William Parker MOH

b. 1832 Boston, Massachusetts. d. ?

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 24-25/04/1862 Forts Jackson & St Philip and New Orleans, Louisiana.

Born about 1832 in Boston, Parker was still living in that city when he joined the Navy. He served during the Civil War as a captain of the afterguard on the USS Cayuga. At the Battle of Forts Jackson and St. Philip near New Orleans on April 24, 1862, he was stationed at the ship’s wheel and “conscientiously performed his duties” despite heavy fire. For this action, he was awarded the Medal of Honor a year later on April 3, 1863. In 1894, Parker was a sailmaker’s mate newly assigned to the USS San Francisco (C-5). He was arrested for drunkenness while ashore in Brooklyn that year and court-martialed. Members of the court learned that Parker was a Medal of Honor recipient when he wore his dress uniform, complete with medal, to the trial. The court found Parker guilty but handed down no punishment. Nothing is known about his life after this incident.



At the wheel on board the U.S.S. Cayuga during the capture of Forts St. Philip and Jackson, and of New Orleans, 24 and 25 April 1862. As his ship led the advance column toward the barrier and both forts opened fire simultaneously, striking the vessel from stem to stern, Parker conscientiously performed his duties throughout the action in which attempts by three rebel steamers to butt and board were thwarted, and the ships driven off. Eleven gunboats were successfully engaged and the enemy garrisons forced to surrender during this battle in which the Cayuga sustained 46 hits.