Forrest placed the burden of the battle at Parker's Crossroads on his artillery, planning to win the battle with his cannoneers. His effective use of artillery allowed the Confederates to dominate the first two-thirds of the battle.
As the outgunned Federals withdrew from the opening engagement at Hicks' field, 1? miles northwest of this position, Forrest ordered his dismounted troops and artillery east along the road that passed south of the Parker house. Dunham, observing this movement, brought his troops north, to a position parallel to the road.
Forrest formed his line north of and opposite the Union line. He placed his artillery in front of his dismounted troops in an arc stretching from the Lexington-Huntingdon Road to a farm road almost one mile to the east. Captain Samuel Freeman placed sections of his battery on either flank of the Confederate line, just west of the Lexington-Huntingdon Road, atop a low rise to the east, and west of the farm road on the east side of the Union position. Cannon were also placed on a hill in Jones Cemetery.
Lieutenant John Morton's Battery was across the road from where you now stand. As Morton's guns swung into position, Forrest told the young officer, "Give 'em hell." Two Union charges fell back in the face of the punishing artillery fire, which was supported by the low covering fire of the dismounted cavalry. A Confederate advance brought the combatants to within 80 yards of each other. The guns were manhandled into a new position and opened at close range. The deadly fire forced the Union line to the split-rail fence enclosing a wooded area.
Morton's Battery, formed December 27, 1862, consisted of two three-inch steel-rifled 10-pounder Rodmans, which had been captured just two weeks earlier during the engagement at Lexington, and two mountain howitzers commanded by Lieutenant A.W. Gould of Colonel Alonzo Napier's battalion.