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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Dr. Thomas Martin Palmer, CSA

By Robert Sonntag


Among Florida doctors serving with distinction during the war was T. M. Palmer MD.  All three Palmer family doctors have been outstanding practicing physicians, leaders in the state, and presidents of the FMA. 

Young Tom came to Monticello in Jefferson County in 1829, eight years old and eight years after Florida became a United States territory. 

After graduating from the University of Maryland, he returned to Monticello where he spent his life in practice except for the Civil War.  He served in the Constitutional Convention of 1861, which passed the Ordinance of Secession.  During the war he served as a surgeon in the Confederate Army, chiefly in Virginia near Richmond. 

It was Dr. Tom who discovered Confederate officers looking over a site for headquarters that he had already chosen for a field hospital.  Approaching the leader, he urged him to seek another location for battle purposes so that he could retain the shaded area for the wounded.  Complying promptly with his request, the officers galloped away to another site. 

On the next day, Dr. Palmer was introduced to that leader, General Robert E. Lee.  Undaunted even by the presence of Lee, it is not surprising that Dr. Tom later during the stormy reconstruction caused a Republican governor to yield to his demand, in a face to face confrontation, for Democratic representation in Jefferson County government.  Dr. Tom Palmer was president of the FMA in 1876.

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