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Zealous Bates Tower
Personal Information
Born: January 12, 1819(1819-01-12)
Place of Birth: {{{place of birth}}}
Died: March 20, 1900 (aged 81)
Place of Death: {{{place of death}}}
Birth Name: {{{birth name}}}
Other Information
Allegiance: United States of America
Participation(s): {{{participations}}}
Branch: United States Army
Union Army
Service Years: {{{service years}}}
Rank: Brevet Major General
Service number : {{{servicenumber}}}
Battles: Mexican-American War
  • Battle of Contreras
  • Battle of Chapultepec

American Civil War

Other work: {{{otherwork}}}

Zealous Bates Tower (January 12, 1819 – March 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 to a family settled at adjacent Hingham since its founding. 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.[1] 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. Tower served in I Corps when it was listed as III Corps in MG John Pope's Army of Virginia. He led a brigade in the division of Brig. Gen. James B. Ricketts. On August 30, 1862, Tower was severely wounded at the Second Battle of Bull Run

After recovering from his wound, Tower 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 at the Battle of Nashville in December 1864. He was appointed a brevet major general of volunteers dating from March 1865 in the omnibus promotions that followed the war.[2]

Post war[]

File:Z B Tower UA ACW.jpg

Tower in later life

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.[3]

See also[]

32x28px United States Army portal
32x28px American Civil War portal




  1. NIE.
  2. Appleton's Cyclopedia.
  3. "Zealous Bates Tower". Aztec Club. Retrieved 2009-04-19. 

External links[]

Template:Start box |- ! colspan="3" style="background: #CF9C65;" | Military offices

|- style="text-align: center;" |- style="text-align:center;" |width="30%" align="center" rowspan="1"|Preceded by
Alexander Hamilton Bowman |width="40%" style="text-align: center;" rowspan="1"|Superintendent of the United States Military Academy
1864 - 1866 |width="30%" align="center" rowspan="1"| Succeeded by
George Washington Cullum |- |}

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