|Gideon Johnson Pillow
b. June 8, 1806, Williamson County, Tenn.
d. October 8, 1878, Helena, Ark.
Before the war, Pillow was a lawyer who graduated from the University of Nashville. In 1846 Pillow was appointed brigadier general and later major general of volunteers by friend and former law partner, James K. Polk (then President of the United States). He served in the Mexican War and was wounded twice. He unsuccessfully ran for vice president in the 1852 and 1856 elections as a democrat. During the Civil War, he was appointed as major general of the Tennessee state troops and made brigadier general when the Tennessee militia were transferred to the Confederate Army. He fought at Belmont, Missouri, and at the battle of Fort Donelson in Tennessee, where Pillow passed command to a junior general (Simon B. Buckner) when it became evident that their surrender was imminent. Instead of staying and surrendering, Pillow and another senior general escaped leaving Buckner to negotiate with Grant. He was relieved of duty for a period and when reinstated, mostly held unimportant, administrative duties. After the war, he returned to Tennessee to practice law in Memphis where he is buried.
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