Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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TOWER, Zealous Bates, soldier, born in Cohasset, Massachusetts, 12 January, 1819. He was graduated at the United States military academy in 1841, first in a class of fifty-two, among whom were Horatio G. Wright, Thomas J. Rodman, Nathaniel Lyon, and Don Carlos Buell. He .was promoted 2d lieutenant in the corps of engineers, 1 July, 1841, assigned to duty as assistant to the board of engineers, and in 1842 as principal assistant professor of engineering at West Point. During the years 1843-'6 he was engaged on the defences of Hampton Roads. He served with great credit in the war with Mexico in 1846-'8, especially at Cerro Gordo, Contreras (where he led the storming column), Chapultepec (where he was wounded), and in the final assault and capture of the city of Mexico. He became 1st lieutenant in April, 1847; and captain, 1 July, 1855. During 1848-'61 he was engaged upon river and harbor improvements, on the building of the San Francisco custom-house, and on the board to project the defences of the Pacific coast. He was promoted major of engineers, 6 August, 1861, and assigned as chief engineer of the defence of Fort Pickens. For his conduct there he was appointed a brigadier-general of volunteers, 23 November, 1861, the date of the bombardment. He participated, in command of troops, in the operations in northern Virginia. under General Nathaniel P. Banks and General John Pope, until the second battle of Bull Run, 30 August, 1862, where he was severely wounded. Upon his recovery he served as superintendent of the United States military academy at West Point from July till September, 1864, when he rejoined the armies in the field as chief engineer of the de-fences of Nashville, took part in the battle, and held responsible staff offices in the military divisions of the Mississippi and Tennessee until the close of the war. He was promoted lieutenant-colonel of engineers in 1865, and mustered out of volunteer service, 15 January, 1866. Thereafter General Tower was employed in the supervision of the work of improving the great harbors, both for commercial and military purposes, until 13 January, 1874, when he was promoted colonel of engineers, and, having served more than forty years, was, at his own request, retired from active service. He received eight brevets for "gallant and meritorious service" in war--from 1st lieutenant, 18 April, 1847, for Cerro Gordo, to major-general, United States army, 13 March, 1865. General Tower is one of the original members of the Aztec club, founded in the city of Mexico, 13 October, 1847, by the officers of General Scott's army. He is the author of" An Analytical Investigation of the Possible Velocity of the Ice-Boat," published in "Van Nostrand's Engineering Magazine."
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