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 John McAuley Palmer

John McAuley Palmer

Birth
Scott County, Kentucky, USA
Death 25 Sep 1900 (aged 83)
Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois, USA
Burial Carlinville, Macoupin County, Illinois, USA
Memorial ID 5895174 · View Source
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Civil War Union Major General, 15th Illinois Governor, United States Senator. He was born in Scott County, Kentucky, the son of an antislavery family. At the age of 14 he moved with his father to Alton, Illinois, where he later would attend Shurtleff College from 1834 to 1836. After holding several odd jobs, he studied law privately in Carlinville; eventually opening a practice there. While there he became a Free Soil Democrat and served as a county judge, and a state senator. During his time in the latter position, he played a major role in electing Lyman Trumbull to the United States Senator in 1855. He and four other Anti-Nebraska Democrats spoiled Abraham Lincoln's bid for that seat by refusing to vote for any Whig. The following year however he changed political parties and became a Republican and was the organizer of the Illinois Republican party. At the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, he urged Lincoln's nomination for Vice President. He also vigorously supported Lincoln's campaign against Stephen A. Douglas for the Senate in 1858. In 1859, he was a failed candidate for the United States Congress. A strong antislavery Unionist, he also appreciated some states-rights arguments. At the Illinois state Republican convention in 1860, he introduced the resolution endorsing Lincoln for the Presidency. Later he served as a delegate to the 1860 Republican national convention where and the 1861 Washington Peace Conference. Finally despaired of national compromise and mustered in with the 14th Illinois Infantry as its Colonel on May 25, 1861. His political prominence helped him greatly when he asked for and eventually received from Lincoln an appointment as Brigadier General on December 20, 1861. He was given command of troops at La Mine Crossing, Missouri, on December 28. On February 23, 1862, he took command of Brigadier General John Pope's 2nd Division in the Army of the Mississippi. He led it in attacks on New Madrid and Island Number 10 in March and April. Next he commanded a brigade during Major General Henry W. Halleck's advance on Corinth, Mississippi, and led for nearly a month the 1st Division, Army of the Mississippi. Sent to Nashville, Tennessee, he joined the XIV Corps, Army of the Cumberland, and assumed command of its 2nd Division on December 10th. Fighting with the left wing of the army, he survived the Battle of Stone's River. He received a transfer to command the 2nd Division, XXI Corps, on January 9, 1863. On March 16th of that year, he received a promotion to Major General. He led his men at Chickamauga in September, then took over leadership of the XIV Corps on October 28th for the the Siege of Chattanooga and the summer 1864 campaign on Atlanta, Georgia. During this campaign he refused temporary subordination to Major General John M. Schofield, a Regular Army officer whose rank commission had received Senate confirmation later than his own. He loathed the aristocratic airs and tendencies to Caesarism among his fellow generals, especially West Pointers. A petty squabble with commanding officer William T. Sherman, ended with his request, granted August 7, 1864, to be relieved and transferred out of combat. He was appointed by Lincoln in February 1865 to command the Department of Kentucky, replacing S. G. Burbridge. He resigned from volunteer service on September 1, 1866. His post war career was distinguished by its political variety. After practicing law in Springfield, Illinois, he won election as Governor in 1868, took part in states-rights arguments with the Federal government, supported Horace Greeley's presidential campaign, then returned to the Democratic party, attending its 1884 national convention and in 1888 serving as its unsuccessful candidate for governor of Illinois. Elected to the United States Senate in 1891, he opposed Democratic leader William Jennings Bryan's position on a silver monetary standard and in 1896 ran for President of the United States on the splinter Gold Democrat ticket. Ironically his running mate was former Confederate Lieutenant General Simon B. Buckner, a man he had fought at Chickamauga. At age 80 he returned to his law practice, edited The Bench and Bar of Illinois, and wrote Personal Recollections of John M. Palmer: The Story of an Earnest Life, which was published posthumously in 1901. The historically valuable John M. Palmer papers are retained by the Illinois State Historical Library.

Bio by: Ugaalltheway


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 26 Oct 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 5895174
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for John McAuley Palmer (13 Sep 1817–25 Sep 1900), Find A Grave Memorial no. 5895174, citing Carlinville City Cemetery, Carlinville, Macoupin County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .