He supported the nomination of fellow-Tennessean James K. Polk at the 1844 Democratic National Convention.
In 1847, Pillow was commissioned a brigadier general of volunteers to serve in the Mexican-American War, and was later promoted to major general. He performed reasonably well, and was wounded that year at Cerro Gordo and Chapultepec. However, controversy arose when, in a series of letters, Pillow tried to take what was perceived by some as undue credit for American victories at the expense of his commander, Major General Winfield Scott.
Pillow was court-martialed for insubordination, but with President Polk's assistance, the court-martial was reduced to a court of inquiry, which in 1848 exonerated Pillow of any wrongdoing. After the war, Pillow served as a delegate from Alabama the Nashville Convention of 1850, where he supported compromise. He remained active in supporting the Democratic Party. At the start of the Civil War in 1861, Pillow supported secession, and was commissioned a brigadier general in the Confederate Army in July.Pillow received the thanks of the Confederate Congress for driving off the Union force at the Battle of Belmont, Missouri. Pillow controversially failed to exploit a temporary break through of Union lines by his troops which might have allowed the Confederate garrison of Fort Donelson to escape at the Battle of Fort Donelson on February 15, 1862.
The next night, before the surrender of the fort, Brigadier General John B. Floyd passed overall command of the fort to Pillow, who in turn passed it to Brigadier General Simon Buckner. Floyd and Pillow managed to personally escape with a few aides before Buckner surrendered the remaining garrison to the Union Army of Brigadier General Ulysses S. These actions sent his military career and reputation into eclipse. Pillow commanded a brigade at the Battle of Stones River in 1863, where he performed poorly, and was among the few generals in the army to praise the leadership of commanding General Braxton Bragg.
Removed from combat duty, he worked mainly in recruiting assignments through the remainder of the war. Bankrupt after the war, Pillow resumed a successful legal career.The item "Civil War Confederate General Gideon Pillow Fort Donelson" is in sale since Sunday, January 14, 2018. This item is in the category "Collectibles\Militaria\Civil War (1861-65)\Original Period Items\Photographs". The seller is "civil_war_photos" and is located in Midland, Michigan.
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