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James Parker (Medal of Honor)

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Years of service  1876–1918
Rank  Major general

Role  Medal of Honor
Name  James Parker
Books  The old army
James Parker (Medal of Honor) httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu
Born  February 20, 1854 Newark, New Jersey (1854-02-20)
Place of burial  Saint Mary's Episcopal Churchyard, Portsmouth, Rhode Island
Allegiance  United States of America
Commands held  32nd Infantry Division 85th Infantry Division
Battles/wars  Indian Wars Spanish–American War Philippine–American War World War I
Awards  Medal of Honor Distinguished Service Medal Silver Star (3)
Died  June 2, 1934, New York City, New York, United States
Education  United States Military Academy, Rutgers University
Battles and wars  American Indian Wars, Spanish–American War, Philippine–American War, World War I

Service/branch  United States Army

James Parker (February 20, 1854 – June 2, 1934) was a major general in the United States Army and a Medal of Honor recipient for his role in the Philippine–American War during 1899. His son, Cortlandt Parker, also became a major general in the United States Army.


James Parker (Medal of Honor) Photo of Medal of Honor Recipient James Parker

Early life and education

Born in Newark, New Jersey on February 20, 1854, James Parker was educated at Newark Academy, Phillips Academy (Andover, Massachusetts) and Rutgers College, where he was admitted to the Zeta Psi fraternity. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in 1876, 31st in a class of 50 cadets, and was appointed second lieutenant.

Military career

He spent his early years serving in the Fourth United States Cavalry participating in the Indian Wars of the Southwest. His military career was influenced by the magnetic personality of the commander of the Fourth Cavalry, General Ranald S. Mackenzie, a legend for his success as a cavalry commander in the American Civil War. In May 1886, First Lieutenant Parker commanded one column of troops sent into Mexico to track down the famous Apache leader Geronimo and his band, and cooperated with Captain Henry W. Lawton and First Lieutenant Charles B. Gatewood when Geronimo was captured.

Later, he served as second in command of the 12th New York Infantry in Cuba during the Spanish–American War and saw significant combat while commanding the 45th Volunteer Infantry in the Philippine–American War during 1899 where he earned the Medal of Honor. From 1903 to 1904, he also served as Head of Militia Affairs in the Adjutant General's office.

During the First World War, General Parker served as Commander of the Southern Department, Fort Sam Houston, Texas from 31 March 1917 to 25 August 1917; as Division Commander of the 32nd Division from 25 August to 11 December 1917; and as Division Commander of the 85th Division from 11 December 1917 to 20 February 1918, when, having reached the statutory age of 64, he was retired from active service.

Medal of Honor citation


While in command of a small garrison repulsed a savage night attack by overwhelming numbers of the enemy, fighting at close quarters in the dark for several hours.


In addition to the Medal of Honor, Major General Parker was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal and three Silver Stars for his service and battlefield exploits.

Full list of decorations and medals:

  • Medal of Honor
  • Distinguished Service Medal
  • Silver Star with two oak leaf clusters (retroactive award in 1932)
  • Indian Campaign Medal
  • Spanish War Service Medal
  • Philippine Campaign Medal
  • World War I Victory Medal
  • Civilian career

    He retired on February 20, 1934 and moved to Newport, Rhode Island.


  • Parker, James. The Mounted Rifleman; A Method of Garrison Training and Field Instruction of Cavalry, Including Tests and Combat Exercises, As Used in the First Cavalry Brigade, U.S. Army. Menasha, Wis: George Banta Pub. Co, 1916. OCLC 5508503
  • Parker, James. The Old Army; Memories, 1872-1918. Philadelphia: Dorrance & Co, 1929. OCLC 518366
  • Death and legacy

    Parker died on June 2, 1934. He is buried in Saint Mary's Episcopal Churchyard, Portsmouth, Rhode Island.

    His papers are held by the United States Military Academy.


    James Parker (Medal of Honor) Wikipedia

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