EXCELLENT BUST VIEW OF CONFEDERATE GENERAL GIDEON J. PILLOW IN CIVILIAN CLOTHES

$350.00

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Item Code: 1138-444

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Vignette bust view of Pillow in a dark civilian suit. The General looks younger than usual and this may very well be a pre-war or very early war image.

Clarity and contrast are excellent. Mount and paper are also very good.

Reverse has a photographer’s paper label for W. C. WEMYSS… N.Y. Period pencil ID at top reads “GEN. PILLOW.” There is also collector information in pencil at bottom.

Image is from the collection of the late William A. Turner.

Gideon Johnson Pillow was born on June 8, 1806 in Williamson County, Tennessee. He came from a well-connected, property-owning family with a reputation for Indian fighting and loyalty to Andrew Jackson. He graduated from the University of Nashville in 1827 and practiced law in Columbia, Tennessee, where he became friends and a law partner with future President James K. Polk.

During the Mexican War, Polk appointed Pillow Brigadier General of Volunteers.  Pillow managed to infuriate both Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott and narrowly missed being court-martialed for trying to take credit for victories at Churubusco and Contreras.  Afterwards, he failed to win a Senate seat and was twice unable to win a nomination for Vice President.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Tennessee Governor Isham Harris made Pillow a major general in the Provisional Army of Tennessee.  In July 1861 he became a brigadier general in the Confederate Army and received the thanks of the Confederate Congress for his role in the December 1861 Battle of Belmont, Missouri. After Belmont, Pillow was briefly given command of Fort Donelson.

During the February 1862 assault at Fort Donelson, Pillow was initially successful in his attack on Grant’s forces.  However, he decided to pull his men back into their trenches – losing all of the ground they had won that day.  The commanding general, John B. Floyd, turned command over to Gideon Pillow.  Pillow, in turn, gave command to Simon Bolivar Buckner.  Buckner surrendered the fort to Grant.

Pillow commanded a brigade of Tennessee soldiers during the last day of Stones River.  The division commander, Maj. Gen. John C. Breckenridge, was infuriated when he found Pillow hiding behind a tree instead of leading his men.

After Stones River, Pillow headed the Army of Tennessee’s Volunteer and Conscription Bureau and in 1865 he was appointed commissary General of Prisoners.  Following the war, Pillow practiced law once again – this time with Isham Harris.

Pillow died in Helena, Arkansas of yellow fever on October 8, 1878 and is buried in Elmwood Cemetery, Memphis, Tennessee.   [AD][PH:L]

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