Private John Parkhurst, Company E, Second New York Heavy Artillery

Reed Brockway Bontecou (American, 1824–1907)

Albumen silver print from glass negative
Image: 18.9 × 13.1 cm (7 7/16 × 5 3/16 in.), oval
Credit Line:
Gift of Stanley B. Burns, M.D. and The Burns Archive, 1992
Accession Number:
  • Description

    Union Private Parkhurst received a gunshot wound to the head at Farmville, Virginia, in the final weeks of the Civil War. The ball fractured the upper portion of the soldier’s front bone, and he was removed to Harewood Hospital. Dr. Bontecou’s printed notes on the reverse of his card-mounted teaching photograph reveal that Parkhurst was fifty years old and that after treatment at the hospital his health progressed favorably. “Doing well,” Bontecou observed. The portrait is a good example of how at times the surgeon used enlargements to bring attention to a specific wound and its treatment. In this case, studying his patient from above, he also created a sublime document of medical recovery and human introspection.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Printed on label affixed to mount, verso: "John Parkhurst.
    John Parkhurst, Private, Co. E, 2nd N. Y. H. Art., aged 50, was admitted to Harewood U. S. A. Gen'l Hospital, April 16th, 1865, with gunshot wound, ball fracturing upper portion of frontal bone. Wounded April 7th, 1865, at battle of Farmville, Va. Progress favorable. Transferred to U. S. General Hospital, Philadelphia, Pa. April 8th, 1865. Doing well.
    Harewood U. S. A. General Hospital,
    Surgeon U. S. Vols., In charge."

  • Provenance

    Stanley B. Burns/The Burns Archive