In Love and War: William and Mollie Parker
In honor of Veterans Day and the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War this past April, I thought I would share a story of love and hope in the midst of the conflict that polarized the nation so many years ago. William Parker and Mary (Mollie) Rebecca Boyer were living in Smyrna at the outbreak of the Civil War. The pair was deeply in love and did not want to be separated, but William decided to enlist in the First Regiment of the Delaware Volunteer Infantry as a musician. He promised to write to Mollie, serving in camps throughout Maryland and was eventually stationed at Camp Hamilton, a military encampment just outside of Fort Munroe, Virginia. Their love for one another never dwindled in William’s absence, which you can read for yourself in the collection of letters from William to Mollie held by DHS.
William wrote frequently to Mollie, answering her letters and asking her for news of friends and family at home in Smyrna. Like many other soldiers and civilians at the beginning of the Civil War, William hoped for a quick end to the conflict, writing to Mollie that “I have every reason to think that Our time will be short in the Service if things go on as they have been going for time weeks past, the war will Soon end. Then I will be the happiest man alive.” William did not have to wait as long as most soldiers to finish his service and to be reunited with friends and family. He was honorably discharged in August of 1862 when Congress disbanded all regimental bands. Shortly thereafter, William and Mollie married and started their family.
Below you can see photographs of William and Mollie. William asked Mollie to send him a photograph of her to have with him in Virginia. When he received it, he replied: “I received your Picture for which I am greatly obliged. It is a very nice one…You look so nice. I never tire of looking at it.” William and Mollie remind us of the great sacrifices that our veterans have made and continue to make, leaving behind loved ones and serving bravely in uncertain and difficult circumstances. In honor of veterans, visit DHS to learn more about the story of William and Mollie and to discover the stories of many other Delawareans who have served their country throughout the centuries.