Friday, May 29, 2009

Old Fuss and Feathers

Winfield Scott the over all commander of all Union troops at the start of the Civil War,  died on May 29th 1866.

Born June 13th 1786 near Petersburg Virginia, Winfield Scott attended William and Mary but did not graduate. He studied law for a short time, but gave that up and joined the army in 1808. Scott was a hero in the War of 1812. He fought in the Black Hawk War and was a commander of the United States forces during the Mexican War. Scott was nominated by the Whig party for President in 1852, but proved to be a poor candidate. He was known to the soldiers as “Old Fuss and Feathers” do to his love of military protocol and ceremony. Although he was southerner Scott strongly opposed secession.

By the beginning of the Civil War Scott weighed in at over 300 pound. He could no longer ride a horse and was suffering from gout. He knew that because of these health issues he would need a field commander and urged President Abraham Lincoln to place Robert E Lee in that position. Scott anticipated that it would be a long war, and developed his “Anaconda Plan” recommending a naval blockade while giving the Union time to train its troops. After the Union defeat at Ball’s Bluff on November 1st 1861, Lincoln accepted Scott’s offer to resign.

Scott traveled through Europe and wrote a two volume memoir in his retirement. He died at West Point, New York on May 29th 1866 and is buried there.

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