* OFFICIAL *
- Mar 15, 2013
I've always been interested in the war correspondents -- men who sent reports back to the newspaper. The Savannah Republican had at least two regular correspondents: Tout-le-Monde and a member of the 17th Georgia known as V.A.S.P.
As far as I know, the identity of Tout-le-Monde remains unknown, but the correspondent known as V. A. S. P. was Virgil A. S. Parks, Captain D/17th GA (Toombs/Benning's brigade). Parks served as a regular correspondent to the Savannah Republican until he was killed at Gettysburg and always signed his submissions with his initials - VASP.
In the past, I've tried without much luck to find out more about Virgil A S Parks. While looking for something else, I ran across this article, published in The Savannah Weekly Republican. (Savannah, Ga.), July 25, 1863, page 2 that provides some insight into the life of Virgil A S Parks, aka V.A.S.P. It was interesting to find that he was a protege of Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stephens and recipient of his philanthropy. I had no idea that Stephens was so generous as to pay for the education of an orphan.
DEATH OF A REPUBLICAN CORRESPONDENT
It was only yesterday that we published another of the long series of interesting army letters from our faithful and intelligent correspondent "V. A. S. P." the initials of Captain V.A.S. Parks, of Company D, 17th Georgia Regiment, Benning's Brigade, Hood's Division. It was written soon after our army crossed the Potomac and but a few days previous to the battles around Gettysburg. We are truly grieved to say that it was his last letter.
His co adjutor in the same army, "Tou-le-Monde" whose letter will be found on this page, records his death. He fell whilst gallantly leading his men into action on the bloody field of Gettysburg, after passing unscathed through all of the battles of Lee's army for two years past.
It was not our fortune to know Capt. Parks personally. He originally volunteered in the services of the [Savannah] Republican, and our acquaintance had been confined to his regular correspondence and a large number of private letters which he addressed to us from time to time. Others who knew him better, represent him as a young man of noble character, fine talents and rising fortune.
He was poor and friendless, but ambitious. In some way unknown to us, he came under the notice of that excellent man and liberal benefactor, to whom so many are indebted for all they are in life, Hon. Alexander H. Stephens, now Vice President of the Confederacy. The friendless youth became his protege, was sent to school, to college, instructed in the Law, and sent forth in the struggle of life, armed with the true weapons to conquer all its difficulties -- a mind well stored with knowledge, and a character above reproach. His entrance upon a professional career was encouraging and full of promise. He removed to the southwest and settled in Bainbridge [GA], where an honorable and useful career awaited him. But the struggle for independence commenced, and he was among the first to rally around the standard of his oppressed country. He has served her faithfully and well, first as Lieutenant and then Captain, and for her has now offered up his life.
With his numerous and interesting letters all the readers of the Republican are familiar. He improved rapidly in his correspondence, was honest and truthful in all he wrote, and the high-toned morality that characterized his literary labors throughout, cannot have failed to strike the reader as one of their leading characteristics.
But the gallant soldier is no more.
"He sleeps his last sleep, he has fought his last battle,
And no sound can awake him to glory again."
P.S. If Capt. Parks left a mother or sister living, some kind friend will oblige us by a note stating their names and place of residence.
Replies to the Postscript were soon received which provide additional insight into the life of Virgil A S Parks. Ill include some of them in separate posts.
Link to a previous thread about Virgil A S Parks' Colt Army Revolver Serial No. 14,877 stolen in 1862.