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.