Zealous Bates Tower

Zealous Bates Tower, born in Co-hasset, Massachusetts, on January 12, 1819, was a lineal descendant of one John Tower who emigrated from Hingham, England, to Hingham, Massachusetts, in 1637. Young Tower entered the Military Academy in 1837 and was graduated in 1841, ranking first in the class. Twenty-one of the thirty-seven members of this class surviving in 1861 became general officers in either the Union or Confederate armies. Tower was commissioned an engineer officer and during the Mexican War won the brevets of first lieutenant, captain, and major for gallantry while serving on the staff of General Winfield Scott. In the years preceding the Civil War he performed engineering duty on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. His first wartime service was as chief engineer for the defenses of Fort Pickens, Florida, during 1861. He was made a brigadier general of volunteers on June 12, 1862, to rank from November 23, 1861, and during the campaign of Second Manassas directed a brigade of Ricketts' division of McDowell's corps, fighting at Cedar Mountain, Thoroughfare Gap, and the battle of Second Manassas. He was "particularly distinguished by the long marches which he made, by his incessant activity, and by the distinguished gallantry he displayed in the action of the 30th of August, in which action he was severely wounded [while] at the head of his brigade." This wound incapacitated Tower for further field service. In July, 1864, he returned to duty and was assigned as superintendent at West Point. In September, however, he was sent to Nashville to strengthen the defenses and he remained there until the end of the war. He was then brevetted major general in both the regular and volunteer forces. Tower was promoted to lieutenant colonel of engineers in November, 1865, and colonel in January, 1874. After retiring in 1883, he returned to the city of his birth to live. He died there on March 20, 1900, and was buried in Central Cemetery.

Previous Page

Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.