Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 8.djvu/381

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CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

distinction as a debater on all the leading issues of the day. He was so skillful in his wielding of figures and statistics that he frequently vanquished more eloquent men by the strong array of facts which he presented. In this way he was regarded as a formidable opponent in debate. To be a Whig at that day was to be for the Union. This sentiment Zollicoffer held in common with his party; but the continual agitation of the slavery question finally drove him, as it did many other devoted Unionists of the South, into the ranks of the State rights men. He was devoted, however, to the Union, and was convinced that its preservation could be secured through the policy advocated by the political followers of Bell and Everett. Therefore he earnestly advocated the election of these two leaders in 1860 on the brief platform, "The Constitution, the Union and the enforcement of the laws," and canvassed the State of New York for that ticket, declaring that the election of Abraham Lincoln on the platform adopted by the Republican party would result in a sectional war. Having, as he thought, done what he could to avert such a calamity, when the issue was squarely made, he did not hesitate to espouse the cause of the South. He had some experience in military affairs, having been first a private soldier, and then a commissioned officer in the Seminole war. He assisted in the organization of the provisional army of Tennessee, and was appointed one of the major-generals of State forces, May 9, 1861. He received his commission as brigadier-general in the provisional army of the Confederate States, July 9, 1861, and was assigned to command in east Tennessee. He was beset by many difficulties, but acted with great justice and moderation. His efforts to overcome the hostility to the Confederate cause which existed in so large a part of his department met with considerable success. He issued conciliatory orders, and declared that no act or word would be tolerated on the part of officers or men, which was calculated to alarm or