Richard Taylor, the only son of Zachary Taylor, was born at his father's plantation outside Louisville, Kentucky in 1826. His early years were spent on frontier army posts, including an eight-year stay at remote Fort Crawford in what is now Wisconsin. He was sent to a private school in Louisville and later graduated from Yale University in 1845. He spent most of the following years in Mississippi and Louisiana, where he became a sugar planter and earned a reputation as a politician and gentleman scholar. A delegate to the 1860 Democratic convention in Charleston, South Carolina, he worked to prevent the disruption of the Northern and Southern wings. Afterwards, he attended the Southern Democratic convention in Baltimore which nominated John C. Breckinridge for President. Although pessimistic about the prospects of Southern secession, he was a delegate to the Louisiana secession convention at Baton Rouge in January 1861. With the outbreak of war, he first attached himself to the staff of General Braxton Bragg at Pensacola, then accepted a commission from the governor of Louisiana as colonel of the Ninth Louisiana Infantry Regiment and was sent to the Virginia front. He commanded the Louisiana Brigade under General Thomas J. Jackson in the 1862 Shenandoah Valley campaigns. Afterwards he was transferred to the Trans-Mississippi Department, where he led outnumbered Confederate forces to victories in the Red River Campaign. In the closing days of the war he was transferred to command in Alabama and Mississippi, surrendering only after the surrenders of Generals Lee and Johnson and the capture of President Jefferson Davis. After the war Taylor returned to Louisiana, living in New Orleans and participating in the politics of the Reconstruction era. He died in 1879 while on a trip to New York City, and was buried in Metairie Cemetery, New Orleans. His memoir, completed before his death, was published a few days later.
Destruction and Reconstruction: Personal Experiences of the Late Warby Richard Taylor
Richard Taylor (1826-1879), son of President Zachary Taylor and brother-in-law of Jefferson Davis, was a planter, politician, and general. Taylor's memoir of his Civil War and Reconstruction experiences is regarded as one of the best-written of the period. His recollections focus on his service in Virginia under Stonewall Jackson and later as commander of the department of Alabama, Mississippi and East Louisiana. 274 pp.
Meet the Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews