Parker's Crossroads
by John Paul Strain

December 31, 1862

On December 31, 1862, following a highly successful two week raid into the
Federally controlled territory of Western Tennessee, Confederate General Nathan
Bedford Forrest led 2,000 men in surrounding a Federal brigade of 3,000 men at
Parker’s Crossroads. While awaiting their reply to his surrender terms, a member
of his staff dashed up to General Forrest in great distress shouting, “We are
between two lines of battle. What shall we do?”

Due to the failure of his scouts to inform him of the current location of a second
Federal Brigade, with an additional 3,000 troops, he found himself encircled. With
cool judgment and prompt action, General Forrest replied, “We’ll charge them
both ways.” The Confederates did charge in both directions, which resulted in
confusing the Federals and forcing both Federal Brigades to take up defensive
positions, thereby allowing General Forrest and his troops time to depart the area
and return safely to their territory.

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