Lieutenant Parker's life at sea began
as a mere boy, serving aboard a United States Frigate off the coast of
Africa and touring around the world. Clearly a man of some intellect and
judgement, he was posted to the United States Naval Academy, but resigned
his commission at the outbreak of the Civil War. Offering his services
to the State of Virginia, he was commissioned and distinguished himself
in several important engagements.
"After several months' shore duty,
First Lieutenant Parker was sent to Charleston, S.C., where he was Executive
Officer of the ironclad Palmetto State and participated in her attack
on Union blockaders in January 1863. In October 1863, he became Superintendent
of the Confederate Naval Academy, based on board CSS Patrick Henry
in the James River, Virginia. He also commanded the ironclad Richmond.
In April 1863, as the Confederate Capital at Richmond, Virginia, was evacuated,
he led the Naval Academy's Midshipmen as a guard for their failing Government's
archives and treasury.
Comparatively little has been written
about the Confederate Navy. Lt. Parker's Recollections stands out
as a most interesting and readable account, especially with regard to the
development and service of the iron-clad "Monitors" in the war.