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Confederate (CSV)


William Henry Palmer

(1835 - 1926)

Home State: Virginia

Command Billet: Staff officer

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: Kemper's Brigade

Before Sharpsburg

A 25 year old merchant in Richmond, he enlisted as a Private on 21 April 1861 but was commissioned First Lieutenant, Company D, First Virginia Infantry on 27 April (to date from 18 April). He was acting Quartermaster of the regiment in May and June and was appointed Adjutant on 12 September 1861. He was elected Major on the reorganization of 27 April 1862 and commanded the regiment at Williamsburg, VA on 5 May 1862, where he was wounded in his right arm but remained on the field. He joined General Kemper's staff as a volunteer aide-de-camp (VADC) in August 1862.

On the Campaign

He's sometimes listed as in command of the First Virginia Infantry in Maryland, but was not with them. He was serving on General Kemper's staff as a volunteer aide-de-camp there.

The rest of the War

He was ordered to General A.P. Hill's staff as Major and Acting Assistant Adjutant General (AAAG) on 9 October 1862. He suffered a dislocated shoulder at Chancellorsville, VA in May 1863, reporting "my right arm was torn from the socket." He was commissioned Major and Assistant Adjutant General, CSA to date from 2 May 1863 and Lieutenant Colonel and AAG on 19 February 1864. After General Hill's death at Petersburg, VA on 2 April 1865, Palmer was on General Longstreet's staff to the surrender at Appomattox Court House on 9 April.

After the War

After the war he was president of the Southern Fertilizer Company (by 1880), the Virginia Fire and Marine Insurance Company, and the City Bank of Richmond (to at least 1920) in Richmond, VA. He was associated with the warehouse which had been Libby Prison during the war, perhaps owning it at least briefly. He had a "fine summer home" on Main Street in Blacksburg, VA.

References & notes

His service from his Compiled Service Records (CSR), online from fold3, the War History,1 and Krick.2 The regimental command situation at Sharpsburg from Clemens.3 Personal details from family genealogists and the US Census of 1880-1920. His gravesite is on Findagrave.

He married Sarah Elizabeth Amiss (1835-1907) in November 1856 and they had 9 children.

More on the Web

See a Timeline of Libby Prison's History for mentions of Colonel Palmer after the War.


10/09/1835; Richmond, VA


07/14/1926; Richmond, VA; burial in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, VA


1   Loehr, Charles Theodore, War History of the Old First Virginia Infantry Regiment, Army of Northern Virginia, Richmond: W.E. Jones, printer, 1884, pp. 5, 17, 21, 26, 28, 31  [AotW citation 26198]

2   Krick, Robert E.L., Staff Officers in Gray; A Biographical Register of the Staff Officers in the Army of Northern Virginia, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003, pg. 236  [AotW citation 26199]

3   Carman, Ezra Ayers, and Dr. Thomas G. Clemens, editor, The Maryland Campaign of September 1862, 3 volumes, El Dorado Hills (CA): Savas Beatie, 2010-17, Vol. II, pg. 549 (note 87)  [AotW citation 26200]