Lieutenant Colonel Theron Edwards Parsons

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Lieutenant Colonel Theron Edwards Parsons, Aide-de-Camp, carte-de-visite, by Powelson, Rochester, New York, c. 1860s
Theron Edwards Parsons served with the 108th New York Volunteers. He was also the acting assistant adjunct general 3rd Brig, 2nd Div. 2nd Corps, and was on the staffs of Brig. Gen. Thomas A. Smyth and Major Gen. Humphrey. Born to George W. and Avira Parsons in Rochester, New York, on April 4, 1842, Parsons received all his education there. In 1860, he began work at the Rochester Gas Light Company.
At age twenty in August 1862, Theron Parsons joined the war as a quartermaster-sergeant. During the spring of 1863, he was commissioned second lieutenant of Company D. By June, Parsons was the acting aide-de-camp for Smyth (3955W). Parsons survived the Battle of Gettysburg, and in a letter dated July 4, 1863, sent to his father, he writes:
"We have had a terrible battle, as you will see by my diary enclosed. Thanks to a merciful God I am safe, though I had no expectations of seeing the sun set last night. We are very busy getting returns of killed and wounded."
Theron Parsons was acknowledged by Smyth for his performance and conduct at the Battle of Gettysburg. He was slightly wounded on May 6, 1864. By Smyth’s (cat. #3955W) request, Parsons was promoted to captain and assistant adjutant general, on November 5, 1864. When Smyth (cat. #3955W) was injured in Farmville, Virginia, Parsons was at his side when he briefly regained consciousness. Following Smyth’s death, Parsons was transferred to Major Gen. Humphrey’s staff and remained there until he was mustered out on June 7, 1865.
Following the war, Theron Parsons served in the National Guard. He was heavily involved with post war veterans’ activities, and was a member of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion, and Alexander Hamilton Post 182, Department of New York. A year after he was mustered out of service, he married. Parsons moved from Rochester to New York City in 1884.
Currently not on view
date made
depicted (sitter)
Parsons, Theron E.
place made
United States: New York, Rochester
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 4 in x 2 5/16 in; 10.16 cm x 5.842 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of M.W Seville
Civil War
related event
Civil War
Battle of Antietam, 1862
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Photographic History
Seville Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History


"Greetings Smithsonian! Thank you for the information. In an unusual circle of history I possess LTC Parson's war time saber. He was an ancestor of my father-in-law, and I was give his saber as a gift. My brother-in-law has LTC Parsons' G.A.R. sword. To make matters more interesting, I am a 1LT in the Georgia Army National Guard. My first assignment was the 3rd Squadron " 108th " Cavalry Regt. Though it had no unit lineage to the 108th NY Vol. it's still an interesting coincidence. I'd love to learn more about him and this CDV."
"Thank you for reaching out to us! It is lovely that those objects have survived and been passed down through your family! We are glad to know where they are! The group from which Lt. Col. Parson's photograph is drawn, can be found on Flickr. Some of the information here is duplicated but you can the story of the group."

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