The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 186
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
As for the movements of the center column during the battle, about a
mile south of the Griffin Hills is a low hill (marked "Cannon Hill" in Fig-
ure 3) that overlooks Battle Creek and a large area of the rugged and bro-
ken terrain that lies to the south and west. This hill apparently was a sig-
nificant location during the battle, as a substantial concentration of
military cartridges was found here. It also appears that this hill is where
the Parrott rifle and the Gatling guns were set up and fired during the
early stages of the battle. Several Gatling gun cartridges were found on
the hill, and even though no direct evidence was recovered to prove the
Parrott rifle was fired from this location, it seems likely since this is the on-
ly hill in the immediate area that overlooks the rugged terrain surround-
ing Battle Creek. This may be substantiated in a narrative about the battle
written byJ. W. McKinley who was a soldier under Miles's command:
The following morning the scouts led out pretty early with the cavalry following
after some formality. The cannon was delayed in getting out of Salt Fork breaks
[actually Mulberry Creek], but having succeeded to smoother grounds, we heard
firing in the distance and an aide from the General brought an order for the can-
non to be brought to the front immediately and for the teams to keep up with it
if they could. The soldiers of the guard apportioned themselves to the ten wagons
mounted and the chase began. We reached Battle Creek in a short time. A fight
was in progress some distance to the right but the range was too far to do any hurt.
The big cannon was run onto a low mound, unlimbered, and fired perhaps six or
The area from the Griffin Hills south to this low hill is relatively smooth
and could be accessed with wheeled artillery. McKinley's statement that
they reached Battle Creek in a short time suggests that the artillery was
not encumbered by rough terrain. West or south of this hill, the terrain
becomes very rugged and would be extremely difficult to maneuver with
artillery, though not impossible. In fact, as the battle progressed, the ar-
tillery was maneuvered all the way to Red River and into Tule Canyon.
Other evidence suggesting that this is the hill from which the Parrott
rifle may have been fired can be found in examining the distribution of
the Parrott shell impacts that were identified during the investigations.
The Parrott rifle was a small cannon that fired a ten-pound shell that
measured 8.5 inches long by 3 inches in diameter. The shell exploded
upon impact and the shell casing became the shrapnel. The maximum
range of the ten-pounder Parrott rifle, at five degrees elevation, is about
two thousand yards, or slightly more than a mile. During the investiga-
tions, nine locations were identified where Parrott shells had impacted
and exploded. The nine locations were plotted on a map (Figure 4), and
"J W. McKinley, Narratzve (n.p., n.d.; manuscript on file at the Panhandle-Plains Histoncal Mu-
seum, Canyon, Tex.).
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003, periodical, 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/m1/238/: accessed October 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.