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W.S. Parran

W.S. Parran

Confederate (CSV)

Assistant Surgeon

William Sellman Parran

(1834 - 1862)

Home State: Virginia

Command Billet: Battalion Surgeon

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: Ewell's Division Artillery

Before Sharpsburg

From a family of doctors in what's now West Virginia, he enrolled in 1852 at the Virginia Military Institute, but was only there a short time. He did not graduate, but returned to (West) Virginia to study medicine with an uncle. He did graduate from the Baltimore Medical College (now University of Maryland) in 1857, and began to practice in Barbourville, Orange County, Virgina soon after.

In 1859 he organized and was elected Captain of a battery of militia artillery. In April 1861 he took his battery to Harpers Ferry to join other units organizing there. He was mustered into service there on 17 April as Captain, Company F of the 13th Virginia Infantry. He was ill with jaundice from December 1861, and resigned his commission - dropped from the muster roll of the 13th Infantry in April 1862. He recovered sufficiently to return to service some time prior to the Maryland Campaign, as Assistant Surgeon in Courtney's Battalion of artillery.

On the Campaign

He was on the field at Sharpsburg while most of his unit remained at Harpers Ferry. He was killed while serving as a volunteer gunner with an undermanned battery of the Washington Artillery (possibly Miller's, on the Piper Farm).

References & notes

Biographical information from a sketch in Walker1, with details from Riggs2. Both are supported by Frassanito3, who also published a photograph of Dr Parran, part of which is used here. The original ambrotype, c. 1860, is in the collection of the Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond.

Some of his "correspondence, medical accounts, military orders and reports" are in the Campbell Family Papers (Mss. 39.1 C16) at the Swem Library, College of William & Mary, Williamsburg.

Walker's bio says Parran was at the USMA at West Point after VMI, but there is no mention of him in the Official Register of Officers and Cadets for any of the years 1852-56.


06/08/1834; Hardy County, VA


09/17/1862; Sharpsburg, MD


1   Walker, Charles D., Biographical Sketches of the Graduates and Eleves of the Virginia Military Institute Who Fell During the War Between the States, Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Company, 1875, pp. 420-421  [AotW citation 1219]

2   Riggs, David F., 13th Virginia Infantry, Lynchburg (VA): H.E. Howard, Inc., 1988, pp. 25, 133  [AotW citation 1220]

3   Frassanito, William A., Antietam: The Photographic Legacy of America's Bloodiest Day, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1978, pp. 211-214  [AotW citation 1221]