EDITED BY John C. Parish
Associate Editor of the State Historical Society of Iowa
Copyright 1920 by the State Historical Society of Iowa
(Transcribed by Gayle Harper)
COMMENTS by the EDITOR
''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.