08 April 2018

Perry Summerville and Jerry Parker

Sultana Monument, Knoxville, Tennessee

Perry Summerville, of the Second Indiana Cavalry, has told his experience on this terrible occasion, as follows: " My quarters were on the cabin deck, on the guard to the left, over and opposite the boilers. We got to Memphis on the evening of April 26th. There the steamer unloaded a large amount of sugar, after which she ran up to the coal-barge, and was taking in coal, and that was the last that I knew till I found myself in the river.

About two miles above Memphis I succeeded in adding a large plank to my rail, which I drew across the front end, holding to the rail with my feet, and the plank with my hands. I lay so near the surface that I suffered extremely from cold. I was picked up at Memphis, my rescuer being a colored man, and placed on board a boat. I had been two hours in the river, and was so chilled and numb that I could not stand. Besides, I had been scalded on the back, and bruised on the breast in the explosion, from the effects of which I spat blood for some time. Two miles below the scene of the explosion a
gun-boat passed us, going up the river. The many victims of the explosion that were close to it failed to attract attention. At any rate the boat did not stop.

I was finally overtaken by Jerry Parker, of the Second Michigan Cavalry, who for quite a distance swam by my side. All knew Jerry, who was a great favorite. He was astride a barrel, and was as good-humored as ever — at least circumstances considered. We would have cheered him, his presence so inspired us, but of course that was impracticable. We were together quite a while, our company getting larger at times as the current bore us down. Jerry told us to be of good cheer, saying we would all be rescued. I am glad to say he was among the number saved."  [Source]

Parkers In The Second MI Cavalry (Archives of Michigan)
Was Ezekiel W. Parker called Jerry Parker?  Or was Jerry elsewhere on the list?

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