Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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PALMER, James Croxall, naval surgeon, born in Baltimore, Maryland, 29 June, 1811; died in Washington, D. C., 24 April, 1883. He was graduated at Dickinson in 1829, and studied medicine at the University of Maryland, where he took his degree. In 1834 he was commissioned assistant surgeon. He was ordered, on 17 July, 1838, to the store-ship "Relief," of the exploring expedition under Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, and in attempting the Brecknock passage into the straits of Magellan, was transferred to the sloop " Peacock," the adventurous cruise of which is recorded in the general history of the exploring expedition. Dr. Palmer recorded one episode in a poem, the last edition of which is entitled "The Antarctic Mariner's Song" (New York, 1868). After the wreck of the "Peacock" at the mouth of Columbia river, 19 July, 1841, he commanded a large shore-party at Astoria. On 27 October, 1842, he was commissioned surgeon, and served in the Washington navy-yard, where he had charge of those who were wounded by the explosion on the "Princeton." He served in Mexican waters during the annexation of Texas and the consequent war, and in 1857 he was ordered to the steam-frigate "Niagara" on the first effort to lay the Atlantic cable, and originated a plan for splicing the wire in mid-ocean, he was afterward attached to the naval academy in Annapolis, and when it was transferred to Newport, Rhode Island, during the civil war, he assumed its sole medical charge. He was on the flag-ship "Hartford" as fleet surgeon at the battle of Mobile Bay, 5 August, 1864, was ordered by Farragut to go to all the monitors and tell them to attack the "Tennessee," and went around the fleet in the admiral's steam-barge "Loyall" to aid surgeons who had no assistants. Upon his return to the "Hartford," after the battle, he was ordered by Farragut to go on board the enemy's ram "Tennessee," just captured, and to attend Admiral Franklin Buchanan. He saved the leg of this officer, which had been broken during the engagement, by refusing to resort to amputation, as had been proposed by the surgeon of the Confederate fleet. Dr. Palmer brought about an agreement between Stephen R. Mallory and Admiral Farragut to exempt all medical officers and attendants from detention as prisoners of war. He was afterward in charge of the naval hospital in Brooklyn, New York, for about four years. On 3 March, 1871, he was commissioned medical director, and on 10 June, 1872, he became surgeon-general of the navy, and was retired on 29 June, 1873. He published some important professional contributions through the bureau of medicine and surgery.--His brother, John Williamson, author, born in Baltimore, Maryland, 4 April, 1825, was graduated at the University of Maryland in 1847, and studied medicine in Baltimore. He was the first city physician of San Francisco in 1849-'50, and subsequently wrote a series of graphic papers relating to that time for "Putnam's Monthly." In 1851-'2 he was surgeon of the East India company's war-steamer "Phlegethon" in the Burmese war, being the only American that ever held a commission in the East India company's navy. He was Confederate war-correspondent of the "New York Tribune" in 1863-'4, and since that time has been a frequent contributor to journals and magazines. In 1870 he returned from Baltimore to New York, and is now (1888) engaged on the editorial staff of the English dictionary in preparation by the Century company. In addition to many translations, including Miehelet's "L'Amour" (New York, 1860) and " La Femme" (1860), the latter of which he accomplished in seventy-two hours' work, he has compiled a book of "Folk-Songs" (1860) and five volumes of poetry (Boston, 1867). He is the author of "The Golden Dagon, or Up and Down the Irrawaddi" (New York, 1853); "The New and the Old, or California and India in Romantic Aspects" (1859); "The Beauties and Curiosities of Engraving" (Boston, 1879); "A Portfolio of Autograph Etchings" (London, Paris, and Boston. 1882); and a novel entitled " After His Kind," published under the pen-name of "John Coventry" (New York, 1886). He has also written several poems, including "For Charlie's Sake" and "Stonewall Jackson's Way."--John Williamson's wife, Henrietta Lee, author, born in Baltimore, Maryland, 6 February, 1834, was educated at Patapsco institute, Ellicott city, Maryland, and was married in 1855. She has contributed to several journals, translated "The Lady Tartuffe" for Rachel, the actress, and is the author of "The Stratford Gallery, or The Shakespeare Sisterhood" (New York, 1858), and "Home Life in the Bible" (Boston, 1882).
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