Story by Sascha McKnight
|Taking It Easy Around Camp at Parker's Crossroads|
On Friday morning brevet 2nd Sgt. Matthew Beard led a small advance party to Parker's Crossroads to set up a camp site and scout out the local area for any of the secesh. Throughout the rest of the day, small groups of soldiers straggled into camp. Saturday Morning we had a company formation and went to the chow line, after which our company drilled a little and put the finishing touches on camp. All of a sudden we were on a forced company march of one or two miles to another part of the field for a monument dedication to Freeman's Battery of Forrest's Artillery. After stirring speeches and an infantry musket volley, the artillery fired off a volley of artillery pieces. We were able to hitch a ride on some ordnance wagons headed back to camp. After a brief rest, we were given warning that a large Confederate cavalry group was nearby. We left camp and formed up and Major Gray marched the company into reserve behind some artillery. However, before we could rest we were needed on the field most quick. Our company and other Federal troops fought bravely but suffered heavily. We only had one case of someone trying to run and the Major had the poor chap dispatched with a shot in the back. This discouraged any of the others who might have been thinking of running. After the battle was over, we returned to camp and licked our wounds and prepared for the unexpected on Sunday.
On Sunday the company awoke to a slightly cool breeze and began camp chores and cooking. Much thanks go to Corporal Mark Waddell, Private Tim Williams, and Private Sonny Box for the outstanding morning meal and to anyone else I may not have mentioned. The Major led our company to church services this AM, a small group of us remained behind at camp to clean muskets and take care of those sore feet. Soon after church services were over, the company was again together taking part in camp duties and personal affairs. Soon our company was alerted that the Secesh had returned. Forrest didn't know it, but we had a surprise for him. The Battalion was formed and our gallant Major was right out in front. We marched up next to our artillery battery and started pouring fire into the dismounted Confederates. Our company set out on the march at the double, leaving the rest of the battalion holding the position near the guns. Well, we ran right into the main part of Forrest's cavalry and we were given orders to surrender as we were heavily outnumbered. As we started surrendering, another group of Federal soldiers came at Forrest from the rear and all hell broke loose. This is where our trap was sprung. However, Forrest, that wiley devil, gave the command to charge both ways and almost all of his command escaped capture. After the battle, we returned to the camp for a much needed rest and prepared for our march back to the Florence-Tuscumbia Area.
|Major Gray in his tent at Parker's Crossroads|