Zachary Taylor


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Mexican War Time Line | Map of the Mexican War | Mexico | President Polk | Zachary Taylor | Santa Anna | General Winfield Scott | General William Worth | General John Wool | General Stephen Kearny | Commodore Stockton | John C. Fremont | General David Twiggs | Nicholas Trist | Thornton Affair | Battle of Palo Alto | Battle of Resace De La Palma | Battle of Monterey | Battle of Buena Vista | Battle of Vera Cruz | Battle of Cerro Gordo | Battle of Contreras | Battle of Churubusco | Battle of El Molino Del Rey | Battle of Chapultepec

Taylor, ZACHARY, 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.

Zachary Taylor

Zachary Taylor

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 Florida (see 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.

Zachary Taylor's Home


After the annexation of TEXAS, when war between the United States and Mexico seemed imminent, he was sent with a considerable force into Texas to 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.

General Zachary Taylor

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.





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