Samuel Bell Palmer Collection
Scope and Contents
Journals and drawings by Samuel Bell Palmer during and about his time as a Confederate soldier, later Union prisoner at Camp Douglas, in the Civil War.
- 1862 - 1864
Conditions Governing Use
Material is available for research. Prior arrangement MUST be made by contacting the Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection at firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright held by donor family. No photographs, copies, or scans of material to be made, even for personal research, without permission from head of McClung.
Biographical / Historical
Samuel Bell Palmer (1843-1872) was a native of Knoxville, Tennessee. His father, William Palmer, an immigrant from Ireland, started life in Knoxville as a tailor and ended as a merchant. Palmer was named for his uncle, Samuel Bell, a noted silversmith, who twice served as mayor of Knoxville. Samuel B. Palmer and his brother John enlisted in the Confederate forces, becoming part of Capt. W. C. Kain’s (also sometimes called Mabry’s) Light Artillery in Knoxville on May 4, 1862. Sam Palmer kept small journals throughout his military service and drew small pencil sketches of scenes that he witnessed. When the Union Army occupied Knoxville in September 1863, Samuel and John Palmer were captured and sent to Camp Douglas in Chicago, Illinois. During his confinement, Sam Palmer continued to draw sketches from memory of scenes that he had witnessed, as well as of prison camp life. The most dramatic of his drawings records the divided loyalties of his hometown. It shows a day when large crowds gathered to observe the simultaneous recruitment of Union and Confederate troops on Knoxville’s Gay Street in 1861. The Palmer brothers were released on March 13, 1865 and soon were able to rejoin their family members, who had “refugeed” to Columbus, Georgia, to avoid taking the Oath of Allegiance. Sam Palmer and his family remained in Columbus, where he married Fannie M. Webster on April 13, 1868. Samuel Palmer died before reaching the age of 30, on February 11, 1872, and is buried in Linwood Cemetery in Columbus. Various family members preserved his letters and journals, which constitute a valuable and very personal view of the war in East Tennessee. (written by Steve Cotham)
Language of Materials
Existence and Location of Copies
Scans made of journals and sent to donors.
- Art and artists Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Confederate States of America. Army. Mabry’s Light Artillery Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Journals Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Palmer, Samuel Bell, 1843-1872 Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Tennessee History Civil War, 1861-1865 Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
Part of the Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection Repository
601 S Gay Street
Knoxville Tennessee 37902 United States