Zealous Bates Tower

Zealous Bates Tower (January 12, 1819March 20, 1900) was an American soldier and civil engineer who served as a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He was most noted for constructing the solid defenses of Federal-occupied Nashville, Tennessee, which proved to withstand repeated attacks by the Confederates.

Birth and early years

Tower was born at Cohasset, Massachusetts. He graduated with first honors at West Point in 1841. He served under General Scott in the Mexican War, led the storming column at Contreras, and was wounded at Chapultepec. After the war, Tower served as an engineer. He was responsible for the initial construction of the Federal facilities on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay and Fort Point, San Francisco.

Civil War

At the outbreak of the Civil War, he was chief engineer in the defense of Fort Pickens. In November 1861, he was made brigadier general of volunteers. On August 30, 1862, Tower was severely wounded at Manassas After recovering, he was superintendent of West Point from July until September 1864. He then became chief engineer of the defenses of Nashville, Tennessee, and his skillful work at that place contributed to the total defeat of John Bell Hood's Army of Tennessee in December 1864. He was brevetted as a major general in the United States volunteer army dating from March 1865 in the omnibus promotions that followed the war.

Tower stayed in the Regular Army after the Civil War. In November 1865, he became a lieutenant colonel in the Engineer Corps. Tower supervised the work of improving several major harbors, both for commercial and military purposes. He was promoted to colonel in January 1874. Tower retired from the service in 1883.

He was an original founding member of the Aztec Club of 1847, a social organization for officers who served in the Mexican-American War.

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