Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Parson’s Battery, 4th U. S. Artillery Co. “H” & “M”: Stones River National Battlefield

The most powerful federal battery on this field armed with four 3” Ordnance rifles and four 12 pdr. Howitzers.  This batter of battle hardened regulars poured charge after charge of canister at less than 100 yards into the oncoming grey ranks – helping stifle attacks on the Round Forest and the Nashville Pike, on the morning and early afternoon of December 31, 1862.  At times the Confederate Infantry were on three sides of the battery but Lt. Charles C. Parsons gave no ground.  During the entire battle Parsons fired more than any battery, 2,299 rounds, and suffered very few casualties due chiefly to the havoc caused by their deadly accurate fire.  Parsons was promoted to the rank of captain for his heroic action at Stones River.

SOURCE: The original interpretive marker at Stones River National Battlefield, pictured at right.

Parson’s Batteries Heavily Engaged

The 200 Regular Army gunners of Batteries H and M set up their eight cannon from here all the way to the Nashville Pike.  For four solid hours at brutal, sort range they fired many hundreds of rounds of munitions into the rebel ranks.  Their steady, punishing barrages helped dishearten their foes and encourage their comrades.

. . . my instructions from General Palmer were to remain in the position where I then was, in order to check the advance of the enemy, should he turn our right [flank].  At about 8 a.m. our infantry came falling back from the pine woods . . . our batteries were swung around and brought at once into action.  The approach of the enemy was parallel . . . to our front, and when he arrived within about 300 yards we opened upon his first line . . . [with] canister . . . the enemy fell back beyond our view.  He reappeared shortly afterward to our left, but again, receiving our fire, he fell back beyond our view . . . At about 12 [noon] just as I had nearly given out of ammunition, I received orders to retire.

Charles Parsons, 1st Lieutenant, commanding battalion, 4th Regiment United States Artillery.

SOURCE: The new interpretive marker at Stones River National Battlefield, pictured at left.

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