Stephen Decatur Quarles: May 19th, 1843 – March 10th, 1920
Parents: William Hawes and Ruth (Hyder) Quarles
Married: Zarelda M. Jones
Children: Daniel Quarles and Mary Quarles
Married: Mary Ann King
Children: Emily Quarles, Lou Ellen Quarles, Kate Quarles, James Quarles, Ida Lee Quarles, Stephen Brice Quarles
The Battle of Parker’s Cross Roads
The Battle of Parker’s Cross Roads was fought on December 31, 1862, in Henderson County, Tennessee, during the American Civil War.
As Confederate Brig. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest’s expedition into West Tennessee neared its conclusion, Union Brig. Gen. Jeremiah C. Sullivan, with the brigades of Cols. Cyrus L. Dunham and John W. Fuller, attempted to cut Forrest off from withdrawing across the Tennessee River.
Dunham’s and Forrest’s march routes brought them into contact at Parker’s Crossroads on December 31, 1862. Skirmishing began about 9:00 a.m., 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 attack 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, Tennessee.
After the fight, Forrest was able to cross the Tennessee River. Both sides claimed this battle as a victory, but the Confederate claims appear to have more credence.
O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME XVII/1
DECEMBER 15, 1862-JANUARY 3, 1863
Forrest’s Expedition into West Tennessee.
No. 21.–Report of Col. George G. Dibrell, Eighth Tennessee (Confederate) Cavalry,
of operations from December 15, 1862-January 6, 1863.
MOUNT PLEASANT, TENN., January 6, 1863.
In obedience to verbal instructions from General Forrest I herewith submit a report of the action of the Eighth Tennessee Cavalry in his recent expedition into West Tennessee: On December 18 , 1862, we crossed the Tennessee River at Clifton in a large wood flat-boat.
On the 19th [18th] we advanced on Lexington, Tenn., moving at early dawn. Lexington was occupied by Col. [I. R.] Hawkins’ regiment of United States cavalry, with pickets at Beech River, 6 miles out. The enemy attempted to destroy the bridge at Beech River, but were driven back by the Fourth Alabama, which was in advance and charged into Lexington. The Eighth Tennessee was ordered to the front and to press them into Jackson, which they did, arriving in the suburbs, a distance of 40 miles, soon after dark. About 10 o’clock at night the Eighth Tennessee moved around to the north of Jackson for the purpose of capturing Carroll Station, destroying the railroad track, and preventing re-enforcements coming into Jackson. We had much trouble in securing guides, but reached the vicinity just in time to fire a volley into a passing train on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, and then with a yell charged the stockade, which was promptly surrendered with 101 prisoners, a large amount of ammunition, stores, tents, &c. The Eighth was armed in part with 400 flint-lock muskets. We took all of the arms of the enemy, stacked such as we could not carry off in the stockade with a large number of our flint-locks and burned the stockade and all together; and after tearing up the Mobile and Ohio Railroad track for a considerable distance marched back and joined the main command near Spring Creek.
On the 21st [20th] General Forrest ordered the Eighth Tennessee and one piece of artillery, under Captain Morton, to destroy the stockade and bridge at Forked Deer River, but we were repulsed by a large infantry force that moved out on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, losing several men killed and wounded. We participated in the divide of the large amount of supplies captured by the general at Trenton, and there finished equipping the regiment with good guns, clothing, &c. We also destroyed a very long trestle and several bridges on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad on the Obion River, and, moving back, was in front on the morning of December 31, when our scouts reported a large infantry force in our front near Parker’s Cross-Roads. We immediately turned our wagon train to the right and moved on to meet the enemy’s advance. A lively skirmish ensued, when Freeman’s battery opened upon them with splendid effect, and they retreated back to Parker’s Cross-Roads, where Col. [C. L.] Dunham, U.S. Army, was with a brigade of infantry. We advanced rapidly to the cross-roads, and were ordered by General Forrest to take possession of a hill in a large cotton field, which we did at a double-quick, and then began our first regular battle as cavalry. We had no protection but the top of the hill, while the enemy was sheltered by woods and a fence. They made three efforts to charge us, but the galling fire from our guns and one 12-pounder howitzer, manned by Sergt. Nat. Baxter, of Freeman’s battery, drove them back. They had six pieces of artillery and we but one. The battle raged with great fury until we were joined upon our left by Captain Horton with one gun, supported by Cox’s battalion, and on the right by Colonel Napier’s battalion and Colonel Starnes with his regiment, and General Forrest with Russell’s Fourth Alabama, Biffle’s Ninth [Nineteenth] Tennessee, and [T. G.] Woodward’s Kentucky battalion got in their rear, and then they fled in confusion, leaving all their dead and wounded and six pieces of artillery in our possession. The enemy retreated into the timber and halted to reform. We had about 300 prisoners, and while we were parlying about a surrender the enemy was re-enforced by General Sullivan with another brigade of infantry, which was firing upon our horse-holders before we were aware of his approach. General Forrest then ordered us to retreat, which we did in much confusion, as our horse-holders were demoralized and many men were captured in trying to get their horses. We retreated through the large cotton field between a fire from the re-enforcements and the brigade we had just driven back. In this battle the regiment lost 4 killed, 27 wounded, and 122 captured also lost 130 horses. Early in the morning of January 1, 1863, we were met by Col. [William K. M.] Breckenridge’s regiment United States cavalry, who was between us and the Tennessee River. After skirmishing a few minutes we charged and routed them, killing and capturing 15 or 20 of them. We then marched to the Tennessee River, found our wood boats, left in charge of Capt. [J. M.] Barnes, [Company H], and Lieutenant-Colonel [F. H.] Daugherty, of the Eighth [Tennessee], all safe, and we crossed the Tennessee River, the forces under General [Jeremiah C.] Sullivan, appearing on the opposite bank on the 3d. Our total loss during the expedition was 8 killed, 35 wounded, and 130 captured or missing.
G. G. DIBRELL,
Colonel Eighth Tennessee Cavalry
Maj. J.P. STRANGE,
The Battle of Arkansas Post
STEPPING STONE TO VICKSBURG
BY SAM SMITH
“The Battle of Arkansas Post, also known as the Battle of Fort Hindman, was a combined land-river assault by Union forces on the Confederate Fort Hindman, which loomed over a bend in the Arkansas River near the town of Arkansas Post. As the Union advance down the Mississippi River passed the mouth of the Arkansas, the presence of Fort Hindman outflanked the Federal forward positions.
Confederate ships used the Fort as a base to launch vexing raids on Northern shipping, culminating in the embarrassing capture of the Blue Wing, a supply ship laden with munitions meant for general William T. Sherman’s command. To intensify the problem, throughout the final months of 1862 rumors abounded that a powerful new ironclad was being built at Little Rock.
In the midst of organizing for an attack on Vicksburg, Mississippi, Union commanders decided to deal with the threat in their rear in the first week of 1863. River gunboats pounded the fort as the infantry made a slogging assault overland. Outnumbered and outgunned, nearly 5,000 Confederates, approximately one-fourth of the Confederate force in Arkansas, surrendered on January 11, 1863. This was a catastrophic capture, not to be equaled west of the Mississippi River until general Edmund Kirby Smith surrendered the remainder of the department, some 20,000 men, on June 2, 1865 in Galveston, Texas.
General William T. Sherman had met a bloody repulse at the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou in December, 1862, and was temporarily relieved of his command. He was superseded by general John McClernand, a political officer who was almost universally despised in regular Army circles. Sherman later called the replacement “the severest test of my patriotism.”
McClernand was under orders from Ulysses S. Grant to push down the Mississippi and open an assault on the river fortress of Vicksburg. An attack on Fort Hindman was not part of his purview. Nevertheless, he grew enthusiastic about the idea after Sherman recommended such a move, allocating 10,000 men to an expedition and requesting gunboat support from fleet commander David D. Porter. Porter, however, loathed McClernand and refused to provide support unless Sherman led the infantry assault himself. Additionally, Porter insisted on personal command of the support flotilla. Thus a 10,000-man operation became a 33,000-man operation, supported by fifty transports and nine gunboats (Baron DeKalb, Cincinnati, Louisville, Glide, Rattler, Black Hawk, Lexington, Monarch, and New Era) and the whole affair personally planned and led by the three top commanders in the theater.
The defense of Arkansas Post fell to Confederate general Thomas Churchill, a talented commander who had directed a devastating flank attack at the Battle of Richmond, Kentucky the year before. He now led a force of some 5,000 men, mostly dismounted Texas cavalry. Fort Hindman was strongly built, and Churchill further augmented the defenses with rifle pits and trenches on land and log pilings and range targets in the river.
The Union flotilla steamed into staging areas a few miles away from the fort on the evening of January 9. The gargantuan attacking force finally completed its debarkation the next morning under the eyes of Churchill’s scouts. The size of the Union expedition was most unexpected. Upon receiving the report, Churchill urgently wired theater commander Theophilus Holmes to ask for instructions. Holmes wired back “to hold out until help arrived or until all were dead.”
Holmes’s order was strange, considering he made no provision to reinforce Churchill’s garrison. When the Union attack got underway on January 10, Churchill and his eleven regiments were facing very long odds.
From rifle pits cut into the slopes of Coines’s Hill, Confederate vedettes could see the sinuous Union assault columns winding their way along the riverbank. In the river, ironclads belched steam as they moved on the infantry’s flank. Huge gunboat shells began to howl into the trenches as the Navy laid down a punishing cover fire for the deploying infantry. Outflanked on the water, the Confederates retreated through the mud back towards the fort as the Union lines began to slog up the hill.
McClernand, relying on reports relayed to him from a private soldier who had climbed a tall tree, soon sent word to Porter that the infantry assault was in place. The tree-climber, however, had failed to notice that half of the army, Sherman’s corps, was caught in the mire and well behind schedule.
The gunboats went in alone, dashing to within 400 yards of the fort and opening a furious cannonade. The Rattler, a tinclad, crashed aground in Churchill’s log piles and was torn apart by the Confederate guns. The other Union ships also took a bruising, although Porter claimed that many shells were deflected by tallow that the sailors had rubbed over their ships’ hulls before the fight. After a firefight lasting several hours, Porter’s ships withdrew. There was no further infantry attack that day, but Fort Hindman’s walls were crumbling after sustaining hundreds of blows from the Union naval guns, which fired shells ranging from 30-105 pounds.
The Union force renewed the assault shortly after noon on January 11. The Confederate infantry put up a stubborn fight and drove the attackers to ground with musketry as they tried to advance across scrubby cleared fields. But Fort Hindman itself could no longer withstand the naval bombardment. Walls tumbled down and, one by one, guns flickered out of action. Their passage no longer hindered, the gunboats steamed past the ruins and trained their guns on the Confederate trenches. The first white flag came up at 4 P.M., hoisted by men of Colonel John Garland’s brigade on the Confederate left flank.
The end of the battle came with some confusion. Porter himself was the first to climb into a hole in the fort’s wall and secured the surrender of Colonel John Dunnington, the officer in charge of the fort’s artillery. Out in the scrubby field, Sherman found General Churchill and demanded his surrender. At that moment Colonel Garland approached, and Churchill began to angrily reprimand him for surrendering without orders. Garland hotly protested that he had been ordered to surrender, presumably by a member of Churchill’s staff. Colonel James Deshler, commanding the Confederate right flank, then arrived and proclaimed that he had not surrendered at all and would continue the fight. He acquiesced when Sherman, in some irritation, pointed out that his men were already in the process of disarming Deshler’s troopers.
By the end of the day, more than 4,700 Confederates were captured. Even though the Southern infantry fought well, inflicting more than a thousand casualties while suffering approximately seven hundred, there could only be scant defense against the combined-arms tactics that the Union Army and Navy had employed at Fort Henry, Fort Donelson, and Island Number Ten in the months before the battle for Fort Hindman.
With the fort razed and the Arkansas River open, McClernand ordered a raid on Little Rock to commence before nightfall. Fort Hindman had represented the only real challenge to the Union naval power on the river. The rumors of the Little Rock ironclad were false. The Confederate fleet on the river was burned to prevent its capture.
Despite the success of the operation, Grant was exasperated by the loss of time, resources, and men on a maneuver that contradicted his orders. The immensely self-serving after-action reports submitted by McClernand and Porter (each of whom barely mentioned the other’s contributions) were also stirring up fresh enmity in the army’s high command. On January 30, 1863, Grant steamed down from Memphis, Tennessee to replace McClernand as chief general in the field. By securing the Union right flank and inducing Grant to take personal command, the Battle of Arkansas Post marked a turning point in the campaign for Vicksburg. “
Prisoner of War at Camp Butler, IL.
- Stephen D. Quarles, a confederate veteran, and one of the best known citizens of Putnam Co., died Wednesday night of influenza at his home in the nineteenth civil district of this county. He was about seventy six years old and had spent his entire life in Putnam Co. He was an unusually intelligent and well informed man of the highest integrity and most gentlemanly bearing. He served with great gallantry as a Confederate soldier throughout the Civil War. He was twice married and is survived by his last wife and by several grown children. He was a twin brother of J. L. Quarles, a well known citizen and business man of Sparta, who survives him. He was a son of William H. Quarles and a grandson of Major William P. Quarles, an officer of the Revolutionary army, who immigrated to this county from Virgina in the early settlement of this country and located at White Plains, where one of his descendants Esq. C. H. Huddleston now lives. Both father and grandfather of the deceased were among the most prominent and actives leaders in the pioneer history of this section of the state. One of his fathers sisters was the wife of Col. Adam Huntsman, a distinguished lawyer of his day who defeated David Crockett in a memorable rase for congress. Another of his fathers brothers was Judge James T. Quarles, one of the ablest lawyers of this section of the state ever produced. Stephen D. Quarles, until impaired health forced his retirement from active life, was for forty years prominently identified with public affairs of Putnam Co.. He was a good citizen and a man of the kindliest instincts. His remains were interred Thursday afternoon at the Quarles family cemetery at White Plains where his ancestors and many kindred sleep.