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Cowering Drunk Behind a Tree, Or Answering Nature's Call?
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Author:  Joe Meyer [ Thu Nov 14, 2013 7:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Cowering Drunk Behind a Tree, Or Answering Nature's Call?

Confederate commander Gideon J. Pillow was unofficially accused by John C. Breckinridge of having been found cowering behind a tree during the the last assault against Federal forces in the Battle of Murfreesboro. But, true or false? The surprising answer may be found in the 1963 biography by Nathaniel Cheairs Hughes, Jr. and Roy P. Stonesifer, Jr. entitled, The Life & Wars of Gideon J. Pillow.

Like the outward flowing ripples of a stone cast into the pool of history, once a rumor or falsehood has been initiated it may never be overtaken. Such was/is the fate of a number of highly placed American Civil War officers from both sides, and Gideon Pillow was certainly not the lessor of them. Perhaps no other non-West Pointer draws so much automatic disdain among casual students of the Civil War than he, the man who ingloriously fled Fort Donelson and then later led the Orphan Brigade into a crippling malestrom of Federal cannon on the 2nd of January, 1863. Yet the authors of this work have packed so much more into the biographical tale of this unique, political and military scion of Tennessee, that one wonders how overlooked and disregarded by modern historians he has become.

Nor was Murfreesboro the end of Pillow's remarkable career and service to the Confederacy. Braxton Bragg is said to have fully credited Pillow with the revitalization and rebuilding of the manpower of the Army of Tennesee following the dreadful and costly events of that battle. And while the story goes far beyond the Civil War in its portrayal of the man and his life, it is in large measure Pillow's political ties to President James Polk and his field service with Scott's army in the Mexican-American War that illuminate the complex personality of the man and his times. The book, written 100 years after Murfreesboro, stands as the definitive biography of the man, one whom must stand forth as one of the most famous, interesting and ultimately tragic figures of his day.

Author:  RobertWebb [ Fri Apr 25, 2014 1:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cowering Drunk Behind a Tree, Or Answering Nature's Call

My great-grandfather was in the 13th Tennessee Inf. under Pillow during the Battle of Belmont, Mo., Nov of 1861. According to Alfred J. Vaughan, who was Lt. Colonel of the regiment at the time, Pillow deployed his force on high ground in the middle of a field, but within range of the woods to their front, giving the yankees good cover and good targets. He then detached Company "A" from the regiment and posted it quite a distance away where it was easily overrun. This, along with the other negative events you cited puts me in the group that's down on Pillow.

Author:  Ernie Sands [ Sat Apr 26, 2014 10:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Cowering Drunk Behind a Tree, Or Answering Nature's Call

Quote:
This, along with the other negative events you cited puts me in the group that's down on Pillow.


I suppose no PUN intended!! :mrgreen:

Author:  RobertWebb [ Sat Apr 26, 2014 10:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Cowering Drunk Behind a Tree, Or Answering Nature's Call

8)

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