The Wandering Rebel

Tennessee Wanderings
Pa
rker's Crossroads

On the last day of 1862, Nathan Bedford Forrest met 2 Union armies in what was supposed to be a surprise attack on Forrest. The attack was not coordinated and Forrest had found out about the surprise. Placing the 4th Alabama Cavalry on the mound shown above and his canon on the sunken road just in front, Forrest waited until the 1st Union army was completely exposed and opened fire. By early afternoon the 1st Army was ready to surrender. As Forrest was  trying to start talks for their surrender, the 2nd Union Army attacked from behind. Forrest's units were caught in-between. When Forrest was informed that the situation was hopeless, that he was surrounded, he responded, "We'll attack them both ways." Forrest was able to save the day and get the majority of his forces out.

A handful of young cavalrymen, who were sent to water the horses at a well at Jones Cemetery were captured. These were sent to Camp Douglas, in Chicago. Among those sent was a young Private, named William Lang, of Russell's 4th Ala Cavalry. He had married on September 2, 1862 and left to join the 4th Ala on Sept. 3, leaving his wife behind. They would not see each other until June of 1865. His father, Robert Steven Lang, was killed at Shiloh on April 6, his father-in-law, Allen Y. Williams, in the spring of 1862 with the 3 Tennessee Cavalry, and one of his older brothers, John S. Lang, in June at Aberdeen, Mississippi. 
 

 
1. 2. 3. 4 5.  6.
           
7. 8. 9.  10. 11. 12.
           
13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18.
           
19. 20.     A. B.
 
   
1. Parker's Crossroads National Battlefield Visitors Center
2. The sunken road seen from the position of the position of the 4th Ala Cavalry       
3. A Panorama showing the starting position of the 4th Ala Cavalry. From this position, Forrest launched his attack, putting the Union 50th Ind. Infantry, the 18th Ill. Mounted Infantry, and the 7th Wisconsin Artillery Battery on the defensive. Quickly 3 of the Union cannon were disabled.
4 & 5. Location of Freeman's Battery, Forrest's Artillery. General Forrest remained with this unit throughout the day, during an artillery duel which dismounted one of the Federal guns.
6. Rev. Dr. John Parker's home was within this fence, notice the canon just on the other side. Dunham's Union troops being pressed on 3 sides retreated to a point near here and cannon were placed in the yard. When Union cannon were placed this close to his house Dr. Parker tried to get the officers to move them.
7 & 8. Gravestones for Dr. and Mrs. Parker. Notice that the stones are turned different from all the others. Dr. Parker had been a Unionist at the start of the war, but, because of the Union commander's refusal to move the cannon in his yard he switched his allegiance to the Confederacy. His death-bed wish was " to be buried with my feet to the north - my head to the south, so that when the angel Gabriel sounded his trumpet, I can rise and kick the Yankees back North!"
9, 10 & 11. During the battle the Union supply wagon train was south of the crossroads and had to be moved 3 times to protect it from Confederate shelling. The train was guarded by one company each from the 122nd Illinois and 39th Iowa. The last position was here, where the 4th Ala., dis-mounted took the train. The Union units now lacking the reserves of powder and shot, could not continue the battle and were at the point of surrender.
12 & 13. Yes, the barrel is that long. This cannon is at Red Mound., named for Red Mountain, N. C., this is the western edge of the Battle of Parker's Crossroads.
14 to 19. Pictures of the Split-Rail Fence, the last-stand for the 39th Iowa, the 122nd Illinois, the 18th Illinois and the 50th Indiana.; Picture 18 shows the position of the 50th Indiana and the Union Graveyard, most of the bodies were removed later; Picture 14, 15, 16 and17# show the position of the two Illinois Regiments, here the cannon and rifle fire was so strong that many soldiers were killed by splinters from the fence; Picture 19 shows the position of the 39th Iowa and where CSA Lieutenant Colonel Alonzo Napier was mortally wounded while waving his men on from atop the fence here.
20. This is the well at Jones Cemetery. Here Confederate soldiers watered their horses and here may have been where Pvt. William Lang was captured. He would spend the rest of the war in Union POW camps including Camp Douglas, at Chicago.
A. Incoming POW's at Camp Douglas, bottom left is William Lang
B. 1914 Picture of William and Ann Lang with one of their sons and his family; notice the similarity in the cheek bones, eyes and forehead with picture A.
 


 


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