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Felix Zollicoffer
Civil War Encyclopedia >> People - Confederate Military
January 17, 1856 Georgia Democrat Alexander Stephens debates Tennessee Know-Nothing Felix Zollicoffer
  Alexander Stephens
February 4, 1861
February 27, 1861
Washington Peace Conference (also called Convention or Congress)
  Salmon P. Chase
  John Tyler
  Washington Peace Convention
September 19, 1861 Crossing into Kentucky through the Cumberland Pass, Brigadier General Felix Zollicoffer disperses a small federal garrison at Barboursville Kentucky
January 19, 1862 Battle of Mill Springs Kentucky
  Battle of Mill Springs
  George Thomas
January 19, 1862 General Felix Zollicoffer is shot and killed when he accidently crosses the Union line and speaks to Col. S. S. Fry [US] at the battle of Mill Springs Kentucky
  Battle of Mill Springs
  Generals Who Died In the Civil War


An early, high-ranking casualty of the Civil War, Felix Zollicoffer was a publisher, editor, and Whig (later a Know-Nothing) representative to the U. S. Congress who was viewed by some as pro-Union.

After attending Jackson College in Tennessee, Zollicoffer held various jobs at newspapers until the start of the Second Seminole War in 1836. He supported Whig candidate Winfield Scott in his run for President in the Election of 1852.

He attended the Washington Peace Conference with fellow Tennesseean John Tyler, participating in discussions that led to the conference backing the Crittenden Compromise as a means to prevent The Civil War. The only problem was neither side was in the mood to talk.

He commanded the only army in East Tennessee, headquartered in Knoxville, which was deeply divided over the coming war. Following Tennessee's secession he was appointed Brigadier General of the Provisional Army of East Tennessee by Governor Isham Harris. In September, 1861, in support of Gideon Pillow's taking of Columbus, Kentucky, Zollicoffer crossed the Cumberland Gap into rugged Eastern Kentucky, where he lost two minor battles. He withdrew from Kentucky when word reached him in early November that Unionists had begun an uprising that was his duty to quell.

Subversive action by the Unionists included burning railroad bridges, so as Zollicoffer's men uncovered the names of the men they would hang them from the closest bridge and leave the bodies. A similar revolt in Chattanooga was also quelled.

Returning to Knoxville, Zollicoffer was ordered by Albert Sidney Johnston to advance to support his right flank. It is unlikely that Johnston appreciated the condition of the provisional troops he was getting--mostly untrained, many with flintlocks. This group assumed the name Army of Tennessee in late 1861.

Zollicoffer established a position at Mill Springs with the Cumberland River to his rear, a tactical mistake. When his command advanced to attack a Union position near present-day Nancy, Kentucky, the Battle of Mill Springs was fought. Zollicoffer lost his life early in the battle.

Links appearing on this page:

Albert Sidney Johnston
Army of Tennessee
Battle of Mill Springs
Crittenden Compromise
Election of 1852
Gideon Pillow
John Tyler
The Civil War
Washington Peace Conference
Winfield Scott

Civil War Encyclopedia >> People - Confederate Military

Felix Zollicoffer was last changed on - January 1, 2008
Felix Zollicoffer was added in 2005




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