Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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TILLSON, Davis, soldier, born in Rockland, Maine., 14 April, 1830. He entered the United States military academy in 1849, but two years later, having injured his foot so that it required amputation, he resigned. In 1857 he was elected to the Maine legislature, and in 1858 became adjutant-general of the state. On the inauguration of President Lincoln he was appointed collector of customs of the Waldoboro district, which place he resigned in 1861 to become captain of the 2d Maine battery. He went to Washington in April, 1862 (having been detained in Maine during the winter, owing to the threatened difficulty with England on account of the "Trent" affair), and was assigned to the Army of the Rappahannock under General Irvin McDowell. On 22 May he was promoted major and made chief of artillery in General Edward O. C. Ord's division. After the battle of Cedar Mountain, 9 August, 1862, he was assigned to General McDowell's staff as chief of artillery, in which capacity he served during the three days' artillery fight at Rappahannock Station, and then at the second battle of Bull Run. Subsequently, until April, 1863, he was inspector of artillery, and in January was made lieutenant-colonel, and on 29 March was ordered to Cincinnati, having been commissioned brigadier-general to date from 29 November, 1862, and made chief of artillery for fortifications in the Department of the Ohio. He had charge of the defences of Cincinnati and the works on the Louisville and Nashville railroad, and raised and organized two regiments of heavy artillery. In December, 1863, he was ordered to Knoxville, Tennessee, where he supervised various works and was given a brigade in the 23d army corps, which he commanded in several engagements with Confederate cavalry and irregular troops during the winter on 1863-'4. He continued in charge of the works in this district, which were officially commended as the best in the military division of the Mississippi, and also organized the 1st United States heavy artillery of colored troops and the 3d North Carolina mounted infantry. Subsequently he had command of the District of East Tennessee until early in 1865, when he was transferred to the 4th division of the Department of the Cumberland, and held that command until the close of the war. He then offered his resignation; but his services were retained, and he remained on duty until 1 December, 1866, in charge of the freedmen's bureau at Memphis, and subsequently in Georgia. For a year he remained in Georgia after his resignation, engaged in cotton-planting, but then disposed of his interests there and returned to Rockland, Maine, where he has since been engaged in the granite business.
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