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Bill Thayer

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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1846

Vol. II

(Born N. Y.)

Innis N. Palmer

(Ap'd N. Y.)


Innis Newton Palmer: Born Mar. 30, 1824, Buffalo, NY.

Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, July 1, 1842, to July 1, 1846, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Bvt. Second Lieut., Mounted Rifles, July 1, 1846.

Served: in the War with Mexico, 1846‑47, being engaged in the Siege of Vera Cruz, Mar. 9‑29, 1847, — Battle of Cerro Gordo, Apr. 17‑18,

(Second Lieut., Mounted Rifles, July 20, 1847)

1847, — Battle of Contreras, Aug. 19‑20, 1847, — Battle of Churubusco,

(Bvt. First Lieut., Aug. 20, 1847, for Gallant and Meritorious Conduct
in the Battles of Contreras and Churubusco, Mex.)

Aug. 20, 1847, — Battle of Chapultepec, Sep. 13, 1847, where he was

(Bvt. Capt., Sep. 13, 1847, for Gallant Conduct at Chapultepec, Mex.)

wounded, — and Assault and Capture of the City of Mexico, Sep. 13‑14, 1847; in garrison at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., 1848; on Recruiting service, 1848; in garrison at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., 1848‑49; on Recruiting service, 1849; on frontier duty, on the March to Oregon, 1849, — Oregon City, 1849‑50, — Ft. Vancouver, Wash., 1850‑51, — as Adjutant, Mounted Rifles, May 1, 1850, to July 1, 1854, — at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., 1851, — Ft. Merrill, Tex., 1852, — Scouting, 1852, — Ft. Ewell,

(First Lieut., Mounted Rifles, Jan. 27, 1853)

Tex., 1852‑53, — and Ft. Inge, Tex., 1853‑54; on Recruiting service, 1854‑55; in garrison at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., 1855; on frontier duty

(Captain, 2d Cavalry, Mar. 3, 1855)

at Ft. Mason, Tex., 1856, — Camp Verde, Tex., 1856‑57, — Scouting, 1857, — Camp Verde, Tex., 1857‑58, — March to Ft. Belknap, Tex., 1858, — Camp Cooper, Tex., 1858, — and March to Brazos Agency, Tex., 1858; on detached service at Washington, D. C., 1859; in conducting recruits to Texas and the Indian Territory, 1860‑61; and on frontier

(Major, 2d Cavalry, Apr. 25, 1861: 5th Cavalry, Aug. 3, 1861)

duty at Camp Cooper, Tex., 1861, — Ft. Chadbourne, Tex., 1861, — and Indianola, Tex., 1861.

Served during the Rebellion of the Seceding States, 1861‑66: in Defense of Washington, D. C., Apr. to July, 1861; in command of the Regular Cavalry in the Manassas Campaign of July, 1861, being engaged

(Bvt. Lieut.‑Col., July 21, 1861,
for Gallant and Meritorious Services at the Battle of Bull Run, Va.)

in the Battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861; in the Defenses of Washington,

(Brig.‑General, U. S. Volunteers, Sep. 23, 1861)

 p286  D. C., July, 1861, to Mar., 1862; in the Virginia Peninsular Campaign, in command of Brigade, 4th Corps (Army of the Potomac), Mar. to Aug., 1862, being engaged in the Siege of Yorktown, Apr. 5-May 4, 1862, — Battle of Williamsburg, May 5, 1862, — Battle of Fair Oaks, May 31, 1862, — Battle of Glendale, June 30, 1862, — and Battle of Malvern Hill, July 1, 1862; in organizing and forwarding to the field New Jersey and Delaware Volunteers, Aug. to Nov., 1862; in superintending Camps of Drafted Men at Philadelphia, Pa., Nov. to Dec., 1862; in Operations in North Carolina, Dec. 24, 1862, to June 27, 1865, being engaged in command of 1st Division, 18th Army Corps, Jan. 1 to July 10, 1863, — of the Department of North Carolina, Feb. 1 to Mar. 2, 1863, — of the District of Pamlico, July 10‑25, 1863, — of the 18th Army Corps, July 25 to Aug. 18, 1863, — of the Defenses of Newberne, N. C., Aug. 18,

(Lieut.‑Colonel, 2d Cavalry, Sep. 23, 1863)

1863, to Apr. 19, 1864, — of the District of North Carolina, Apr. 19, 1864, to Mar., 1865,​a — and of the District of Beaufort, Mar. to June 27,

(Bvt. Colonel, Mar. 13, 1865,
for Gallant and Meritorious Services during the Rebellion)

(Bvt. Brig.‑General, U. S. Army, Mar. 13, 1865,
for Gallant and Meritorious Services in the Field during the Rebellion)

(Bvt. Maj.‑General, U. S. Volunteers, Mar. 13, 1865,
for Long and Meritorious Services)

1865, participating in Major-General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Sherman's movements, and in the Action of Kinston, Mar., 1865; awaiting orders, June 25, 1865, to Feb. 8, 1866; and on leave of absence, Feb. 8 to May 21, 1866.

Served: in command of 2d Cavalry, at Ft. Ellsworth, Kan., May 21 to

(Mustered out of Volunteer Service, Jan. 15, 1866)

Sep. 1, 1866; on leave of absence, Sep. 22 to Oct. 17, 1866; awaiting orders, Oct. 17 to Nov. 12, 1866; in command of regiment at Ft. Laramie, Dak., Dec. 6, 1866, to Aug., 1867, and Nov. 21, 1867, to July 14, 1868; on leave of absence, Aug. to Nov., 1867; as Member of Board on

(Colonel, 2d Cavalry, June 9, 1868)

a system of Cavalry Tactics, to Apr. 26, 1869; in command of regiment and Omaha Barracks, Neb., June 4, 1869, to Sep. 11, 1872, — of the District of the Republican, Jan. 4‑29, 1872 (leave of absence, Sep. 14 to Oct. 14, 1872), — and of regiment and Ft. Sanders, Wy., Oct. 14, 1872, to Mar. 17, 1873; under orders of U. S. Attorney-General, Mar. to June, 1873; in command of regiment and Ft. Sanders, Wy., June 25, 1873, to Jan. 4, 1874; as Member of Cavalry Equipment Board, Jan. to May, 1874; in command of regiment and Ft. Sanders, Wy., May 22 to Aug. 20, 1874, and Nov. 7, 1874, to May 25, 1875; as Member of Board on Cavalry Cartridge, May to June, 1875, and Nov. to Dec., 1875; on leave of absence, June 24 to Nov. 4, 1875; in command of regiment and Ft. Sanders, Wy., Dec. 1, 1875, to Sep. 7, 1876; and on sick leave of absence, Sep. 7, 1876, to Mar. 20, 1879.

Retired from Active Service upon his own application, Mar. 20, 1879,
having served over 30 Years.

Vol. V
[Supplement, Vol. IV: 1890‑1900]

Military History. — Retired officer. — Residence, Washington, D. C.

Vol. V
[Supplement, Vol. V: 1900‑1910]

Military History. — Retired officer. — Residence, Washington, D. C.

Died Sep. 9, 1900, at Chevy Chase, Md.: Aged 76.

See Annual Association of Graduates, U. S. M. A., 1901, for an obituary notice.

Buried, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA.

Thayer's Note:

a Gen. Palmer entered on his responsibilities amid what can only be considered a war crime by Union troops under his command, and to his credit he denounced it as such at the time. The following passage, from "Beaufort County's Contribution to a Notable Era of North Carolina History" by historian (and U. S. Congressman) Lindsay C. Warren, as printed in the Raleigh News and Observer, Dec. 18, 1929, is worth preserving:

The brilliant feat of General Hoke in capturing Plymouth on April 20, 1864, caused General Harland, the Union commander at Washington, to receive an order to evacuate the town. On April 30 the last Federal troops, after firing the different portions of the town, embarked. For the three preceding days the town was given up to sack and pillage. The plundering was not confined to the public stores and supplies but was general and indiscriminate. Gen. I. N. Palmer, who will always be remembered by the citizens of eastern Carolina for his kindness and consideration, as well as for his soldierly qualities at that time commanded the district of North Carolina. He was an honorable foe. In the general orders issued after the evacuation, he thus characterizes these outrages:

"It is also well known that the army vandals did not even respect the charitable institutions, but bursting open the doors of the Masonic and Odd Fellows Lodges, pillaged them both, and hawked about the street the regalia and jewels. It is also well known, too, that both public and private stores were entered and plundered, and that devastation and destruction ruled the hour.

"The commanding general had until this time believed it impossible that any troops in his command could have committed so disgraceful an act as this which now blackens the fair fame of the army of North Carolina. He finds, however, that he was sadly mistaken, and that the ranks are disgraced by men who are not soldiers but thieves and scoundrels, dead to all sense of honor and humanity, for whom no punishment can be too severe."

A board of investigation, presided over by Col. James W. Savage, Twelfth New York Cavalry, scathingly denounced the burning and plundering of the town, and said "there could be no palliation of the utterly lawless and wanton character of the plundering."

The fire burned from Pamlico River clear through to the northern limits, and covered eight solid blocks. The bridge was also fired. Nearly one-half of the town was destroyed by this conflagration. No military necessity required the burning of Washington. It was not necessary to cover the evacuation or to aid the escape of the garrison. No hostile force was then investing the town. A few days later, when the Confederates entered, an accidental fire broke out, and fanned by a high wind almost destroyed the other half. After this baptism the town was desolate and ruined. There were scarcely 500 inhabitants remaining of what had been an enterprising and prosperous community of 3,800 three years before.

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