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

Reed Brockway Bontecou American

Not on view

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.

Private John Parkhurst, Company E, Second New York Heavy Artillery, Reed Brockway Bontecou (American, 1824–1907), Albumen silver print from glass negative

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