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What's in a name?

'Old Fuss and Feathers' led troops

Gen. Winfield Scott ran for president but is best known for his military role in several wars.

By MICHAEL CANNING, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 18, 2003


Winfield Scott led a life that paralleled, and perhaps rivaled, the life of fellow 19th century war hero Zachary Taylor.

Like Taylor, Scott was a Virginia-born son of a Revolutionary War veteran, joined the Army in 1808 and fought with distinction in the War of 1812, the Indian wars of the 1830s and the Mexican War (1846-48). Both ran for president on the Whig ticket.

And also like Taylor, Scott has a downtown Tampa street named after him because of his service at Fort Brooke, the Army base that gave rise to Tampa. (Zack Street is seven blocks south of Scott Street.)

Born in 1786 near Petersburg, Va., Scott would go on to exert a major influence on the Army. In 1825, he wrote the first manual of military tactics for the Army and revised it 10 years later. An imposing figure at 6-feet-5, Scott earned the nickname "Old Fuss and Feathers" because of his attention to detail and fondness for flashy uniforms.

In 1832, Scott was called to action in various Indian wars and was placed in charge of federal troops overseeing the Cherokee nation. Scott later supervised part of the Trail of Tears, a forced exodus that displaced thousands of Cherokees to the Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma.

During the Mexican War, Scott led a series of campaigns that culminated in the capture of Mexico City. Scott ran for president in 1852 but lost.

Scott was forced from command by President Abraham Lincoln at the dawn of the Civil War. His views on how to fight the Confederacy were derided, but ultimately prophetic.

He died in 1866.

-- Source: Tampa Bay History Center, World Book Encyclopedia.

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