Lt. William Harwar Parker


  • Born in New York.
  • Appointed from Virginia.
  • Formerly a lieutenant, US Navy.
  • Lieutenant, Virginia Navy, April 1861.
  • 1st Lieutenant, CS Navy, 10 June 1861.

Lt. William Harwar Parker of Portsmouth, Virginia, was appointed commander of the CSS Beaufort after the fall of Fort Hatteras. He served in the United States Navy prior to the Civil War, where he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in 1855. Parker was ordered to New Bern to take command of the Beaufort on 2 September 1861. He commanded the CSS Beaufort in the battles of Roanoke Island (7-8 Feb 1862) and Elizabeth City (10 Feb 1862).

Ordered ashore with his men to man the battery at Fort Cobb during the Elizabeth City battle, Parker sent the Beaufort to safety in Norfolk via the Dismal Swamp Canal. After the “mosquito fleet” was destroyed at Elizabeth City, he rounded up the surviving sailors and marched them to Norfolk. Reunited with the Beaufort, he participated in the battle of Hampton Roads. Parker later served as Superintendent of the Confederate Naval Academy.