Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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PALMER, James Shedden, naval officer, born in New Jersey in 1810; died in St. Thomas, West Indies, 7 December, 1867. He became midshipman on 1 January, 1825, and lieutenant, 17 December, 1836, and served on the "Columbia" in the attack on Quallah Battoo and Mushie, in the island of Sumatra. In the Mexican war he was in command of the schooner "Flirt," engaged in blockading the Mexican coast. He was appointed commander on 14 September, 1855, and at the beginning of the civil war commanded the steamer "Iroquois," of the Mediterranean squadron, but was soon afterward attached to the Atlantic blockading fleet under Admiral Samuel F. Dupont. He became captain on 16 July, 1862, and in that summer led the advance in the passages of the Vicksburg batteries, and was engaged in the fight with the Confederate ram "Arkansas." At the passage of Vicksburg the flag-ship stopped her engines for a few minutes to allow the vessels in the rear to close up. Fancying that some accident had befallen the admiral, Palmner dropped the " Iroquois," which was the leading ship, down to the "Hartford." Not understanding this movement, Farragut hailed Palmer through his trumpet, saying: "Captain Palmer, what do you mean by disobeying my orders?" Palmer replied: "I thought, Admiral, that you had more fire than you could stand, and I came down to draw off a part of it." This piece of gallantry Farragut never forgot, and he remained Palmer's close friend. Palmer was commissioned commodore on 7 February, 1863, and at New Orleans and Mobile he was Farragut's flag-captain. He became rear-admiral on 25 July, 1866, and died of yellow fever while in command of the South Atlantic squadron in the West Indies. He was popularly known as "Pie-crust Palmer." Loyall Farragut, in his father's "Life and Letters," says of him : " Under a reserve of manner and dignified bearing, which almost amounted to pomposity, Palmer showed a warm and generous nature. He was brave and cool under fire, and always ready to obey big chief's commands. The writer has seen him going into battle dressed with scrupulous neatness, performing the last part of his toilet in buttoning his kid gloves as though he were about to enter a ball-room."
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