Parham was a student at the time of his enlistment. As documented in Lamar Rifles: A History of Company G, Eleventh Mississippi Regiment, C.S.A. by the Historical Committee of “The Survivors’ Association of Lamar Rifles”:
The members of this Company were some of them students of the University of Mississippi, and nearly all were sons of prosperous merchants, planters, and professional men, and of Revolutionary ancestors. They, as well as their fathers, believed absolutely in the doctrine of State sovereignty and the right to defend their homes and all constitutional rights against the aggressions of the Federal Union if it should become necessary. Theirs was true and loyal fidelity to the principles enunciated by the fathers of the country who founded the Republic.