Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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PARSONS, Charles Carroll, soldier, born in Elyria, Ohio, in 1838; died in Memphis, Tennessee, 7 September, 1878. His father died when the son was an infant, and he was brought up in the family of his maternal uncle, a physician in Elyria. He was appointed to the United States military academy by his cousin, Judge Philemon Bliss, then member of congress from Ohio, and graduated in 1861, being promoted at once to 1st lieutenant in the 4th artillery. He served in West Virgiuia, and then with the Army of the Ohio in Tennessee and Kentucky, commanding a battery after July, 1862, and covering the retreat to Louisville in September. He was brevetted captain for gallantry at Perryville and major for Stone River. From January till March, 1863, he was on sick leave, and, being unable to return to the field, was assistant professor of ethics and English at West Point till September, 1864, after which he again commanded a battery till the close of the war. "Parsons's battery" was noted in both the National and Confederate armies, and many stories are told of his courage and daring. At Perryville, where his battery was temporarily served by partially drilled infantrymen, forty of his men were killed by a furious charge of the enemy, and the rest driven back, but Parsons remained with his guns until he was dragged from them by a huge cavalryman by order of General McCook. At Stone River he repelled six charges, much of the time under musketry fire, and he was often mentioned in the official reports. After the war he was on frontier duty, and in 1867 was chief of artillery in General Winfield S. Hancock's Indian expedition. He returned to duty at West Point as professor in 1868, and remained there till 30 December, 1870, when he was honorably discharged at his own request, and in 1871 he took orders in the Protestant Episcopal church. He held charges in Memphis, Tennessee, Cold Spring, New York, and Hoboken, New Jersey, and then again in Memphis, till his death, which took place during the yellow-fever epidemic of 1878, after he had worked untiringly for two months among the victims of the disease, both as clergyman and as nurse.
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