Grand Army of the Republic
David James Palmer
Commander-in-Chief 1914 / 1915

David James Palmer was born in Pennsylvania, on November 15, 1839, but spent most of his years in Iowa. As a youth of 21 and a resident of Washington, Iowa, he enlisted in Company C, 8th Iowa Infantry, on July 10, 1861. He was seriously wounded at Shiloh and was sent home to recuperate. Later he organized Company A, 25th Iowa Infantry, and became its Captain. He rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and commanded his regiment at Vicksburg and on Sherman's March to the Sea. At the close of the war, General Sherman led the troops in the Grand Review up Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C.. When Sherman took his place on the reviewing stand with the President, he left Lieutenant Colonel Palmer to lead the Union troops in the great parade.

Returning home after the war, Colonel Palmer engaged in agriculture. Later he served as County Auditor, State Senator, and Railroad Commissioner. At the Annual Encampment at Dubuque in 1907, he was elected Department Commander. In 1914, Colonel Palmer was named Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic. In this high office, it was his privilege to review the veteran troops as they again marched up Pennsylvania Avenue at the National Grand Army Encampment held in Washington, D.C., in 1915, fifty years after the close of the war.

Colonel Palmer lived until November 20, 1928, having attained the age of 89 years.


Article submitted by:
Ron Rittel
Camp Commander, Col. Noah W. Mills #45
Department Council, Webmaster and Signals Officer
Department of Iowa
Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
August 2001

Photograh submitted by:
George G. Kane
July 2001

Swisher, J.A. 1936. The Iowa Department of the Grand Army of the Republic. State Historical Society of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa.

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