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This biography is from HEROES OF ALBANY, by Rufus W. Clark, D. D.

Stephen Putnam Parks

Stephen, the son of William and Jane Ann Parks, residing at 172 Lumber street, Arbor Hill, Albany, was born October 26, 1848. At the breaking out of the war, when only thirteen years of age, he enlisted in the Twenty-fifth Regiment for three months as a drummer boy, and was stationed at Arlington Heights, Fort Albany.

On the 31st of March, 1864, he again enlisted as a drummer in the Forty-third Regiment N. Y. S. V. He joined the regiment at Brandy Station, Va., and was assigned to Company K. While in the service, he was in the following battles: The Wilderness, Va., May 5 and 6, 1864, and Spottsylvania Court House; Fort Stevens, Washington, D. C, July 12, and Winchester, September 19. Capt. Wm. L. Thomson, who had command of Company K during that time, writes of him as a good soldier, always doing his duty. After the above, he was in the battles of Cedar Creek, Coal Harbor, and the battles before Petersburg and Richmond.

On the 1st day of April, 1865, he was reported missing, since which time nothing has been heard of him.

He was a member of the Arbor Hill Methodist E. Church. He became connected with the church and school under the Rev. Mr. Stratton's ministry, in the fall of 1860. He experienced religion at that time, and well do his friends remember how anxious he was about his soul. The night he went forward to the altar will never be forgotten by his mother. On arriving at home, he threw his arms around his mother's neck and said: "Ma, I have been up to the altar this evening to be prayed for; did I do wrong?" His mother told him no; that he was young yet, and that he would have to meet his companions, and that they would make fun of him. "Well, ma, I will pray God to help me through with it." About this time a young men's prayer meeting was started on Sunday afternoons, before preaching, which has been kept up until the present time. He never missed a meeting.

When he left the school to go with the regiment, a copy of the New Testament was presented to him by his teacher, which he took with him to the front, and kept it as his companion. The last letter he wrote was before Petersburg, when he expressed a desire to come home. He wanted to see his mother. He asked his mother to pray for him, and requested her to ask the school to remember him. He was a member of the evening class, of which his mother was the leader, and he gave promise of being a very useful man in the church and to society. Though very young, he seemed always to be governed by a strong desire to do right in all things, and to discharge faithfully his duty in whatever position he was placed.

The motive that prompted him to go into the army was a desire to serve his country, and not from any mere feeling of adventure or excitement. His loss was deeply felt by his parents, and mourned by his many friends, to whom he had endeared himself by his uniform kindness. He was kind, affectionate; and all who knew him loved him.

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