Col. WILLIAM J. PALMER
15th Pennsylvania Cavalry
Red Hill, Ala
14 January 1865
All that Col. Palmer’s Medal of Honor citation states is:
“With less than 200 men, attacked and defeated a superior force of the enemy, capturing their fieldpiece and about 100 prisoners without losing a man.”
At just 25, very early in the Civil War, Palmer raised and trained a mounted contingent of elite scouts (much like today’s Rangers) known as the Anderson Troop.
Union Maj. Gen. Buell saw the value in such elite warriors and encouraged Palmer to return to Pennsylvania and recruit an entire regiment. (oddly enough known as the 160th Cav Regiment – is this possibly the origin of the 160th SOAR designation?)
The result was the 15th Pennsylvania Cavalry and a thorn in R.E. Lee’s side.
During Palmer’s time as a Soldier he not only commanded an elite Cavalry Regiment, he served as a Union Spy, going so far as to dine with Rebel Officers to gather information.
Held 4 months as a suspected spy under the Name Peters, Col Palmer was finally released and returned to service in the Union Army, where he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his command at Red Hill Ala.
Palmer was promoted to brevet Brigadier General in April 1865. He lived peacefully in Colorado until his death on March 13, 1909.