IAGenWeb Project

Iowa History

       An IAGenWeb Special Project


Join the IAGenWeb Team




EDITED BY John C. Parish

Associate Editor of the State Historical Society of Iowa

Volume I October 1920 No. 4

Copyright 1920 by the State Historical Society of Iowa

(Transcribed by Gayle Harper)


''Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag"– were fewer in number and their voices were beginning to quaver as they sang. Their blue uniforms which had been the emblem of youth were now the garments of age. In June, 1913, there came to the State Historical Society an envelope containing the manuscript of A Few Martial Memories written out painstakingly in longhand and signed by ''Clint Parkhurst, 16th Iowa Infantry".
There was some- thing almost startling in the fresh vividness of the account coming to light a half century after the event. No letter accompanied the manuscript. The only clue to an address was the postmark on the envelope: "Marshalltown, Iowa". A letter addressed to Mr. Clint Parkhurst at that place brought no re- ply. A friend living in Marshalltown reported no trace of such a person. Sometime afterward a letter written to the Commandant of the Iowa Soldiers' Home at Marshalltown was answered as follows:
"Clinton Parkhurst was admitted to this Home November 15, 1895 and he deserted this Home on August 22, 1913, and we have heard nothing of him since.”

The rest of the mosaic is missing. What did he do in those thirty years between his mustering out in 1865 and his entering the Soldiers’ Home in 1895? They were the prime of his life – from his twenty-first to his fifty-first years. The List of Ex-Soldiers, Sailors and Marines Living in Iowa, published in 1886 by the Adjutant General of the State, does not contain his name. Probably he had moved out of the State. He served throughout the war as a private and perhaps took similar rank in civil life. The chances are that his comings and goings were little noted. Yet we have not had from the pen of any officer on either side any more vivid glimpses of Shiloh than these Few Martial Memories by Clinton Parkhurst.

And then, after eighteen years in the Iowa Soldiers' Home, he “deserted". Somewhere, still, he may be alive, dreaming oftentimes perhaps of the beauty of the Sabbath morning when the long roll stirred the air at Pittsburg Landing, of the calmness of the Tennessee River lying ''like a sheet of glass" between the highlands where the battle was raging, and the opposite shore where "the lowlands were basking in the sunshine that streamed through the fresh foliage of the trees, and blossoms and flowers were plainly discernible." The boy who listened that day to the increasing roar of the conflict and thought of the ringing of the Sabbath morning church bells in his native State would now be seventy-six years old. We hope he is still living and we take this means of thanking him for the opportunity to preserve his impressions of Shiloh.

J. C. P.

back to History Index