December 16: John Grubb Parke (1900)

John Grubb Parke was a U.S. Army engineer and a Union general in the Civil War. He was born in Pennsylvania on September 22, 1827. At the age of eight, he moved to Philadelphia with his family. Parke graduated second in his class at West Point in 1849 following which, he received a commission in the Topographical Engineers. Parke became the chief surveyor on many projects west of the Mississippi, including a survey of the boundary between the United States and Canada. With the start of the Civil War, Parke returned east to take the position of brigadier general of volunteers. Parke was assigned to the command of General Ambrose Burnside. In the spring of 1862, Parke was promoted to major general of volunteers and appointed as Burnside’s chief of staff. During this time he served at the battles of South Mountain, Antietam, and Fredericksburg.

When Burnside was appointed commander of the Department of Ohio in March of 1863, Parke was transferred with him, and assumed the command of the IX Corps in the department. Parke continued to command the IX Corps until the Confederate surrender at Appomattox. In 1866, Parke returned to the Corps of Engineers, eventually achieving the rank of colonel. In 1887 Parke became the superintendent at West Point, retiring from that position, and the U.S. Army, in 1889. Parke was connected with Epiphany off and on for the last 30 years of his life. He was married at the church shortly after the Civil War. His only daughter was married at the church in 1897. Following his military retirement, Parke took part in the events of the larger church. He was present at the meeting in 1891 that decided to build Washington Cathedral. In 1895, he was one of three representatives of the Diocese of Washington to travel to New York City and notify Henry Yates Satterlee of his election to the episcopacy. Parke’s funeral in 1900 and that of his of his wife three years later were held at Epiphany.

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