Parker's Cross Roads, TN

Date(s): December 31, 1862

Location: Please click on link below for map.

Parkers Cross Roads [Parker Crossroads], Henderson, Tennessee, United States

Campaign(s): Forrest’s Expedition into West Tennessee [1862-63]

Campaign(s): Forrest's Expedition into West Tennessee [December 1862-January 1863]

Battles in Campaign:



  • Union: Brig. Gen. Jeremiah C. Sullivan

  • Confederate: Brig. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest

Principal Forces:

  • Union: Two brigades (approx. 3,000 men)

  • Confederate: expeditionary brigade


  • As Brig. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest’s expedition into West Tennessee neared its conclusion, Union Brig. Gen. Jeremiah C. Sullivan, with the brigades of Col. Cyrus L. Dunham and Col. John W. Fuller, attempted to cut Forrest off from withdrawing across the Tennessee River. 

  • Dunham’s and Forrest’s march routes, on December 31, 1862, brought them into contact at Parker’s Cross Roads. Skirmishing began about 9:00 am, with Forrest taking an initial position along a wooded ridge northwest of Dunham at the intersection.

  • Confederate artillery gained an early advantage. Dunham pulled his brigade back a half mile and redeployed, facing north. 

  • His Federals repelled frontal feints until attacked on both flanks and rear by Forrest’s mounted and dismounted troops. During a lull, Forrest sent Dunham a demand for an unconditional surrender.

  • Dunham refused and was preparing for Forrest’s next onset when Fuller’s Union brigade arrived from the north and surprised the Confederates with an attack on their rear; Confederate security detachments had failed to warn of Fuller’s approach. “Charge ’em both ways,” ordered Forrest.

  • The Confederates briefly reversed front, repelled Fuller, then rushed past Dunham’s demoralized force and withdrew south to Lexington and then across the Tennessee River.

Slide Presentation2:

Photo Gallery:3

The Battle of Parker's Crossroads

The Battle of Parker's Crossroads - Visitor Center

The Battle of Parker's Crossroads - Visitor Center

Model of the battle

Model of the battle

Model of the battle

Battlefield Map with Tour Stops

Withdrawal from Split-rail Fence

Split-rail Fence

Three Desperate Charges

Union Cemetery

Forrest's Artillery

Enfilading the Lane

Desperate Fighting

"The General Demands Unconditional Surrender"

The Lexington-Huntingdon Road

A Very Successful Campaign


Classification4: C


  • Union: 237

  • Confederate: 500

Results: Confederate Victory

Battlefield Website:

Lodging and Restaurants: Tennessee Tourism

Recommended Resources:

1 National Park Service summary.

2 Slide Presentations Click on link to view as web-based slide show.

3 Please click on the image to enlarge it. You may copy the images if you include the following note and link with each image: "Courtesy of"

4 Classification:

  • A - having a decisive influence on a campaign and a direct impact on the course of the war

  • B - having a direct and decisive influence on their campaign

  • C - having observable influence on the outcome of a campaign

  • D - having a limited influence on the outcome of their campaign or operation but achieving or affecting important local objectives

5 Casualties are someone killed, injured, wounded, captured or missing.

Revised 03/08/2013