Felix Kirk Zollicoffer

Brigadier General

Headstone: Find-a-Grave

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Reference: Alabama Department of Archives & History. Custodian of the original pictures. Confederate Officers photo album.  http://www.archives.alabama.gov/conoffalb/index.html

Felix Kirk Zollicoffer was born on May 19, 1812, in Maury County, Tennessee. He received a rather scant education, and at the age of sixteen, he entered newspaper work in Paris, Tennessee. He served one year in the Seminole uprising of 1836 as a lieutenant of volunteers. Upon his return, he steadily forged ahead in the field of journalism, and at the same time became a political power in the state. His occupation of the minor offices of adjutant general and state comptroller (1845-49) and state senator (1849-52) were a small indication of the influence of a man who was able to carry Tennessee for the Whig candidate, General Winfield Scott, in the Presidential campaign of 1852 and to secure his own election to Congress at the same time. He served until 1859, having declined to run for a fourth term. A strong supporter of the Bell-Everett ticket in 1860 and a member of the "peace conference" in Washington the following year, Zollicoffer accepted a commission as brigadier general in the Provisional Confederate States Army on July 9, 1861. As department commander, he went to East Tennessee in an effort to mollify the strong Union sentiment in the area. His military dispositions were, unhappily, less well-conceived than his political strategy. In the face of positive suggestions to the contrary from General Albert Sidney Johnston, he moved his force to the Kentucky side of the Cumberland River prior to the arrival of his immediate superior, General George B. Crittenden. With the river at their back and with notice of the approach of a Federal column under General George H. Thomas, Crittenden was left with no choice but to advance and attack. In the ensuing sharp encounter at Mill Springs (Fishing Creek) on January 19, 1862, General Zollicoffer was instantly killed by a volley from a Union regiment, into the van of which he had ridden unaware. He is buried in City Cemetery, Nashville.

Ref: Generals in Gray, Lives of the Confederate Commanders by Ezra J. Warner.  Printed by Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge and London.