George Henry Palmer MOH

b. 16/04/1841 Leonardsville, New York. d. 07/04/1901 Durand, Illinois.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 20/09/1861 Lexington, Missouri.

George H Palmer MOH

Born April 16, 1841, in Leonardsville, New York, his family moved to Monmouth, Illinois, in 1845. He lived in Monmouth until 1855 when he went to live with his grandfather (Harding) at West Winfield, New York, where he attended the West Winfield Academy. He returned to Monmouth in 1857, enrolling in Monmouth College with the class of 1861. During the summer of 1860 he went to Chicago to attend Sloanes Commercial College (located on Washington Street near the Court House). He also worked for a farmer in McHenry County, and, being a Republican, he campaigned for the election of Abraham Lincoln. He returned to Monmouth in the autumn of 1860.

Palmer was of military stock. His great-grandfather was a colonel in the Revolutionary War and was at Saratoga at Burgoyne’s surrender. His grandfather was a major general of the New York state militia. His father was Paymaster and Captain of Dragoons, commissioned by William H. Seward, governor of New York. He was also an officer of cavalry in the Mexican–American War and captain of the First Illinois Cavalry during the American Civil War.

In April 1861 he enlisted with the 17th Illinois Infantry and was the first man from Warren County to do so. When the Civil War broke out, many students, faculty, and administrators of Monmouth College enlisted in the military. In the end, another Monmouth College classmate along with Palmer would receive the Medal of Honor related to actions during the Civil War, or as Palmer referred to it in his journal, “the war of the Rebellion”.

The medal was presented to him on March 10, 1896. The citation read: “Volunteered to fight in the trenches and also led a charge which resulted in the recapture of a Union hospital, together with Confederate sharpshooters then occupying the same.” His actions also resulted in “the capture of rebel sharpshooters then occupying the hospital while serving as bugler.”

Palmer later entered the regular Army and provided service in the Spanish–American War, after which he was promoted to the rank of major, serving with the 4th United States Infantry. He retired February 27, 1899.



Volunteered to fight in the trenches and also led a charge which resulted in the recapture of a Union hospital, together with Confederate sharpshooters then occupying the same.