BUST VIEW CDV OF GENERAL & MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT WILLIAM J. PALMER OF THE 15TH PENNSYLVANIA CAVALRY

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Item Code: 945-189

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Vignette bust view of Palmer while serving with the 15th Pennsylvania Cavalry. He wears a dark single-breasted frock coat with barely visible shoulder straps. Faintly written in period pencil below the image is “GEN. PAL.”

Image has good clarity and contrast. Mount and paper are good except for a bump at bottom center of the mount.

Reverse has photographer’s imprint for F. GUTEKUNST… PHILADELPHIA

William Jackson Palmer was born in Kent County, Delaware on September 17, 1836. He was educated at the Quaker Academy in Philadelphia and became a commercial clerk at age 17. Palmer then worked for the Chief Engineer of the Hempfield Railroad in 1853 and later toured Europe studying railroad conditions and mining. He returned to the United States in 1856 and became secretary treasurer of the Westmoreland Coal Company. After a year in this position Palmer resigned to become the private secretary to John Edgar Thompson, then president of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company.

At the outbreak of the Civil War Palmer organized the Anderson Company of Independent Pennsylvania Cavalry and served as its captain under General Buell. In late in 1862 when he returned to Philadelphia and expanded the Anderson Company into the 15th Pennsylvania Cavalry of which he became Colonel on September 8, 1862.

Once the 15th took the field Palmer was captured but was exchanged and resumed command of the 15th on January 15, 1863. He remained in command throughout the war being promoted to brigadier general by brevet on November 6, 1864.

General Palmer was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at Red Hill, Alabama on January 14, 1865. His citation reads in part "with less than 200 men, [he] attacked and defeated a superior force of the enemy, captured their fieldpiece and about 100 prisoners without losing a man."

Palmer was mustered out at Nashville, Tennessee on June 21, 1865.

After the war Palmer was elected secretary and treasurer of the Kansas Pacific Railroad Company. He extended that road from Sheridan, Kansas to Denver, Colorado and in 1869-1870 was involved in building the Denver Pacific Railroad from Denver to Cheyenne. Throughout his later life General Palmer was active in railroad construction in the southwest and also founded the city of Colorado Springs.

General William J. Palmer died in Colorado Springs on March 13, 1909 and is buried there in Evergreen Cemetery.  [ad]

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