Saturday, February 29, 2020

A death at Mill Springs: 'Samuel has gone to his God'

2nd Minnesota Private Samuel M. Parker's grave at Mill Springs (Ky.) National Cemetery.
                             PANORAMA: Mill Springs National Cemetery in Nancy, Ky.
                                    (Click second icon at right for full-screen experience.)

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On a brisk Saturday afternoon, under a cloudless, deep-blue sky, I searched for the gravestone of Private Samuel M. Parker of the 2nd Minnesota at Mill Springs (Ky.) National Cemetery. It didn’t take me long to find it on the beautiful grounds -- once part of the old William Logan farm. Amidst scores of other pearl-white tombstones. Parker’s marker in Section A is weather-worn but readable.

On Jan. 20, 1862, the day after Samuel’s death at the Battle of Mill Springs, his brother Albert wrote their parents back in Minnesota. This letter was reprinted in the Minnesota State News on Feb. 1, 1862.
Dear Parents:
I am weary and lonesome and hardly know what to write to you. We have had a great battle with {General Felix] Zollicoffer's forces, one mile and a half from this camp, but I am safe and well. Ten of our poor boys are killed, and some fifteen or twenty wounded. 
Dear father and mother! How can I tell you -- (but you will hear it before this gets to you) -- Samuel has gone to his God. He now sleep[s] the sleep that knows no waking on this earth, beneath the cold soil of Kentucky. He died charging bravely on the enemy, from a bayonet wound in his left groin, which passed through his kidneys. He died in about fifteen minutes after receiving the thrust. He died calmly and easily, without much pain -- One of the drummer boys offered to call the doctor, but he said, "If you call him he will leave some poor fellow that will die, and it may as well be me, as any one."
When he was laid in his grave, he looked as natural as if asleep.
I cannot write you the particulars of the battle, for I am so lonesome and sad, that I have no mind to do anything. I have a board at the head of his grave, with his name, regiment and company cut on it. 
Oh! Dear father and mother, may God help us to bear up under this our affliction. Good bye, my dear parents. 
From your sorrowing son, Albert
Samuel Parker, one of 55 Union soldiers killed at Mill Springs, was 19. Corporal Albert Parker, who was wounded at Chickamauga on Sept. 19, 1863, survived the war.

    PANORAMA: Probable area (near fence) where Samuel Parker was mortally wounded.
                                          (Click icon at right for full-screen experience.)

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  1. Thanks John, sad letter.

  2. May he Rest In Peace.

  3. Anonymous10:05 AM

    Thank you Mr.Banks for this poignant article. Excellent work, as it is always.