Captain John W. Morton, Jr.
The Confederacy's Youngest
Captain of Artillery
Morton's Battery fought near here
December 31, 1862
in the Battle of
Parker's Crossroads, TN.
with Two Mountain Howitzers
and Two 3" Steel Rifled
December 27, 1862 — May 9, 1865
Porter's Battery was captured at Fort Donelson, TN and imprisoned at Johnson Island., Ohio. After being exchanged, Lieutenant John Watson Morton, Jr. and ten of his men were assigned to General Nathan Bedford Forrest's Artillery. Captain Samuel L. Freeman commanded Forrest's Artillery and was acquainted with Lieutenant Morton, who was a personal friend of long standing. Freeman loaned Morton two cannon and sufficient men to man the pieces so Morton could accompany Forrest on his West Tennessee Raid, in December of 1862. On December 18, 1862, Forrest's command captured two three-inch steel-rifled Rodman guns made by Singer-Nimick Company of Pittsburgh, PA, fully equipped from the 14th Indiana Battery. These pieces were given into Morton's possession, enabling him to return to Captain Freeman the two which had been loaned. These two captured cannon became the famous "bull pups," of Forrest's Artillery. Three other cannon were also captured during the raid of 1862. Napier's Battalion, which had joined General Forrest shortly after the Battle of Trenton, TN, contained two mountain howitzers, commanded by Lieutenant A.W. Gould. These were consolidated with Morton's guns at Dresden, TN, December 27, 1862, forming the battery known thereafter as Morton's Battery, with John W. Morton Jr., Captain; A.W. Gould, 1st Lieutenant, and T. Sanders Sale, 2nd Lieutenant. The battery numbered sixty-three non-commissioned officers and men.
Morton's Battery served at Parker's Crossroads on December 31, 1862. The artillery was placed at close range and ordered by Forrest to "Give 'em Hell." During the battle, one of the Confederate guns exploded. While the U.S. forces were surrendering, Forrest's was surprised by the brigade of Colonel John W. Fuller under the command of Brigadier General Jeremiah Sullivan. What looked like victory began to resemble a defeat. Forrest was able to extract most of his command. With the exception of the exploded gun, all the Confederate artillery, including the "bull pups," was safely removed. The three captured pieces were left behind, as their horses had been killed and there was not time to substitute others. Eighteen members of Morton's Battery were captured along with three hundred cavalrymen. Freeman and Morton were conspicuous for their coolness, their intelligent, intrepid management of their guns, and General Forrest attributed the larger part of the loss inflicted that day on the enemy to this and the bravery of their companies. In his official report General Forrest commended the action of his artillery. "Captain Freeman and Lieutenant Morton, of our batteries, with all of their men, deserve especial mention, keeping up, as they did, a constant fire from their pieces, notwithstanding the enemy made every effort at silencing them by shooting down the artillerist at their guns."
After Captain Freeman's death, April 10, 1863, Captain Morton later became General Forrest's Chief of Artillery.
Erected December 27, 2007
Freeman's Battery Forrest's Artillery
Sons of Confederate Veterans