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W.A. Parham

W.A. Parham

Confederate (CSV)


William Allen Parham

(c. 1824 - 1866)

Home State: Virginia

Command Billet: Commanding Brigade

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: Mahone's (Parham's) Brigade

Before Sharpsburg

In 1860 he was a 36 year old farmer in Sussex County, VA, living next door to his father's place - the largest in the area. He enrolled as First Lieutenant of Company A, 41st Virginia Infantry on 24 May 1861 at Sussex Court House, VA. He was promoted to Captain on 1 May 1862 and detailed as Provost Marshal in Richmond. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel to date from 3 May 1862 and was seriously wounded at Malvern Hill, VA on 1 July 1862. He returned to duty in August and was promoted to Colonel on 20 September (dated from 25 July). He was "known to be a glorious, brave man, a good fellow and the best curser when he chose."

On the Campaign

He was in command of Brigadier General William Mahone's small brigade in Maryland in September 1862 because Mahone had been wounded at Second Manassas in August. General Stuart described Parham's role at Crampton's Gap on South Mountain on 14 September in his official report:

Colonel Parham, commanding Mahone's brigade, soon after arrived with the Sixth and Twelfth Virginia Infantry, scarcely numbering in all 300 men, and this small force for at least three hours maintained their position and held the enemy in check without assistance of any description from General Semmes, who (Colonel Munford reports) held the next gap below and witnessed all that took place. General Cobb finally came with two regiments to the support of the force holding the gap. At his request Colonel Munford posted the new regiment, when the infantry which had been engaged, having exhausted their ammunition, fell back from their position. The enemy took advantage of this circumstance and suddenly advanced, and the fresh regiments broke before they were well in position. General Cobb made great efforts to rally them, but without the least effect, and it was evident that the gap could no longer be held ...
He commanded the tiny remains of the brigade - as few as 82 men - at Sharpsburg on 17 September 1862, as a consolidated unit attached to Pryor's Brigade, and was probably at least slightly wounded there.

The rest of the War

Parham still suffered from his July 1862 wounding at Malvern Hill but continued in command of his Regiment at the battles of Chancellorsville (April 1863) where, according to General Mahone (OR), he 'was everywhere, though less arduous, well and bravely performed', Gettysburg (July), Bristoe Station (October), and Mine Run (December). He was still listed in command as of August 1864, but was assigned "light" duties as Provost Marshall at Richmond in October and as commandant of a post at Hicksford, VA on 30 November. He was retired to the Invalid Corps in March 1865 and surrendered at Raleigh, NC on 29 May 1865.

After the War

He was at his wife's family home in Warrenton, NC when he died in July 1866, reportedly from effects of his wounds at Malvern Hill.

References & notes

Quotes above from Tim Reese in High Water Mark: The 1862 Maryland Campaign in Strategic Perspective Baltimore, Butternut and Blue, 2004, referencing the ORs.1 Service and other details from Henderson2 and Allardice,3 who has his birth in about 1830. Personal details from family genealogists and the US Census of 1860. His picture from a photograph of unknown provenance which accompanied the sale of his uniform coat by Old South Antiques in December 2010.

He married Hannah Jones Turnbull (1828-1900) in August 1850 and they had 4 children by 1860.


c. 1824 in VA


07/02/1866; Warrenton, NC


1   US War Department, The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (OR), 128 vols., Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1880-1901  [AotW citation 27598]

2   Henderson, William D., 41st Virginia Infantry, Lynchburg (Va): H. E. Howard Company, 1986  [AotW citation 27599]

3   Allardice, Bruce S., Confederate Colonels, Columbia (Mo): University of Missouri Press, 2008, pg. 298  [AotW citation 27601]