William Russell Parnell photographs, 1864-1871

Overview of the Collection

Parnell, William R. (William Russell), 1836-1910
William Russell Parnell photographs
1864-1871 (inclusive)
0.1 cubic feet, (1 folder in shared box)
Collection Number
Org. Lot 533
Collection consists of five photographs that were originally owned and may have been taken by William Russell Parnell (1836-1910). Parnell was stationed at several military encampments in the Northwest, including those depicted in this collection. While stationed in the Northwest, he commanded Troop H and Troop F of the 1st Cavalry of the United States, and fought in multiple conflicts with Native peoples in the region.
Oregon Historical Society Research Library
1200 SW Park Avenue
Portland, OR
Telephone: 503-306-5240
Fax: 503-219-2040
Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

William Russell Parnell (1836-1910) was born in Dublin, Ireland and immigrated to the United States in 1860, arriving one year prior to the beginning of the American Civil War. Parnell served in the United States Army during the Civil War, and was later stationed in several military outposts in the northwest.

In 1867, under orders from General George Crook, Parnell commanded Troop H of the 1st Cavalry of the United States and a group of Boise Scouts during a campaign against Native people in the Pit River area of California.

Between 1868 and 1875, Parnell was sent to Camp Harney in the Malheur region of Oregon with Troop H of the 1st Cavalry. During his time at Camp Harney, Parnell fought in multiple conflicts between the military and Native populations. While stationed at Camp Harney, Parnell was also sent on special excursions to Camp Warner in south-central Oregon.

Parnell received the Medal of Honor in 1877 for rescuing a soldier during the Battle of White Bird Canyon, Idaho. From 1880 to 1992, Parnell served at Fort Boise (also known as the Boise Barracks or Camp Boise) as commander of Troop F of the 1st Cavalry.


"Idaho File into History," Pass in Review newsletter, December 2001, Pages 6-7, https://museum.mil.idaho.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/4thQtr2001.pdf

"William Russell Parnell," Congressional Medal of Honor Society, https://www.cmohs.org/recipients/william-r-parnell

Vital records on Ancestry.com.

Historical NoteReturn to Top

Camp Harney was established in Oregon in 1867 by the United States Army and connected remote military posts to places such as Portland, The Dalles and Canyon City. Between 1867-1868, General George Crook used this southeast Oregon camp as an outpost to resupply troops during the later part of the Snake War. Later, during the Bannock Indian Wars of 1878, the camp served as military headquarters for General Oliver O. Howard, providing resources for Euro-American emigrants in the region, and where the Army imprisoned hundreds of Bannock and Paiute people.

The first Camp Warner was used as winter quarters from 1866-1867 before being abandoned in 1867. The second location of Fort Warner (also known as New Camp Warner) was established in 1867 and used as a supply depot and administrative headquarters for the military during a series of conflicts with Native peoples. The fort was never formally recognized by the Army, and was abandoned in 1874. Both locations of Camp Warner were located in south-central Oregon.

The first location of Fort Boise was established in what is now Idaho in 1834 by the Hudson's Bay Company, and was abandoned in 1854. The second location of Fort Boise (also known as New Fort Boise, and later, Boise Barracks and Camp Boise) was founded by the Union army during the Civil War in 1863.

Established in 1862 by the Union army, Camp Barry was primarily used as a temporary artillery camp near Washington, D.C., during the Civil War. It was abandoned in 1865 at the end of the war.


Friedel, Megan K., "Oregonscape," Oregon History Quarterly, Volume 100, No. 1 (Spring 2009), Page 160.

Shine, Gregory P., "Camp Harney," Oregon Encyclopedia, https://www.oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/fort_harney/#.Y2AHsILMJ4B

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

This collection consists of five photographs, dating from 1864-1871, that were originally owned and may have been taken by William Russell Parnell during his service in the United States Army. Photographs depict Camp Harney, Camp Warner and Fort Boise, bases where Parnell was stationed, and also Camp Barry near Washington, D.C. Parnell's relationship to Camp Barry is unknown, but he was stationed in various locations in that area during the Civil War. Of the five photographs included in the collection, four have Parnell's signature.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Alternative Forms Available

The photographs are viewable online in OHS Digital Collections.

Preferred Citation

William Russell Parnell photographs, Org. Lot 533, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.

Restrictions on Use

Materials in this collection are in the public domain.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Acquisition Information

Purchased from Riba Mobley Auctions in June 1987 (Photo Acc. 987M027).

Processing Note

The photograph of Camp Barry was identified as Org. Lot 918 prior to October 2022.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Fortification--Photographs
  • Military camps--Idaho--Photographs
  • Military camps--Oregon--Photographs
  • Military camps--Washington (D.C.)--Photographs

Geographical Names

  • Camp Barry (Washington, D.C.)--Photographs
  • Camp Harney (Or.)--Photographs
  • Camp Warner (Or.)--Photographs
  • Fort Boise (Idaho)--Photographs

Form or Genre Terms

  • photographs