Parke (August 14, 1864)

General John G. Parke (Library of Congress).

General John G. Parke (Library of Congress).

With Burnside sent on what would turn out to be a permanent leave, Maj. Gen. John Parke takes command of the IX Corps. Like Meade, Parke was a Philadelphian and a West Point-trained engineer. Here’s what Theodore Lyman had to say about him on August 14, 1864.

. . . General Parke got back from his sick leave and took command of the 9th Corps. He is a very pleasant-looking man and liked apparently by everyone. He has been obliged twice to return to the North by reason of malarial attacks, which is a pity, as he acted usually as adviser to General Burnside and had an excellent effect on him. He cured himself twice of malarial fever by accidentally taking an overdose of medicine. The last time, he had been told to take one pill, containing something very strong; but made a mistake and took four. After which he was somewhat surprised to find his face making a great many involuntary grimaces, and his body feeling uncommonly uncomfortable. However, next day he was all well, and the doctor told him it was a good dose to take, provided it did not unfortunately happen to kill him. Captain Fay took out the cits to-day, in an ambulance, and showed them the lines. After which the youth Falls was seized with a noble ambition to ride on horseback in company of Captain Guzman. Being provided with a hard trotter, he came near tumbling off, at the first start, and was obliged to change horses and perform the rest of the journey at a mild pace.

Theodore Lyman’s letter is from Meade’s Headquarters, 1863-1865: Letters of Colonel Theodore Lyman from the Wilderness to Appomattox, pp. 213-14. Edited by George R. Agassiz. Boston, Massachusetts Historical Society, 1922. Available via Google Books.

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