Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/354

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This venerable naturalist had for many years been a prisoner of the Paraguayans, but he was now living like a patriarch on his own plantation, surrounded by a brood of sons and daughters and cared for by a devoted native wife.

On his return to the United States Edward Palmer first went to Cleveland to give his friends an account of his wanderings, and then to England to visit the home of his childhood, as well as the great World's Fair at the Crystal Palace. Coming back to America, he took a course of medical instruction, to supplement as well as possible the practical knowledge he had acquired on the Water Witch. He then received an appointment as collector in connection with the Geological Survey of California, working under the direction of Dr. Cooper, especially on the marine invertebrates of the California seacoast. He was thus engaged when the civil war broke out.

In 1862, when President Lincoln called for troops. Palmer returned east and applied for a position as acting assistant surgeon in the army, relying on his past experience as a voucher for his fitness for the work. He accompanied Colonel Leavenworth to Colorado, under the promise of an appointment, but for many months he served without appointment or pay in caring for sick soldiers at various posts. At Fort Lyon there was much sickness among the troops, and he was ordered to relieve the contract surgeon at that post. From this time until the close of the war he was engaged at various posts, often riding with the sick in ambulances, but not resisting the temptation en route to alight and gather up plants, reptiles and other objects which seemed to him of interest; for he was a born collector. One of his last stations was Kansas City, where he assisted the surgeon in the city hospital.

After the close of the war he was stationed at various posts in Arizona and the Indian Territory, where his work of attending the sick was pleasantly varied with his occupation as a collector, sometimes receiving scant sympathy from his commanding officers, sometimes encouraged by them to pursue his work in the cause of science; but always on his detachment from a post carrying with him testimonials as to the faithful performance of his duties, his tender care of the sick, and his remarkable success in using simple herbs and local remedies when his official supply of medicines was exhausted. His personal notes teem with interesting anecdotes, such as an account of a scouting expedition against the Apaches, on which he collected ethnological material while half-breed soldiers were bayonetting and scalping hostile Indians; and the story of his vicissitudes during an epidemic of sickness at Fort Grant, when he himself was stricken. He did not on that account cease to add to his collection, but while he lay in the little hut that served as his dispensary he was aided by a cat that brought in small animals to her kittens. He would seize her gently, take away her prey, and after