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Civil War Soldiers - Tower

Tower, Zealous B., brigadier-general, U.S. Army, was born in Cohasset, Mass., Jan. 12, 1819. He was graduated at West Point in 1841 at the head of the class, was commissioned second lieutenant in the engineer corps on July 1, 1841, was on duty for a year as assistant to the board of engineers, and in 1842 became assistant professor of engineering at West Point. From 1843 to 1846 he was employed in the construction of the fortifications at Hampton Roads. He was raised to the rank of first lieutenant in April, 1847, and during the Mexican war rendered brilliant and effective service at Cerro Gordo, Contreras, Chapultepec, and in the operations which ended in the surrender of the City of Mexico. Between 1848 and 1861 he was engaged in engineering work, mainly on the Pacific coast. He was promoted captain on July 1, 1855, and major of engineers on Aug. 6, 1861. He skillfully and successfully conducted the defence of Fort Pickens, Fla., on Nov. 23, 1861, and as a reward was promoted to brigadier-general of volunteers, his commission to date from that time. He served with honor under Gen. N. P. Banks and Gen. John Pope in northern Virginia, and at the second battle of Bull Run received a wound that incapacitated him for service for the time being. From July to Sept., 1864, he was superintendent of the West Point academy. He then returned to duty in the field with the Army of the West, as chief engineer superintended the construction of the defenses in front of Nashville and participated in the battle at that place in December. He continued to serve in the West and South until the close of the war, holding responsible staff offices in the military divisions of the Mississippi and Tennessee. In 1865 he was made lieutenant-colonel of engineers and was repeatedly brevetted "for gallant and meritorious services," reaching the rank of brevet major-general, U. S. A., on March 13, 1865. On Jan. 15, 1866, he was mustered out of the volunteer service, and during the following eight years was engaged in improving the principal harbors of the country, both for commercial and military purposes. He was promoted colonel of engineers Jan. 13, 1874, and on the same day was voluntarily placed on the retired list of the army. Gen. Tower died on March 20, 1900.

Source: The Union Army: A History of Military Affairs in the Loyal States 1861-1865, Volume 8 Biographical, 1908

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