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Civil War Encyclopedia >> People - Confederate Military
Arguably the worst general on either side during the Civil War, Gid Pillow was a political appointee of James Polk during the Mexican-American War. Polk, then President of the United States, made Pillow a brigadier general to thank him for his support at the 1844 Democratic National Convention. Pillow had done work for Polk as a lawyer and they lived in the same area. After serving under Zachary Taylor, Pillow was transferred to Vera Cruz to serve under Winfield Scott.
At the battle of Cerra Gordo, Pillow was ordered to demonstrate against the center of the Mexican line while General Scott outflanked Santa Ana's army. Pillow turned down the wrong road, and advanced to the right flank of the Mexican Army, and attacked. As a result of this insubordination, Pillow was promoted to major general.
After Scott's troops won Mexico City, Pillow began to openly display his contempt for the General-in-Chief, to the point that Scott had to detain General Pillow. After appealing to President Polk, Pillow was released and Scott was relieved from duty.
I had known General Pillow in Mexico, and judged that with any force, no matter how small, I could march up to within gunshot of any intrenchments he was given to hold.
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Gideon Pillow was added in 2005
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