repulsed by the two companies protecting our rear, who were promptly put in motion for that purpose under the direction of Adjutant Simpson of my staff, but it rallied and made a second charge upon them and was again repulsed.

When the enemy had been repulsed from the rear of our main line, as above described, the Fiftieth Indiana was placed to cover the route by which he had approached. It had barely got into position when its right was furiously charged by a heavy cavalry force from the south, before which it staggered and fell slightly back; but two companies (H, Captain Scott, and C, Captain Marsh) holding the left, quickly changed front and poured into the flank of the charging force a murderous fire, under which it broke and fled, and the right immediately rallied and resumed its place.

This substantially closed the fighting for the day, it being about two o'clock P. M. The repulse of the attack upon our rear had brought our line back to Red Mound, where our first had been formed, but at nearly right angles to it, the left rested where the right of the first had rested. It was in excellent order.

I was passing along it, speaking words of congratulation [330] and encouragement to the men, when a flag of truce, borne by an aid of Gen. Forrest, approached. I rode forward and demanded his message. He answered: “The General understands that you have surrendered.” I replied: “The General is entirely mistaken; we have never thought of surrendering.”

He said a white flag was hoisted. I answered: “You are mistaken, or if not, it was done without my authority or knowledge, and you will so report to your General.”

He departed, but shortly returned with the flag of truce, and said the General demanded an unconditional surrender. I replied: “You will get away with that flag very quickly, and bring me no more such messages. Give my compliments to the General, and tell him I never surrender. If he thinks he can take me, come and try.” He left.

In the mean time, Commissary-Sergeant Thompson, of the Fiftieth, had informed me that when the charge had been made upon the two companies left to protect the train and our rear, the wagoners had become panic-stricken, and had driven the train north-westwardly into a hollow, where it had been captured, and that with a single company he could retake it.

I turned to the Thirty-ninth Iowa and asked: “Will any company volunteer to retake the wagons?”

Company G, Capt. Cameron, instantly responded, and was placed under command of Major Atkinson, of the Fiftieth Indiana, and recaptured the train, taking several prisoners, among whom were Major Strange, General Forrest's Adjutant-General; Colonel McKee, his aid, and one or two other officers. This was scarcely accomplished, when I learned that you had arrived from Huntington with Col. Fuller's brigade, and I soon saw his guns moving into position.

It is reported to me by Lieut.-Col. Wells, who held our right, that on the repulse of the enemy's cavalry he appeared to commence withdrawing, under the cover of the woods, his forces past our right southward, and that when Fuller's brigade opened fire, his retreat in that direction became a perfect rout.

We were not during the entire engagement driven from a single position, but on the contrary, whenever opportunity offered, the enemy was driven before us with resistless vigor. Only in a single instance did any part of our command get into the slightest confusion. When our line was ordered to face to the rear and repel the enemy's flanking column, a part of the Thirty-ninth Iowa, some three or four companies of its right, obeyed most handsomely; but the other part, from not properly receiving or not fully understanding the orders, seemed to hesitate, became confused and finally began to break. Seeing this, I rode rapidly to them, hoping to remedy the difficulty. The enemy had seen it also, and concentrated upon them a terrific fire from his musketry in front and the battery on the right, under which they completely gave way and crossed the road to a skirt of woods, a short distance to the west. Their officers, assisted by my aid, Capt. Silence and Adjutant Simpson, soon rallied them, and they returned in good order to, and resumed their place in the line, in its new position at Red Mound, with their confidence in themselves and mine in them fully restored. It was one of these companies that, under Major Atkinson, retook our wagon train.

When it is recollected that this is a new regiment having had little or no opportunity for drill, that this is not only its first engagement, but its first march, that for nearly two hours it undauntedly maintained its position under the severest fire, and when I call to mind the terrible ordeal of the moment, the wonder is not, that they did no better but so well, and all regret for this single mishap is forgotten in admiration of the courage of these gallant men. Lieut.-Colonel Redfield and Capt. Cameron, of this regiment, were especially conspicuous for their coolness and energy at this time. The former, although severely and dangerously wounded, seemed entirely forgetful of his own sufferings in his efforts to rally his men. Color-Corporal Armstrong also attracted particular attention, for although his companion had fallen at his side pierced by several balls, yet he was ready at every command to put down his flag as a rallying-point. With the exception of this single incident, my entire command throughout the day manifested the greatest enthusiasm and the most perfect confidence in their success, and at no time more than the moment before you arrived with the other brigade.

The One Hundred and Twenty-second Illinois deserves especial notice. It is comparatively a new regiment, and part of it was at one time more exposed to the enemy's fire than any other; at any rate, it suffered more in killed and wounded. Its gallant colonel fell severely wounded, yet its courage never flagged, and it met every duty and every danger with unwavering resolution. The detachment of the Eighteenth acted for the most part with it, and deserves the same commendation.

To the Fiftieth Indiana, because of its greater experience, (being an older regiment,) was assigned the most responsible position of the field, and it is only necessary to say that, under its vigilant and brave commander, it so did its duties as to show that the trust was worthily confided.

I should also especially mention Captain Silence and Lieut. John R. Simpson, my Acting Assistant Adjutant-General. By their vigilance and energy in observing and reporting every movement, by their promptness in conveying orders and in seeing to and aiding in their execution, and in many other ways, were they of the greatest service to me. In the discharge of their duties they were often exposed to the enemy's hottest fire. Capt. Silence had two horses shot under him.

My mounted orderly, Fred. L. Prow, of the Fiftieth Indiana, also did good service in conveying orders. I should also acknowledge my personal [331] obligation to him. When my own horse was shot under me, he rode forward under a terrible fire, dismounted, and gave me his.

I hope to be pardoned for also mentioning a gallant little feat of private E. A. Topliff, of the battery. As our line faced about and pressed back in their engagement of the enemy in our rear, one of the guns of the battery was left behind in the edge of the woods. All the horses belonging to it had been killed but two. After every body had passed and left it, he, fearing that the enemy might capture it, alone and under a smart fire, disengaged the two horses, hitched them to the piece, and took it safely out.

The losses of my command are — killed, twenty-three; wounded, one hundred and thirty-nine; missing, fifty-eight. Total, two hundred and twenty.

Many of the wounds, probably one half, are slight. Among those taken prisoners are Capt. Hungate and Quartermaster Adams, of the Fiftieth Indiana, and Lieut. D. S. Scott, of the Eleventh Illinois cavalry, acting temporarily as my aid. Capt. Hungate had been very unwell for two or three days, but had, with great resolution, kept with his company. The night previous he became, and continued, very sick, and was with the assistant surgeon of his regiment, who, in the rear, had established his headquarters. Lieut. Adams was assisting in arranging the hospital and in making provision for the wounded already being brought in. They, and also the Assistant Surgeon, Hervey, and the hospital steward, were captured by the enemy's cavalry in the charge upon our rear. Dr. Hervey and the hospital steward were detained two hours, our wounded, in the mean time, being left to suffer for want of their attention. Lieut. D. S. Scott, Eleventh Illinois cavalry, was suddenly surrounded and taken whilst zealously discharging his duties.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. L. Dunham, Colonel Commanding Brigade.

Colonel Cummings's report.

headquarters Thirty-Ninth Iowa infantry, Battle Ground of Parker's Cross-Roads, December 31, 1862.
Lieutenant: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by my regiment in the battle of Parker's Cross-Roads this day:

Upon arriving at the cross-roads we were halted, and remained in that position some time, while the Fiftieth Indiana infantry deployed as skirmishers, and, supported by two pieces of artillery, engaged the rebels upon the hill to the right and west of the road. We were then ordered to file to the right up the lane, take position on the hill, and upon arriving there I was ordered to counter-march and take position about a mile south of the cross-roads, and there formed in front of a few log houses upon the left of the One Hundred and Twenty-second Illinois infantry. About eleven o'clock A. M. I changed front forward on first company and moved north about a quarter of a mile, and again formed on the left of the One Hundred and Twenty-second Illinois, behind a fence. Here we were exposed to a murderous fire from two pieces of the enemy's artillery in front, and a battery of six guns upon our right, which raked my entire line. We were also exposed to a heavy musket-fire from the enemy's dismounted cavalry. My men were in a low skirt of timber, but returned for a long time with much energy the fire from their rifles. Notwithstanding the grape, canister and shell of the enemy were falling thick upon them, wounding many, they behaved admirably and fought with much coolness, and here allow me to remark that they were greatly encouraged by the presence of Col. Dunham, commanding the brigade, who amid the thickest of the iron hail rode in front and rear of them, urging them to do or die for their country. After fighting an hour or more in this position, some officer came down to my right and gave an order which several of my officers say to me was: “Rally to the rear.” Had the officer passed down as far as my colors he would have found me, and, I am satisfied I could, had my command heard my voice, have about-faced the regiment and led them anywhere without confusion. But being raw troops and imperfectly drilled, they mistook the command for an order to retreat, and commenced breaking to the rear from near the right of the regiment, which, despite my efforts, became propagated along the whole line. I hastened toward the right of the retreating men and gave the order to halt and the command to form, and had done much toward re-forming, when we were opened upon by a heavy fire of dismounted men, who had advanced under cover of the thick underbrush to within fifty feet of my men. They then in more confusion fell back toward the fence and received standing the fire of the enemy's artillery, and under it and the fire from the rear, the confusion became worse. Companies F and D, and several from other companies, formed upon the right of the One Hundred and Twenty-second Illinois, which had faced to the rear, and assisted them in driving the rebels back at the point of the bayonet, taking a number of prisoners. Under this fire, so unexpected, from both front and rear, and the enemy's cannon seemed to be entirely concentrated upon our left to save their own force in our rear, about the half of my regiment broke to the left of our line as formed in behind the fence and crossed the road into the corn-field upon the opposite side. Assisted by Col. Dunham, Lieut.-Colonel Redfield, who was severely wounded, Major Griffith, who had been struck on the head by a spent grape-shot, and yourself, I attempted to halt and re-form the scattered men. The enemy turned their cannon upon us and we were fired upon by their cavalry, and I was unable to form a line until we reached a skirt of timber about a quarter of a mile from where we lay in line. Here I formed and marched back upon the left again of the One Hundred and Twenty-second Illinois and Fiftieth Indiana, but they fell in with us and marched back to the battle-ground. Shortly afterward, perhaps half [332] an hour, and at about half-past 1 P. M., reenforcements arrived and the battle ended. I have omitted to state that at the cross-roads company A was detached from the regiment and guarded our train. When we fell back to the ground on which the battle was fought, they, or rather all but fifteen of them, with company G of the One Hundred and Twenty-second Illinois, were stationed at the house on the rear of our line of battle. Here they three times repulsed a regiment of cavalry who attempted to force their way through the lane to reach our main body. The fifteen spoken of were near the train, and succeeded in capturing over forty prisoners.

There were many cases of individual bravery among those under my command, but to particularize would make my report too lengthy. I must however say, that from information received through reliable men of my command, who were taken prisoners and paroled, I am satisfied that the rebels had men dressed in our uniform so close in our rear, that they could see our exact position, and know the number of our regiments and strength.

Allow me to add that while I cannot take the room to name the many of my company officers who did their whole duty, I must bear witness to the coolness and bravery of Lieut.-Col. Redfield, (who ceased his labors only when his wound compelled him,) Major Griffith, Surgeon Woods, and Adjt. Tichenor. They rendered me all the assistance possible.

The following figures show the number of my officers and men who took part in the engagement:

Field and staff, five; company officers, twenty-one; enlisted men, three hundred and seventy-nine. Total, four hundred and five.

My report of casualties is as follows:

Killed, three; wounded, thirty-three; missing, eleven. Total loss, forty-seven.

I also add a list of the names of killed, wounded and missing:

Killed.--Corporal Jacob Koontz, Co. G; Corporal J. C. Stearns, Co. H; Color Guard; Demigh Layton, wagoner, Co. K.

Wounded.--Lieut.-Colonel James Redfield, in shoulder, severely; Major J. M. Griffith, in head, spent ball; Capt. J. M. Brown, Co. F, stomach, severely; Second Lieutenant J. B. Rawls, Co. A, in two places by spent balls ; First Sergeant John P. Jones, Co. A, in abdomen, slightly; Corporal Jesse Williams, Co. A, in abdomen, slightly; private Thomas Tucker, Co. A, in leg, severely; private Edward Brown, Co. A, in leg, severely; private L. F. Bates, Co. A, in shoulder, severely; private Solomon Pentwies, Co. A, in leg, severely; private John L. Albin, Co. B, in hand, severely; private Wm. H. Chamberlain, Co. B, in head, severely; private Benjamin P. Chase, Co. B, in thigh, severely; Corporal Jerome Coon, Co. D, in face, slightly; private Randal Milliner, Co. D, in shoulder, severely; private George Vaught, Co. D, in arm, severely; private Joseph F. Palmer, Co. D, in head, slightly; Corporal James F. Morris, Co. E, in arm, severely; private Amos Moler, in neck, slightly; private I. I. Heneyer. Co. F, in arm, severely; private Wm. Thorn berg, Co. F, in hip, severely; private W. S. Wilkinson, Co. F, in head, slightly; private Charles Albright, Co. G, in shoulder, severely; private John S. Baird, Co. G, in leg, slightly; private Samuel C. Bazel, Co. G, in leg, severely; private Bartholomew Haffron, Co. G, in hand, slightly; private James Mood, Co. H, in hand, slightly; private Joseph Smith, Co. H, in hand, slightly; private Nathan Russell, Co. H, in breast, slightly; private James Estes, Co. H, in hand, slightly; private Clifford B. Parker, Co. H, in abdomen, slightly; Sergeant Wm. L. Keaggy, Co. I, in leg, slightly; private James C. Evans, Co. K, in head, slightly.

missing and supposed to be prisoners.

Private David Fleming, Co. A; Henry Chase, Co. A; Asher W. Holcomb, Co. B; Sergeant Thos. Ashton, Co. C ; privates Jack Johnson, Co. D ; Benj. Aylott, Co. E; Geo. Armstrong, Co. H; Alfred Warner, Co. I; Musician, Thos. Nicholas, Co. I; private William Farner, Co. K.

Company C, with the exception of five men, were left on picket at Huntington, and did not arrive in time to take part in the engagement.

I am, very respectfully,

H. J. B. Cummings, Colonel Commanding. Lieut. John R. Simpson, A. A.A. G., Second Brigade.

Chicago Tribune account.

Cairo, January 6, 1863.
The announcement was made from this point yesterday, of the successful battle fought at Parker's Cross-Roads on the thirty-first ultimo, between Brig.-General Jerry C. Sullivan's forces and the celebrated cavalry of the confederate General Forrest. The general results, and a somewhat detailed description of the brilliant battle were also given in the telegram, but many interesting particulars, the history of the campaign and other matters impossible to comprise in a telegraphic despatch, were purposely omitted, to be dealt with separately and at some length in this letter. I have the very best authority for saying that no more thorough knowledge of a fight, its antecedents, concomitants and results could have been obtained than I have of this battle, had I been upon the field and participated in every movement, and carefully noted the minutiae at the moment.

To obtain a full knowledge of the importance of this raid of Forrest's, it will be necessary to start with its history at about the eighteenth of December, when Jackson was “threatened,” as correspondents at the time incredulously set forth in their despatches from this point and Columbus. It will appear, perhaps, that Jackson was pretty severely threatened.

My informant, whose notes I have before me, and whose story, being connected and particular, as well as reliable, I shall follow in this narrative as nearly as may be, left Oxford, Mississippi, on the eighteenth of December, and arrived at [333] Jackson at midnight of the same day. Brig.-Gen. Jerry C. Sullivan, a young Indianian, was in command of the forces at this point. Jackson was in an uproar, consequent upon a report which had gained some credence, that General Forrest, with at the least calculation from twelve to fifteen thousand men and ten or twelve pieces of artillery, had crossed the Tennessee and was rapidly making his way to Jackson by the way of Lexington. Of course the Federal force, being but about five thousand strong, could not be expected to successfully meet so overwhelming a force. General Sullivan had information that seemed to corroborate common report, and fully expected an attack. He had his men under arms, early and late, during the day and night, prepared to do his best in any emergency. On the evening of the eighteenth, Brayman's and Fuller's brigades came up and reenforced Sullivan.

At twelve M. on the ensuing day, the nineteenth, the enemy were reported actually but two miles from Jackson. Gen. Sullivan ordered out the Forty-third Illinois, Col. Engleman, to go to the front and do what they could to harass the confederates. The command was obeyed. Engleman ambuscaded his regiment and waited Forrest's approach. As the rebel advance came in, a volley was fired upon them; several were killed outright, some wounded and three taken prisoners. In this rencontre our loss was one killed and five wounded. At two P. M. on that day Col. Fuller, with his brigade of about five thousand men, arrived at Jackson, from Oxford, forwarded by order of General Grant.

Undoubtedly well informed as to the Federal strength at Jackson, and as correctly posted as to the arrival of reenforcements, harassed by Engleman, and fearing to attack, Forrest commenced throwing shell into the town, hoping to destroy it. During this bombardment, which apparently caused little damage, Generals Sullivan, Haynie, and Webster held a consultation at Sullivan's headquarters. They were well satisfied that Forrest would not deem it prudent to enter the town, and should he desire to do so, could ask for nothing more to their wishes. Brayman's brigade was ordered out then as skirmishers. The roar of artillery from our side soon had the effect of driving the enemy away. At four P. M. Brayman began to overtake their skirmishers only four miles from the town. But they continued to fall back. Brayman followed about two miles further, and then encamped. The rest of Sullivan's forces remained in the place within intrenchments.

Early in the morning of the twentieth, leaving one thousand one hundred men to guard Jackson, Sullivan, with the remainder — about seven thousand--left, having three batteries, with General I. N. Haynie, in pursuit of Forrest. Major Smith, of the Forty-fifth Illinois, was commandant of the town. At ten A. M. the same day, cannon were heard toward the north-east, in the direction of Spring Creek. At two P. M. the same sound seemed to come from the direction of Humboldt. General Sullivan, not knowing whether this came from Forrest or not, but opined that some body was in trouble, ordered out five hundred men to reenforce Trenton, to go by the way of Humboldt. It was not until four P. M. that reliable news arrived of the destruction of the trestle-work near Trenton, on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. Men as scouts were immediately sent out as to the matter, and report. They confirmed the evil tidings upon their return. Early the next morning two contrabands came into camp from Murfreesboro, and reported that the rebels, five thousand to seven thousand strong, commenced the retreat from that place the same day that Sullivan left Jackson, and on the twentieth were ten miles out. They gave the capture of Ingersoll at Lexington correctly; also that other captures had been made in the vicinity of men, horses, and other property. At midnight a despatch was received from Trenton, while in camp, that Forrest was east of that place, at Spring Creek, and advancing. This report came from Colonels Fry and Hawkins. General Sullivan also heard that day that Humboldt had been taken, and that five hundred troops, sent up on the railroad, had had the road cut up on each side, confining them to their position or necessitating a return on foot. Thirty rounds were fired upon this train by the rebels; one man killed and four wounded upon it. The fire was returned from the cars, and thirty rebels bit the dust. Col. Ihre, assuming command of the five hundred men, marched them out, pursued the rebels; they fled, he followed and chased them to Humboldt, and still they did not pause in their flight. Twelve of their skedaddling force were killed. Our loss was none killed and but one wounded.

On the twenty-first, not finding the rebels, Gen. Sullivan returned to Jackson, where the fight had not yet subsided, but an attack was continually anticipated. The report had reached the place regarding the recapture of Holly Springs, and it was supposed that Van Dorn was then moving north to gobble up Jackson and the whole country from thence to Columbus.

Soon after Gen. Sullivan returned to Jackson, he ordered troops to report to Gen. I. N. Haynie, for the purpose of going north and “repairing bridges, pitching into the rebels, and opening railroads.” At sundown the following forces had reported to the General: One Hundred and Sixth Illinois, Col. Latham, two hundred and ten men; Thirty-ninth Iowa, Colonel Cummings, six hundred and four men; One Hundred and Nineteenth Illinois, Major Watson, two hundred and five men; Iowa Union brigade, Lieut. Colten, two hundred men.

General Haynie was afterward reenforced by ninety of the Eleventh Illinois cavalry, under Capt. Burbridge, and one company of the Eighteenth Illinois infantry. He then transported his troops to the first break in the road, and commenced the labor of making repairs. At night the camp was fired upon. In the morning scouts were sent on to Humboldt, which was found to be quietly in Federal possession. The [334] road being ready, on the twenty-first General Haynie's force moved on and entered Humboldt, where, making repairs and performing other necessary labor, they remained until the twenty-sixth Here they were joined by the One Hundred and Twenty-sixth Illinois, two hundred and fifty-seven men, and Seventh Tennessee, one hundred and forty-eight men.

The repairs being ready, and General Haynie having been further reinforced by the One Hundred and Twenty-second Illinois, Col. Ranaker, about six hundred men, and leaving Col. Beardsley with the One Hundred and Twenty-sixth Illinois at Humboldt, he moved forward to Trenton, where he arrived at noon on the twenty-sixth, and reported by telegraph to General Sullivan. There had been no opposition to Gen. Haynie's march to Trenton; but upon sending out scouts for the purpose, he found that Forrest had changed front also, and had a portion of his force at Middleburgh, four miles from the road, and the remainder at Dresden, about twenty miles from the road — in fact, that the rebel pickets were not over ten miles distant from his own outposts. The rebel force he could not learn, but had an idea that combined it would reach about five thousand. Gen. Haynie had at that time two thousand four hundred men, all told, in his command, and was extremely desirous of advancing alone upon Forrest; but upon making known his wish, Gen. Sullivan considered it highly dangerous for him to undertake the feat, thinking he might be cut off between the two sections of the confederate cavalry. This was undoubtedly sound advice, and it is well it was followed. There was constant telegraphic communication at this time between Haynie at Trenton and Sullivan, yet at Jackson; and to the fact that there were two cool heads, two energetic and courageous men, backed by good and true Western soldiery, may the success so brilliantly achieved at a later day at the Cross-Roads, be mainly attributed. On the twenty-seventh, General Sullivan started out as reenforcements — troops having been furnished for the purpose from Oxford — the Twenty-seventh Ohio, Colonel Fuller; the Twenty-second Ohio, Colonel Wood; the Thirty-ninth Ohio, Colonel Noyes; the Sixty-third Ohio, Colonel Spaulding; the Fiftieth Indiana, Colonel Dunham; Kidd's Fourteenth Indiana, and a Wisconsin battery. Upon their arrival in Trenton, these regiments were brigaded as follows:

First brigade--Col. Fuller of the Twenty-seventh Ohio commanding; Twenty-seventh Ohio, Thirty-ninth Ohio, and Sixty-third Ohio.

Second brigade--Col. Dunham of the Fiftieth Indiana commanding; Fiftieth Indiana, Thirty-ninth Iowa, One Hundred and Twenty-second Illinois, and Seventh Tennessee.

Gen. Haynie commanded the troops enumerated as accompanying him to Trenton, not included in the above, and in the advance occupied the extreme left.

To the infantry in the Twenty-seventh were added the batteries and the cavalry, all of which were ordered to be ready for sudden marching orders. Colonel Dunham's brigade, in fact, did march that night, immediately upon the arrival of General Sullivan, who came at nine o'clock of that night.

Gen. Sullivan and the remainder of the troops marched early the morning of the twenty-eighth, and encamped that night at Shady Grove, a pleasant place for a bivouac, about half a day's march from Huntington. Capt. Burbridge of the Eleventh Illinois cavalry force was ordered forward at an early hour on the twenty-ninth--about four o'clock A. M.--to occupy Huntington, and hold a bridge over a small stream beyond called Beaver Creek, and if possible, prevent the enemy from crossing g to the town. This was promptly performed by the corps. They reached the structure just at the moment that Forrest's advance pickets did, but held the position without loss, the confederates quickly falling back when they found themselves forestalled. The infantry were not long in following the horsemen into Huntington. I immediately upon his arrival, General Sullivan ordered regiments into position at the ends of the principal streets leading into the place, and sent out three hundred mien four miles towards Forrest's advance to take and occupy a second bridge on the Dresden road. Major Atkinson of the Fiftieth Indiana regiment had charge of this dangerous duty, and performed it faithfully and with celerity. As the detachment of Indiana troops approached the bridge, they were also met by the rebel pickets and fired upon, one of their number being wounded, but none killed. The fire was quickly returned, and two of the rebels were killed, one wounded, and the remainder fell back and gave up the position. In this manner the night of the twenty-ninth was passed at Huntington.

On the morning of the thirtieth the rebels, finding that they were cut off from passing through Huntington, and would be unable to reach their desired destination, the Tennessee, in that way, moved south and westerly, intending, doubtless, to reach Lexington. Late in the afternoon of that day, this movement having reached Sullivan's ears, he ordered Col. Dunham and his Second brigade to strike out and intercept them. The point where he thought they would meet them was at Clarksburgh, or near there, and, as was shown subsequently, the General made a very close guess on the subject, as the Cross-Roads are but a short distance south of Clarksburgh. It was late evening when the Second brigade reached Clarksburgh, which is about nine miles from huntington.

Leaving the Generals Sullivan and Haynie at Huntington, let us follow the march of Colonel Dunham's devoted force in the advance from Clarksburgh south, toward Lexington, it being understood that Forrest's force, unknown to the Federals, had made a detour to the westward, and taken a wagon road running in a conical line from a point on the Dresden road, at Hico, arcoss the Trenton road, a little to the eastward of McLemoresville, and reaching the Lexington road a few miles south of ClarksvilleParker's [335] Cross-Roads-intending thence to strike the road through Lexington for Clifton, their proposed crossing-place of the Tennessee River. The start of Colonel Dunham's force from Clarksville was made early on the morning of the thirty-first. The Cross-Roads were reached at nine o'clock. What was the surprise of Colonel Dunham to find his little brigade confronting, drawn up in a field of about a mile and a quarter in length, and one mile in width, supported in front by three batteries, on elevated points or hillocks, seemingly made expressly for the purpose, and rather encircling with cavalry and dismounted horsemen the road where he should pass, over seven thousand confederates, all under the command of the redoubtable Forrest in person. There was no time to run, if he would — which was not his forte — and all he had before him was to fight it out. This he proceeded coolly to do.

The enemy made the attack with their batteries, which were in position to rake Dunham's brigade completely, situated as they were upon slight knolls or mounds. Their dismounted cavalry, used as infantry, were posted in the rear of the first battery. Behind two columns of these were planted two batteries, and then to the left and right of these, still further to the south, were ranged the main force of the confederates, consisting of mounted riflemen.

Dunham's brigade formed immediately in solid column, in about a straight line south of the batteries, thinking there best to maintain a footing. It was a good stand-point, but overpowering numbers soon made it a bad one, for, toward the close of the fight, the rebels had managed to flank the Federals and deploy men enough to the left and right to cut them off completely from retreat. But this was not until the battle had lasted some three hours, so stubbornly did Dunham's men contest the ground, inch by inch, all the time under the galling fire of the confederate cannon. So strongly did they fight, even before they brought their own battery to position, so accurate was their aim and invincible their wills, that for a time it was not certain they would not drive the entire seven thousand before them. But this could not last. The enemy was fresh; they had ammunition in plenty, and their position that of their own choice. The reader has the scene plainly before him: the small force of Union troops, under the old flag, standing firm before three times their own number; Colonel Dunham and his aids in the thickest of the fight, waving their swords and urging their men to more chivalrous deeds, and all this in the midst of flying shot, rifle bullets, and bursting shell — the din of battle rendering the voice of commanders useless, almost, and drowning all vocal efforts beneath the deep bass of the roaring cannon. The smoke of burning powder; the dust created by ploughing solid shot as it struck the earth, enveloping men, horses, batteries; all, as with the panoply of an impending storm. Through this veil you see the flash of artillery, blaze from musket and rifle, and the shadowy movements of the soldiers and their officers, as through the gauze and red lights you have witnessed in the denouement of a drama on the mimic stage. You hear, you see, you conceive that something awfully tragic, something terribly sublime, is being enacted before your eyes, yet, until you approach and mingle with the dead and wounded, and see the red life-current at your feet, hear the dying groans of your countrymen, and feel that you are powerless to aid — that a Power higher than a human power can only succor and protect in that dread hour — you cannot appreciate the feelings of those engaged upon the battle-field.

And still, without hope, almost, without ammunition for his battery — for it had at the end of three hours given out entirely and could not be replenished--Colonel Dunham and his gallant men held their position. The hour had come. They had to fall back. They did so, and each soldier in his place, slowly, steadily, as though on parade; still firing volley after volley, and closely pressed by the confederate cavalry. A sudden movement of the enemy to the right, and our brigade was hemmed in — surrounded. But they did not give up. Yet there was a cartridge in the box, there was a musket in hand, the Stars and Stripes were above their heads. Before their eyes were the rebels, and in their very faces the hated stars and bars were fluttering. The hearts of oak flinched not. Still they fought. Seeing their helpless condition, and not knowing when — if ever — the Yankee commander would consider himself whipped, Forrest ordered a cessation of the conflict, and a parley ensued. A flag of truce came to Colonel Dunham, demanding an unconditional surrender. He sent back word he “never surrendered. If they wanted to take him and his force they had got to fight to the bitter end.” This was gaining time. It was high noon. The First brigade could not be far away. This answer had been returned to Forrest, and he was deliberating what next to do, when, over a knoll, just in sight, came General Sullivan in person, closely followed by General Haynie. Behind them came the artillery, the infantry, all on the double-quick, which, for more than three miles, the entire brigade, led on by the noise of the conflict, had kept up without cessation.

The scene at this moment was impressive in the extreme. The firing had almost ceased. The Federals in compact and orderly array, stood firm, as before stated, entirely surrounded by rebels. The First brigade coming up the lane leading to Parker's house, headed by the artillery and the commanding officers, General Sullivan about a hundred yards in advance of General Haynie, turned on his horse and shouted: “Here they are! Hurry up that artillery!” The order was repeated by Haynie, and the artillery and the infantry did hurry up with a vengeance. It was not until the artillery reached the top of the knoll in the lane, which was crowded with confederate soldiers, had unlimbered, and was preparing to open upon them, the infantry had deployed at double-quick, and was rushing upon them at a charge bayonet, that the confederate [336] leaders seemed to appreciate the fact they were attacked. In reality, so sudden was the onslaught, that even Colonel Dunham's men forgot to fire upon the enemy, and stood apparently transfixed, until the Second brigade had actually scattered the intervening foe, and captured cannon after cannon of their batteries, the rebels succeeding in escaping with but three out of nine, one having exploded in their hands. The rebels in the lane were dismounted. They scattered like a flock of sheep, but were nearly all captured. Those further on, and upon horseback, did not pause to see the result, but ran for cover of the adjacent forest as fast as their horses could carry them. Forrest himself was one of the first to follow this example. His Adjutant-General Strange was not so fortunate, and became a prisoner. So quickly was the fight ended by their appearance upon the scene, that there was hardly any thing done on either side afterward — except running. The newly arrived battery had not a chance to fire a single gun. The rebel artillerymen fled with the rest, and could not be driven to their position by the most frantic exertions of their officers.

The battle was won. There were then three cheers and a tiger by the First and Second brigades, and after that followed congratulations and words of thankfulness such as men in peril suddenly saved can only speak.

The loss in killed, wounded, and prisoners, of the Union troops did not exceed one hundred. Among the wounded was Colonel Ranaker, who was struck in the leg with a bullet. His wound is serious, but not considered dangerous. The principal loss chanced to fall upon members of the One Hundred and Twenty-second Illinois regiment. Lieut.-Colonel Redfield was wounded in the shoulder severely. Captain Brown of the Thirty-ninth Iowa, in the chest, supposed mortally. There were no field or commissioned officers on our part killed. Lieutenant Scott of the Eleventh Illinois cavalry, connected with General Sullivan's staff, but acting on this occasion as an aid to Colonel Dunham, was taken prisoner. A few of our privates were also captured, but their names have not as yet been reported.

On the part of the rebels, the actual loss in killed, wounded and taken prisoners, as reported by Forrest himself to a Federal officer he captured, but subsequently released, was fully one thousand. Among the killed were Colonel Nappier, a Lieutenant-Colonel and a Major, names not learned. Among the prisoners were Forrest's Adjutant-General Strange, Colonel McKee, an aid of Forrest's, Colonel Cox of the Tennessee militia, Major Lee, and fifteen other line and commissioned officers. We also captured four hundred men, six guns, all their caissons, limbers and contents, four hundred or five hundred horses, saddles, accoutrements, etc., a large amount of small arms, wagons, ambulances, mules, camp equipage, tents, etc., etc., all of which were forwarded to Lexington on the ensuing day — the initial day of the new year.

Upon returning to Lexington on the first of January, General Sullivan met Colonel Lawler with a fresh brigade, which force he added to Fuller's brigade, and despatched in pursuit of the flying enemy, Colonel Lawler in command. It was thought that the enemy might be overtaken at Clifton, provided gunboats reported to be there had stopped them, and not permitted them to cross the river. There is as yet no report from this expedition. It is to be hoped that Forrest may not be allowed to quit the country in condition to organize another raid like that of which I have attempted to give the history above.

T. H. W.

Chattanooga “rebel” account.

Subjoined from the Chattanooga Rebel of the thirtieth, is the first Southern account of the fight at Parker's Cross-Roads, between Generals Forrest and Sullivan.

Mr. John P. Lee and Mr. Wm. Leady, of this place, returned to-day (Wednesday) from Clifton, Wayne County, Tennessee, where they met Gen. Forrest's forces returning from Parker's Cross-Roads, West-Tennessee, where they had a desperate fight with an overwhelming force of the abolitionists. These gentlemen were with Col. Russell's command twenty-four hours, and had a fine opportunity of learning the facts, and report them as follows:

On the thirty-first of December, Gen. Forrest was returning from his successful expedition for cutting Grant's and Sherman's communications with the North, and destroying their supplies having destroyed the Mobile and Ohio Railroad bridges and trestles from Jackson to Union City, tearing up the road and burning the cross-ties and iron, and doing the same for the Memphis and Ohio Railroad--capturing and paroling two thousand prisoners, taking four cannon, and a large number of small arms.

At Parker's Cross-Roads, about thirty miles north-west of Lexington, he encountered a large body of the enemy, seven full regiments, supposed to be five thousand, and they raised the white flag in token of surrender. He approached to receive their arms, when another heavy column of ten regiments came on his flank and rear, and began to fire on his men, and the portion who had raised the white flag treacherously joined in the firing. The gallant Forrest and his brave men returned the fire vigorously. They had only ten rounds of ammunition, fired six rounds, and then fought their way out, with a loss of five hundred in killed, wounded and missing. The killed are estimated at about fifty, the wounded at one hundred and fifty to two hundred. The rest are prisoners. The wounded also fell into the hands of the enemy.

It is said that, in fighting their way out, our brave troops massed themselves in a solid column anti charged the enemy's column that had come upon their rear. The cool and intrepid Forrest remained in the rear to select his scattered men and bring them out, and the enemy closed up their column, after the most of Forrest's men had passed through, and came very near catching [337] him. He escaped by riding at full speed along a ravine and leaping his .horse over a ten-rail fence. One who witnessed his escape, said the last he saw of Forrest, he was flying over the fence lying flat on his horse, and hundreds of bullets were flying after him. One bullet passed through his hat. Strange to say, not one man was lost in fighting their way out.

Forrest went over with about three thousand five hundred men, and came back with about three thousand. Besides losing five hundred men, one of his mountain howitzers burst in the last fight, and the enemy captured three, leaving him six cannon — his original number. He crossed the Tennessee River at and near Clifton, Tennessee, a little north-east of Lexington, on Thursday night and Friday morning, and camped at Clinton until Sunday morning. The enemy came, eight thousand strong, Saturday afternoon, and formed a line of battle, and some fighting took place across the river, which was three hundred yards wide. Forrest brought his artillery to bear on the abolitionists, and they retired. It is positively asserted that Forrest, with his pistol, killed one abolitionist across the river. The command rode ninety miles without getting out of their saddles, and with little or nothing to eat. They have returned to Mount Pleasant, Tennessee.

Mr. Leady furnishes us with the following list of casualties:

Killed------Burgess, Dr. Cowan, T. T. Lipscomb, Logan Reedy, Captain Ed. Wallace, Mike White.

Wounded--Captain R. Whitman, right hand and side; B. Nichols, right side; W. B. Ford, left side; Mixon, left side; Terry, right thigh; Morris, left shoulder; Peter Binford, right leg; Brazelton Skidmore, James W. Franks, D. Morton, Lieut. Arthur H. Beard, Cheshire Thornburg, Wm. Bassett, Joe Wall.

We are promised an official report of our loss in a day or two. The abolition loss is reported heavy, but the number not known.

--Memphis Argus, January 31.

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