twelfth President of the United States; from March 4, 1849, to July 9,
1850; Whig; born in Orange county, Va., Sept. 24, 1784. His father, a
soldier of the Revolution, removed from Virginia to Kentucky in 1785,
where he had an extensive plantation near Louisville, On that farm
Zachary was engaged until 1808, when he was appointed to fill the place
of his brother, deceased, as lieutenant in the army. He was made a
captain in 1810; and after the declaration of war, in 1812, was placed
in command of Fort Harrison, which he bravely defended against an attack
by the Indians. Taylor was active in the West until the end of the war.
In 1814 he was commissioned a major; but on the reduction of the army,
in 1815, was put back to a captaincy, when he resigned, and returned to
the farm near Louisville. Being soon reinstated as major, he was for
several years engaged in military life on the northwestern frontier and
in the South.
In 1819 he was promoted to
lieutenant-colonel. In 1832 he was commissioned a colonel, and was
engaged in the BLACK HAWK WAR. From 1836 to 1840 he served in
SEMINOLE WAR), and in 1840 was appointed to the command of the 1st
Department of the Army of the Southwest, with the rank of brevet
brigadier-general. At that time he purchased an estate near Baton Rouge,
to which he removed his family.
RESIDENCE AT BATON ROUGE.
After the annexation of TEXAS, when war between the United States and
seemed imminent, he was sent with a considerable force into
watch the movements of the Mexicans. In March, 1846, he moved to the
banks of the Rio Grande, opposite Matamoras, and in May engaged in two
sharp battles with the Mexicans on Texas soil. He was then promoted to
major-general. He entered Mexico May 18, 1846, and soon afterwards
captured the stronghold of Monterey. He occupied strong positions, but
remained quiet for some time, awaiting instructions from his government.
Early in 1847 a requisition from General Scott deprived him of a large
portion of his troops, and he was ordered to act on the defensive only.
While so doing, with about 5,000 men, he was confronted by Santa Ana
with 20,000. Taylor defeated and dispersed the Mexicans in a severe
battle at Buena Vista, Feb. 23, 1847. During the remainder of the war
the valley of the Rio Grande remained in the quiet possession of the
Americans. In his campaign in Mexico he acquired the nickname of "Old
Rough and Ready," in allusion to the plainness of his personal
appearance and deportment.
On his return home, in November, 1847, he was greeted everywhere with
demonstrations of warmest popular applause. In June, 1848, the Whig
National Convention, at Philadelphia, nominated him for President of the
United States, with Millard Fillmore, of New York, for Vice-President.
He was elected, and inaugurated March 5, 1849. On July 4, 1850, he was
seized with a violent fever, and died on the 9th. He was attended in his
last moments by his wife; his daughter (Mrs. Colonel Bliss) and her
husband; his son, Colonel Taylor, and family; his son-in-law, Jefferson
Davis, and family; and by Vice-President Fillmore, other officers of the
government, members of the diplomatic corps, etc. His last audible words
were: " I am about to die. I expect the summons soon. I have endeavored
to discharge all my official duties faithfully. I regret nothing, but am
sorry that I am about to leave my friends." The funeral occurred on
Saturday, July 13, and was attended by a vast concourse of citizens and
strangers. The pageant exceeded everything of the kind, in order and
magnificence, that had ever taken place at the national capital.