Colonel John Houston Savage
Commanding Officer 16th Tennessee
Born on the 9 (15) October 1815 at McMinnville, TN, the son of George and Elizabeth Kenner Savage. Brought up on his fathers farm, near the town, he spent his youth as a farmer. He attended in the fall and winter subscription schools taught in the neighbourhood.
In 1836 with the war raging in Texas as it fought for its independence the U.S. raised troops to preserve the neutrality of its borders. Savage enlisted in a Company commanded by John B. Rogers, of Rock Island, TN, 'The Mountain Blues.' The Company set out for the border and on its arrival at Nashville found the war was over and the Company was disbanded, after 40 days service.
With volunteers needed to fight the Seminole Indians in Florida he immediately volunteered joining Captain James Grundy's Company as a private. A few days later he transferred to Captain Bill Lauderdale's company of mounted volunteers. Serving in this Company until the close of the war. Mustered out in New Orleans, 14 January 1837.
Studying law in 1837 he was admitted to the bar in 1839 and commenced practice in Smithville, TN.
In 1841 he was made Attorney-General of the fourth Tennessee district taking up the post until 1847 when he resigned and enlisted in the Army to join in the war with Mexico.
Appointed Major in the 14th Infantry he was severely wounded by a shell in the assault on Molino-del-Rey.
Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel he was assigned to the 11th Infantry. After the death of Colonel William M. Graham he commanded this Regiment until the close of the war.
On returning home he again took up law.
Due to his professional and military life having brought him recognition he stood for and was elected as a Democrat to the House of Representatives from 1849 to 53 and from 1855 to 59.
Answering the call to arms at the start of the war he was appointed Colonel on the 10 June 1861 of the 16th Tennessee.
Was in arrest in S.C. in February 1862 for disobeying orders.
Wounded twice, and having his horse shot from under him, at the Battle of Perryville (Chaplin Hills), 8 October 1862, he continued in command until the battle was over. He was again wounded at the Battle of Murfreesboro (Stones River), 30 December 1862-3 January 1863
He resigned on the 20 February 1863 in anger over his failure to advance in the ranks, he believed that he should have gotten the Brigade command after Daniel S. Donelson left.
A petition from members of of several Tennessee regiments asked for him to be recalled to the service, and to raise an independent command. Of which nothing came.
In April 1863 he wrote directly to President Davis asking for reinstatement in the Army. His request was denied. Also during 1863 he lost a bid for a seat in the Confederate Congress.
After the war he moved his practice to McMinnville and in 1872 he moved to Hot Springs, AR, to rest.
After the war he was elected member of the State House of Representatives 1877 to 79 and 1887 to 91 and the State Senate 1879 to 81.
In 1903 he published his memoirs 'The Life of John H. Savage.'
On the 26 March 1904 he petitioned that a monument to the 16th Tennessee be raised in McMinnville. While he didn't live to see it it was unveiled on the 10 May 1904.
He never married and on the 5 (6th-different accounts give different days) April 1904 'the "Old Man of the Mountains" Passes Peacefully to His Long Rest'.
The funeral service was held at the Cumberland Presbyterian church and he was buried in the Riverside Cemetery, McMinnville, Warren Co, TN.