“Death Were No Terror to His Soul”: Major Edward G. Park of the 35th Massachusetts



in Book Excerpts

In 1865, grieving father John C. Park produced a short, loving privately printed 41 page tribute to his son, Major Edward G. Park of the 35th Massachusetts.  The elder Park led off the book with the following dedication:


These Pages are Dedicated

                                        BY HIS FATHER.”



Edward G. Park received what he thought was a flesh wound at the Siege of Petersburg, July 1, 1864.

Let’s start with the end, or more specifically, Park’s end, before we cover his service in the Civil War. Park served with the 35th from its formation in August 1862 to his final wounding at the Siege of Petersburg on July 1, 1864.  Park’s last days were recounted in the 35th Massachusetts’ 1884 regimental history:

“Our greatest loss here [in the early stages of the Siege of Petersburg] was in our commanding officer — Captain Edward G. Park — on the first day of July. The woods had become so thinned by cutting in our front that in the afternoon, when the western sun shone in brightly, our regimental headquarters were quite visible to the sharpshooters in the Confederate lines; but all had become so accustomed to the place that the stray bullets were little noticed, except to point a jest when any one was startled by the sudden hiss of a passing ball. The captain was hit by one of these shots, while close to headquarters, at this favorite hour for sharpshooting, near the spot where Knight had been struck a few days before. His exclamation called several to him, who assisted him to his camp bed, upon which he reclined with expressions of intense pain. His-coat was removed, and it was found that a minie-ball had struck the elbow and passed under the muscles of the right forearm, some six inches, where it could be plainly distinguished. The group about him tried to make light of the affair to the captain in our jocular way, calling it a furlough, and congratulating him upon his good luck. In truth those present envied him the wound. An ambulance was brought and the captain was transferred to it, and left for the field hospital — as we suppose for a brief excursion home — after his wound was dressed; but it was his last parting from the regiment he loved so well. He received the furlough as suggested, but, owing to the debilitated state of his system from the campaign in Mississippi and the current year, the flesh refused to heal, gangrene set in, and he died at his home in Roxbury, August 14, 1864. His father writes: “Without opening his eyes, and in a voice clear as a clarion, he broke the solemn stillness of that beautiful Sabbath morning by the command, ‘Stack Arms!’ ” then sank into the sleep of death; the march of life for him was ended.”1

A. P, Hill's Light Division launched a devastating flank attack against the Ninth Corps, including Ned Park's 35th Massachusetts.

A. P, Hill’s Light Division launched a devastating flank attack against the Ninth Corps, including Ned Park’s 35th Massachusetts, at the Battle of Antietam.

Park was sorely missed by the 35th Massachusetts.  He had served long and well despite wounds and debilitating sickness on several occasions, and was loved by the men.  Park, born in March 1835, was 27 years old when he was appointed 1st Lieutenant in Company K, 35th Massachusetts during its formation in August 1862.  Captain William S. King, later Colonel of the 4th Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, was the first leader of Company K.  The 35th Massachusetts was soon assigned to duty with Ambrose Burnside’s Ninth Corps, and was present at the Battle of Antietam less than a month later.  Captain King, Lieutenant Park, and the rest of the 35th Massachusetts found themselves in a hellish baptism of fire, caught up in A. P. Hill’s famous flank attack to close out the battle and stop Burnside’s attack dead in its tracks.  Company K alone lost 45 men killed and wounded in the fight, and Lieutenant Park suffered a serious wound when a minie ball shattered his left forearm.

The younger Park was sent home to his father’s house to recuperate after the battle, sending all visitors away except for the friends and relatives of the men from his beloved Company K.  He comforted those who had lost someone in the vicious fighting at Antietam.  Park rested up, but he never did recover the use of his left hand.  Soon the war called again.  Lt. Park received word from the front, now located at Fredericksburg, Virginia after the December 1862 battle, that his regiment was lacking in officers and needed all the help they could get.  Disregarding his doctor’s advice, Park left for the regiment in early 1863. His return is vividly captured in a letter home from Private Henry Card of Company K:

“Camp Near Falmouth, Jan. 30, 1863. . . . Last night I sat in my tent eating some crackers soaked in my coffee, (which is very hearty !) when I heard some one sing out, “Halloo, halloo, Company K!” One of the boys asked him, ” Who he was,” as we had just got our coffee, and were all in our tents, and did not want to get fooled by some one playing a joke on us. “Well,” he says, “come out and see.” I knew the voice in a minute, and out I jumped. It was Lieut. Park’s boy. He said the lieutenant was down the road a little ways, and wanted some one to come down, and help him up with his load. Well, I didn’t wait for any thing, but gave one of my shouts, and off I went like a deer. My shoes were untied, and the snow and mud were very deep; so I had to stop and fix them, — that gave the other boys a chance to get ahead of me. Well, I got my shoes fixed, and off I started. again pell-mell through the mud and snow, sometimes over my shoes; but it wouldn’t do to let any one go ahead of me. So I put in to be the first, and / was the Jirst one of the camp that did meet him; and you had better believe I was glad to see him!

I relieved him of his bag; and the others took the box, and back to camp we went. The boys were out of their little tents, and gave him three rousing cheers and a Tigar-r-r. There was some excitement for a while! He staid with Capt. G. last night in good comfortable quarters. He is looking very “gay.”. . . Yours,

Henry M. Card.2

Before the spring campaign season began, Burnside’s Ninth Corps was sent off to Kentucky and the Western Theater.  Park, anxious to stay with his beloved Company K, actually declined a promotion to Captain when he was to be assigned to another company:

“About this time, promotion was offered to Lieut. Park. But being desirous to have more experience, before assuming heavier responsibilities, and finding, too, that a captaincy would separate him from the warm hearts of his Roxbury boys, and place him in command of another company, he asked that his nomination might be deferred. What impression such a course made upon his comrades may be gathered from a paragraph which is copied from the “Norfolk County Journal,” dated April 4, 1863.

Lieut. Park Declines Promotion Rather Than Leave His Company. — Sergeant W. H. Allen, of Company K, Thirty – fifth Massachusetts Regiment, in a letter to his family in this city, dated March 26, says : —

“An incident in connection with promotion occurred day before yesterday which I think worth more than a passing notice. It seems that Capt. Dolan, of Company D, requested a discharge, which was granted; and he left yesterday. This caused a vacancy; and a captain’s commission, with the command of Company B, was by Col. Carruth offered and urged upon Lieut. Park, who is the senior first lieutenant of the regiment. But Lieut. Park respectfully yet firmly declined, on the ground of his attachment to Company K, his intimate acquaintance with the men, the disadvantage under which they have so long labored from the absence of their own officers, and his assurance, made to them when the company was being enlisted, that he would stick by them as long as he possibly could, consistently with their mutual interests. Now, I think this evinces a noble trait in his character, and I honor him for it; and, should the disability of Capt. Hood prove permanent, or he be transferred to another company, I doubt not Lieut. Park will be rewarded by the command of his own company, to which he is bound by so many ties of association.”

We are sure all our community will agree with Sergeant Allen in his estimate of Lieut. Park’s magnanimous conduct, and will join with him in the hope that it may find the reward he indicates.” 3

Ambrose Burnside's Ninth Corps, the 35th Massachusetts included, were nomads during the Civil War.  They participated in the Siege of Vicksburg in mid-1863.

Ambrose Burnside’s Ninth Corps, the 35th Massachusetts included, were nomads during the Civil War. They participated in the Siege of Vicksburg in mid-1863.

In the end, though, Park was too good an officer not to rise in rank. When the need came, he was appointed Captain of Company A.  The 35th Massachusetts was sent to Vicksburg from Kentucky with the rest of the Ninth Corps.  Once there, they were forced on a long march for water in which many were sun struck, including Captain Park.  He contracted dysentery, was shipped upriver to Cairo, Illinois, then on to Cincinnati, Ohio, and finally home to Massachusetts to recover. Once home, he began to suffer from chronic diarrhea.  Again, despite his doctor’s advice to continue his recovery, Park soon returned to Cincinnati to try to rejoin his regiment.  However, he learned needed a surgeon’s certificate to advance to the front.  Once examined, Captain Park was declared unfit for duty and needed someone to intervene if he wanted to continue his career as a soldier. That someone was none other than now Lt. Col. King, Park’s original company commander, who successfully appealed to Gen. Ambrose Burnside to assign Capt. Park to his post at Lexington, Kentucky. Once there, Park was appointed provost marshal, and even ran the post for 30 days when King took a leave of absence. In 1864 the Ninth Corps was recalled to the Eastern Theater, and would join the Army of the Potomac, first informally, and then permanently, for the remainder of the fighting there.  Edward G. Park’s last days were spent as the commander of the 35th Massachusetts, during which his regiment served as engineers. The 1864 campaigns up until the time of Park’s last wounding are recounted in his father’s privately printed tribute, A Memorial of Major Edward Granville Park, of the 35th Massachusetts Volunteers. The regiment’s time at Petersburg is well covered in itinerary form, pulled from a letter Captain Park wrote to his father from the front only a few days before his fatal wounding:

When the spring of 1864 opened, the Ninth Army Corps was recalled to the seaboard; and as the regulations of the service require, that, when a corps is transferred to a new department, all the officers belonging to it who are acting on special service shall rejoin the Corps, all the officers of the Thirty-fifth [Massachusetts], who were physically able, were called upon to rejoin the regiment.

As soon as Gen. Grant had completed his arrangements, covering the whole area of the contested points throughout the Union, he commenced the advance on Richmond. From the first penetration of the Wilderness, through the bloody fields of Spottsylvania, and the succession of flank movements by which the army gained a position south of Richmond, the Thirty-fifth, as part of the Ninth Army Corps, took part, and were constantly engaged in arduous duties.

The 35th Massachusetts, operating as acting engineers in the early stages of the Siege of Petersburg, were called upon to help create elaborate fortifications.

The 35th Massachusetts, operating as acting engineers in the early stages of the Siege of Petersburg, were called upon to help create elaborate fortifications.

That these services were fully appreciated at headquarters may be gathered from the fact, that, when it became necessary for the major-general to select a regiment to perform the important and arduous duties of engineers, the Thirty-fifth was selected; thus thrown, during much of the advance, ahead of the army, building bridges, cutting roads, &c, under constant fire. The selection was peculiarly complimentary to Capt. Park; since, from the moment at which he rejoined the regiment, he had been placed in its command as senior captain, and remained so until wounded at Petersburg.

Passages from the last letter written by Capt. Park are transcribed: they were never intended for a stranger’s eye, but are worth preservation, partly as giving a glimpse of the inner man, and partly as showing a soldier’s life.

In The Field.

Within one Mile of Petersburg, June 28, 1864.

My Dear Father, — I am in receipt of your favor of the 23d instant, and am glad that my letters have given you pleasure; for you know I would do a great deal to earn your good opinion. My dear father, what would I give to have a few moment’s talk with you! I have here a great deal to contend with, what with sleepless nights, and work, and, last but not least, an officer under me, who is doing every thing in his power, in an underhand way, to make my situation unpleasant.

I shall stand by the regiment as long as Ned Park can stand. I am looking a great deal better in health than when I joined the regiment, but am very thin and weak. Oh, how I wish I had better health just now! Still I will keep up the name of Park, never fear me.

Beside myself and the adjutant, there are four captains,— Blanchard, Hudson, Ingall, and Meserve; six lieutenants, — Farrington, Mason, Wright, White, Berry, and Hatch. White and Berry are on the sicklist. So, you see, I have a nice little command.

We joined the brigade, May 16th, from the duty of guarding teams before Spottsylvania Court House. 18th, Advanced through woods on enemy’s works, lost four killed and sixteen wounded.

19th, Marched by flank movement, threw up entrenchments just at dark; our regiment acting as skirmishers, and doing finely.

21st, Marching by flank movement all night.

22d, Marching all day; passed Guiney’s Station.

23d, Marched all day, and reached the N. Anna, hearing heavy firing.

24th, Marched, and in the forenoon forded the river, and immediately deployed as skirmishers. It was done so well, that Gen. Crittenden remarked “he had never seen the like before.” We drove the “Rebs” a quarter of a mile into their first line of rifle-pits, but had no support on our right; and we were driven back by the advance of a brigade. Loss, — five wounded and five prisoners. This was doing finely; for it was a wonder we were not all taken, as the enemy had out-flanked us on our right.

26th, Detached as engineers, and recrossed the river.

27th, Commenced a march, repairing roads and building bridges in advance of the corps.

28th, After working all night on a bridge, resumed our march.

29th, Moved early, and worked on repairs.

30th, Advanced two miles; rations short.

31st, Building breastworks for batteries.

June 1st, While digging in extreme front, “Rebs” charged: no damage.

2d, Moved by a flank; attacked by “Rebs ;” gay time! 35th was in line, but not engaged.

3d, Occupied breastworks; heavy fighting.

4th, Left, and worked pretty much all day on entrenchments.

5th, Digging on a redoubt called Fort Fletcher. Three men drowned; one died since, while at work.

6th, Building a road through a wood, under fire of shells.

7th, Working on a fort, under fire of shells.

8th, Same all day.

9th, Finished the fort.

10th and 11th, Rest.

12th, Moved at noon; flank movement; reached Tunstall Station.

13th, Marched ten miles to the Chickahominy.

14th, Crossed the river to James River.

15th, Built a pier, and crossed the river.

16th, Marched from half-past one, a.m., until near Petersburg.

17th, Went to camp to wait for orders. Major [James St. Clair] Morton4, who has the immediate command of us, was killed to-day. Hard at work, at dusk, on an old rebel fort to face it round, and use it ourselves; worked all night.

18th, Rested all day, except details, who are at work on bridges.

19th to 28th, Working all the time, mostly at night; regiment worn out. Tonight we work in front, under fire, but hope to come out all right.

The above extract, though devoid of interest and entirely without detail, still, by its simple enumeration of duties done, shows how the enthusiastic recruits of 1862 had been transfused into reliable veterans in 1864.

The work above mentioned, as commenced on the 19th, was this. The regiment had been directed to break ground on an eminence, within easy rifle-range of the enemy’s works, and build a fort, in which it was intended to mount six thirty-two pounders. Veiling their proceedings under pretence of forming a line of rifle-pits, and working principally in the night-time, they succeeded, at first, in concealing their proceedings from observation. But at length they were discovered; and rebel sharp-shooters were at work taking off every exposed hand, foot, or head, as soon as seen.

Sharpshooters on both sides at the Siege of Petersburg constantly looked for, and found, opportune targets.

Sharpshooters on both sides at the Siege of Petersburg constantly looked for, and found, opportune targets.

On the 1st of July, they had completed the fort, and a covered way, wide enough for artillery, leading into it; and were marching back into quarters, when some one observed to Capt. Park: “You seem to wear a charmed life, your shoulder-straps have been the target of the rebel rifles all day.” The captain replied, “The bullet is not cast that is to hit me.” Shortly after, and before he spoke another word, a spent Minie rifle-ball struck him on the right elbow, inflicting a severe flesh-wound, but injuring no bone. The ball was immediately cut out, about four inches from its place of entrance.

Gen. Burnside, on learning of the mishap, called, in person, on Capt. Park, and directed that a leave of absence should be immediately furnished to him; not that he imagined the wound to be dangerous, but because he thought that the captain needed rest and recruitment after the severe duties of the past two months. Capt. Park arrived at his home in Roxbury, unannounced, and the herald of his own mishap, on the evening of the 4th of July.

The joy of his friends at his escape and return was soon damped by the discovery, that, owing to his extreme debility arising from his previous misfortunes, and his late exposures and privations, his vital system was so weakened that no new flesh formed in his wound. The sloughing continued until it reached an artery, and so weakened its fibre that it burst, — first on the 9th of August, and again on the 11th, causing his death on Sunday the 14th.

His appetite leaving him entirely, a fortnight previous to his death, delirium supervened, during which all the exciting scenes of the camps, the march, and the battle-field, were rehearsed. During Saturday night, his excitability gradually subsided; and, on Sunday morning, he lay from five o’clock until seven, breathing more calmly, and spoke but once, — that was precisely at six (twelve hours before he breathed his last): without opening his eyes, and in a voice clear as a clarion, he broke the solemn stillness of that beautiful sabbath morning, by the command, “Stack arms!” It was the last audible word which he ever uttered, save a murmured recognition of his sister, some hours later. It was the last utterance of his delirium; but, oh, how strange! The parade indeed was over! The soul itself was dismissed from its service here to be re-enrolled in the heavenly hosts.

A military funeral, which was kindly tendered by the local military organization of which he had been a member, was respectfully declined; the wish of the family being to have the ceremony strictly private.

But, instead of a ceremonious pageant, the house was filled with heart-stricken and sincere mourners: the voices of those to whose melodies he loved to listen, when alive, rose in sweet requiems above his casketed remains; and the Rev. Mr. Means, who had taken the liveliest interest in each and all of that M picked company” from its first formation, uttered words of consolation to the afflicted, and earnest prayer to God.

He sleeps beside his mother at Forest Hills, his earthly mission fully and faithfully accomplished.

Soon after his return home, and before his wound had exhibited any alarming symptoms, Gov. Andrew kindly sent him a commission as major, perhaps, in part, induced so to do by the following letter: —

Headquarters Ninth Army Corps,

Before Petersburg, Va., July 20, 1864.

To His Excellency, John A. Andrew,

Governor of Massachusetts.

Sir, — I have pleasure in recommending to your favorable consideration, for the vacant majority of the Thirty-fifth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, Capt. Edward G. Park, senior captain. His wounds at Antietam and before Petersburg, his disease after the Mississippi campaign, entitled him to consideration; still more so does the praise which Major Morton, late chief engineer in my staff, has always bestowed on the zeal and ability shown in the government and direction of the Thirty-fifth, which, during the greater part of the present campaign, has been detailed as an engineer corps under his orders.

I advocate the captain’s claims to promotion, with sincerity and confidence.

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. E. Burnside,

Maj-Gen. U.S. Vols.

The following notice appeared in the columns of the “Norfolk-County Journal,” August 20, 1864: —

Major Edward G. Park. — The death of this young and gallant Roxbury officer has caused a sensation of peculiar sadness among the many who knew him in this city; and there is a universal feeling of sympathy expressed towards the circle of relatives and friends who suffer from his loss. Major Park was one of the first of the young men of our city to respond to the call of the Government for troops for the war. He offered his services at the very beginning, though at that time holding a desirable office under the Government. Volunteering being then so general that there appeared no special need of his services, Major Park did not, at that time, enter the army; but, later, at the first appearance of an exigency, when men were really needed, he was among the promptest to come forward. His history since that time is well recounted in an article in the “Boston Journal,” which also pays a merited tribute to his character. We copy it in full below : —

“This community will learn with regret the death of Major Edward G. Park, of the Thirty-fifth Massachusetts Infantry, which occurred yesterday, 14th instant. He was the eldest son of Hon. John C. Park, well known as one of the most able and distinguished lawyers in this State. He entered the service in August, 1862, as first lieutenant of Company K (Thirty-fifth), which was raised in Roxbury, and, with his regiment, participated, with conspicuous gallantry, in the battles of South Mountain and Antietam; in which latter action Lieut. Park was severely wounded, while his company suffered a loss of forty-five men in killed and wounded, out of the sixty-six engaged. Returning to the field upon his recovery, he was promoted to a captaincy, and accompanied the regiment, with the Ninth Corps in its transfer to the West, and its advance through Kentucky; took part in the glorious campaign in Mississippi, where one of the colors of the Thirty-fifth had the honor to be the first planted upon the rebel batteries at Jackson, while the other displaced the secession flag upon the capitol; and returned with the corps to Kentucky, where he acted first as assistant-adjutant-general at Lexington, and was afterwards appointed provost-marshal of that district, the arduous and delicate duties of which position he discharged with so much firmness and discretion as to commend himself alike to the approbation of his superior officer and to the affection of the people. When the corps was ordered to rejoin the Army of the Potomac under Gen. Grant, Capt. Park reported for duty in the field; and, in the absence of the fieldofficers on detached service, took command of the regiment, and was wounded before Petersburg. At the suggestion of Gen. Burnside, he returned home on a short leave; and, having been recommended for promotion (which recommendation was not only approved but advocated by Gens. Ledlie and Burnside), he was commissioned by the governor as major. Meantime his wound, which had hitherto progressed favorably, suddenly assumed a dangerous character: gangrene soon supervened; and, in a few days, he is dead.

By his genial nature, Major Park had endeared himself to a very large circle of friends; and, as a son and a brother, the void occasioned by his death can never be filled. During his two years’ term of service, he had improved the opportunities of perfecting himself in his profession, and evinced an aptitude for the command of men, and displayed a vigor and promptness in the discharge of the other duties incident to his position, which pronounced him a soldier of no ordinary merit. He is one more precious offering which Massachusetts has laid upon the altar of patriotism; and of his record his friends and fellow citizens have reason to feel proud.

The doings of the Roxbury State Guard appear as follows: —

Roxbury, Sept. 20, 1864.

Hon. John C. Park.

Dear Sir, — At the meeting of the Roxbury State Guards, last Monday evening, Mr. H. B. Metcalf, after speaking of the death of your son, dwelling upon his worth as a man and a soldier, and his patriotic efforts in the service of his country, offered the resolutions copied below. Capt. Wyman follpwed,. speaking of the great grief at his early departure, and describing more in detail his soldierly career.

On motion of Mr. J. G. Shed, the resolutions were unanimously adopted, and the clerk directed to send you a copy.

Resolved, That the members of the Roxbury State Guard tender to their esteemed associate, Hon. John C. Park, and to his afflidled family, sincere condolence and sympathy in view of their recent great bereavement in the death of a beloved son and brother, Major Edward G. Park of Thirty-fifth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, an honorary member of this organization.

Resolved, That, while it would have been a pleasure to us to have publicly expressed our appreciation of the deceased as a soldier, we still desire the privilege of recording our friendship for our departed brother, and our respect for his memory.

Resolved, That faithful to his duty as a citizen and a soldier, honest and conscientious in every thought and deed, of unspotted purity in his daily walk and conversation, modest in all claims to professional advancement, and bold and fearless at the post of danger, he has laid himself on his country’s altar, a sacrifice worthy its glorious cause.

Respectfully yours, John Kneeland,


The following communication appeared in the same paper from the pen of Epes Sargent, Esq.: —

The Late Major Park. — Sadly did I read, while away among the New-Hampshire hills, of the death of this young and gallant officer. I met and conversed with him for the first time, just after his return from Petersburg on the furlough granted him, on account of his wound. With a charming courtesy, he received my overture of acquaintance and my tribute of congratulation; and I conversed with him, during our walk, on the war and its prospects. Reticent and modest in regard to his own actions and the manner of his wound; making light of it as a small matter which could detain him only two or three weeks from service, — he was communicative, and liberal of praise in regard to others. Of Gen. Grant he spoke with enthusiasm; and confirmed what we have so often heard of the entire confidence of the army in that officer’s capacity, vigilance, and military prescience. Of the black soldiers and their claims, Major Park spoke, not only with the intelligence of an experienced observer, but with the charity and sympathy of one, who, in his judgments of other men, had caught the spirit of the great Master of our faith.

It was delightful to hear this young man, who had borne so large a share of the fatigues, privations, and perils of the war, speak of our obligations to put it through to the glorious end, — to the extirpation of slavery and the re-establishment of the Union, — at any expense of blood and treasure. . How he scattered to the wind, with a single burst of his generous enthusiasm, all the Copperhead pleadings and meannesses that the Vallandighams, the Seymours, and the Curtises, ever engendered in their efforts to break down the spirit of a great people! Young martyr of liberty! — in spite of all the arts and threats, the intrigues and the vaporings, by which the opponents of this war would compass their selfish ends at the expense of a nation’s honor, — the cause for which thou, and thousands like thee, have laid down your noble lives, shall not be betrayed through apathy or bigotry of ours! The precious blood which you have so heroically shed shall not fall profitless and unavailing on the ground. It shall quicken into life, throughout the ages, new examples of patriotic self-devotion, new instances of noble daring, new resolves in the hearts of thousands, to fight, and, if it must be, die, for the great cause of justice, of human progress, of republican liberty, and the rights of man.

The following tribute to his memory is from a civilian of his own age, who had made equal sacrifices to patriotism, with equal self-devotion, though not on the battle-field:

Major Edward G. Park. — Another brave and faithful soldier has joined the company of those who have written their names imperishably upon the roll of their country’s honor. The record of Edward Park has been that of a man who has been always equal to every position he has been called to fill, who always did his duty, and who coveted nothing so much as the consciousness of having been faithful to every trust. He was thoroughly in earnest; a man of such genuine modesty, that it was only as his life expanded, and as emergencies arose to test him, that his friends have felt that the metal of his character had the true, sound ring, and that there was still left within him much which even sterner service and sharper trial would only bring out. He was sincere, truth-loving, and of simple tastes. He did not pretend to be what he was not, nor did he claim to rival the brilliant service of brilliant men. He simply did the duty next his hand, held to that duty like a true soldier as he was, and never faltered when that duty led him where death was reaping remorselessly even those who stood at his very side. Nor is this an unenviable record. Wounded twice, he was patient in suffering; and, as he entered this last campaign, he entered it in the spirit of a man who knew how much it involved, who cheerfully undertook his part in it, and who had determined that that part should be an honorable one. I saw him at the front, begrimed and service-stained, after the battle of Spottsylvania. He had come from the West, where his duties had been both difficult and delicate, requiring the tact of a diplomatist almost, and the firmness of the most rigorous military law. He was about joining his regiment, and was filled with a spirit of patriotic devotion to the cause. But it was his last campaign. He had but a few weeks more in which to make complete his noble consecration to his country’s service, and this consecration he has now made by wounding and bleeding and dying.

It does not become me to speak of those qualities of the inner life which endeared him to his friends, and which must have been true and steadfast in a character grounded upon such pure and high principle. He rests quietly in Forest Hills. It cannot be in vain that he lies there. All that was noble and faithful and kindly in his character we shall cherish, and all that was brave and soldierly and true in his life, we shall remember; and, when the fairer light of the eternal morning shall dawn for any of us, his friends, may it be welcomed with the calmness and peacefulness with which he entered through the gate into the City! w. H. R.

A little incident of peculiar beauty occurred on the day of Major Park’s death. A dove placed itself, early in the forenoon, on a balcony near the window of the room in which he was breathing his last. It remained there immovably, often observed by the inmates of the house, until six. At six he died; and immediately afterwards it was observed that the dove had flown, and has never returned. 5

The 35th Massachusetts’ regimental history provided this final, fitting epitaph of a man who gave his all for his country:

A “Memorial of Major Park” has been published, but is now out of print, which contains many interesting particulars of his life and the great sacrifice which he made for the country. From lines therein by W. R. E. we pluck this flower to place upon his grave:

“Death were no terror to his soul, but only sweet release, If so the war-torn land might taste the earlier fruit of peace.”6


  1. A Committee of the Regimental Association. History of the Thirty-Fifth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, 1862-1865. (Mills, Knight and Company, Printers: 1884), pp. 260-261
  2. Park, J. C. A Memorial OF Major Edward Granville Park, of the 35th Massachusetts Volunteers (Press of John Wilson and Son: 1865), pp. 10-12
  3. Park, J. C. A Memorial of Major Edward Granville Park, of the 35th Massachusetts Volunteers (Press of John Wilson and Son: 1865), pp. 14-16
  4. SOPO Editor’s Note: James St. Clair Morton was serving as Chief Engineer in Burnside’s Ninth Corps. Union Fort Morton was named after Morton following his death.
  5. Park, J. C. A Memorial OF Major Edward Granville Park, of the 35th Massachusetts Volunteers (Press of John Wilson and Son: 1865), pp. 20-38
  6. A Committee of the Regimental Association. History of the Thirty-Fifth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, 1862-1865. (Mills, Knight and Company, Printers: 1884), p. 262


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