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David James Palmer Papers

Identifier: MsC0438

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Scope and Contents

The papers of David James Palmer consist primarily of transcripts of his Civil War correspondence. He describes campaigns and battles as well as camp life. Also included is a typescript copy of a manuscript by Helen E. Livingston, titled "Sing the Jubilee" which is based on his letters.


  • Creation: 1862-1887
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1862-1865


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Biographical / Historical

David James Palmer was born on November 15, 1839, in Pennsylvania. His parents first moved to Ohio when he was a child and later moved to Washington County, Iowa. Palmer attended the United Presbyterian College in Washington, Iowa. In July 1861, he enlisted in Company C of the 8th Iowa Infantry. On April 6, 1862, he was severely wounded in the Battle of Shiloh. He was sent home, unable to walk and with his left arm completely paralyzed. By July of that year, he was once again able to walk and was commissioned by the Governor of Iowa to recruit a company. He returned to the war as the captain of Company A, 25th Iowa Infantry and within a short period of time was promoted to lieutenant colonel. He served the rest of the war with this regiment, taking part in the siege of Vicksburg and Sherman's March to the Sea.

After the hostilities ceased, Col. Palmer returned again to Washington, Iowa, and the family farm. In the 1880s he was elected to the state senate and became a state railroad commissioner. One of the greatest honors of his life was being appointed to the Grand Commandership of the National G.A.R. in 1914. Palmer died at the age of eighty-nine, on November 19, 1928.


0.50 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Civil War soldier. Typescripts of his Civil War correspondence, describing campaigns, battles, and camp life.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifted to the University of Iowa in 1983 by David R. Elder.

Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)