Lt. General Richard Taylor

Kinsman of Richard Sheely

 Richard Scott Taylor was born at Springfield, the family's plantation near Louisville, Kentucky to future president Zachary Taylor and Margaret Mackall Smith Taylor. .After starting college studies at Harvard College, Taylor completed them at Yale, where he graduated in 1845.  In the beginning of the Mexican-American War, Taylor visited his father at the Mexican town of Matamoros in July 1846; there are reports that for some time he served as his voluntary aide-de-camp ]Having to leave the war because of rheumatoid arthritis, Richard Taylor  managed the family cotton plantation in Jefferson County, Mississippi. In 1850, he persuaded his father to purchase large sugar cane plantation in Louisiana. After his father's sudden death in July 1850, Taylor inherited it.  n 1855, Taylor entered local politics; he was elected to the Louisiana Senate, in which he served until 1861. First affiliated with the Whig Party, he shifted to the American (Know Nothing) Party, and finally joined the Democratic Party. He was sent to the Democratic Convention of 1860 in Charleston, South Carolina, as a state delegate and witnessed the splintering of the Democrats. While in Charleston, he tried to work out a compromise between the two Democratic factions, but his attempts failed.When the Civil War erupted, Taylor was asked by Confederate General Braxton Bragg to assist him, as a civilian aide-de-camp without pay, at Pensacola, Florida.  Taylor had been opposed to secession, but accepted the appointment.While training recruits, Taylor received news that he was commissioned as a colonel of the 9th Louisiana Infantry.  .On October 21, 1861, Taylor was promoted to brigadier general. Now he commanded a Louisiana brigade under Richard S. Ewell in the Shenandoah Valley campaign and during the Seven Days.  During the Valley Campaign, Jackson used Taylor's brigade as an elite strike force that set a rapid marching pace and dealt swift flanking attacks. At the Battle of Front Royal on May 23, the First Battle of Winchester on May 25, and finally at the climactic Battle of Port Republic on June 9, Taylor led the 9th Infantry in timely assaults against strong enemy positions.His brigade consisted of various Louisiana regiments, as well as Major Chatham Roberdeau Wheat's "Louisiana Tiger" battalion. When Taylor was promoted to the rank of major general on July 28, 1862, he was the youngest major general in the Confederacy. After his service as a recruit officer, Taylor was given command of the tiny District of West Louisiana.. Attacks of rheumatoid arthritis had left him crippled for days at a time and unable to command in battle. During the Seven Days battles, Taylor was unable to leave his camp and command his brigade. He missed the Battle of Gaines Mill, and Col. Isaac Seymour, commanding the brigade in his absence, was killed in action.During 1863, Taylor directed an effective series of clashes with Union forces over control of lower Louisiana, most notably at Battle of Fort Bisland and the Battle of Irish Bend. These clashes were fought against Union Maj. Gen.Nathaniel P. Banks for control of the Bayou Teche region in southern Louisiana and his ultimate objective of Port Hudson. After Banks had successfully pushed Taylor's Army of Western Louisiana aside, he continued on his way to Port Hudson via Alexandria, Louisiana. After these battles, Taylor formulated a plan to recapture Bayou Teche, along with the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, and to halt the Siege of Port Hudson. After initial success the  engagement ended in failure.In 1864, Taylor defeated Union General Nathaniel P. Banks in the Red River Campaign with a smaller force, commanding the Confederate forces in the Battle of Mansfield and the Battle of Pleasant Hill on April 8-9. He pursued Banks back to the Mississippi River and, for his efforts, received the thanks of the Confederate Congress. At these two battles, the two commanders whom Taylor had come to rely on: Brigadier Generals Alfred Mouton and Thomas Green, were killed while leading their men into combat. On April 8, 1864, Taylor was promoted to lieutenant general,]Taylor was given command of the Department of Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana. After John Bell Hood's disastrous campaign into Tennessee,  He surrendered his department at Citronelle, Alabama, the last major Confederate force remaining east of the Mississippi, to Union General Edward Canby on May 4, 1865, and was paroled three days later.[7] The rest of his company was paroled on May 12, 1865 in Gainesville, Alabama.The war resulted in the destruction of Taylor's home and property including his much prized library. He moved his family to New Orleans at the end of the war and lived there until his wife died in 1875. After that, he relocated with his three daughters to Winchester, Virginia, making travels to Washington, D.C. and New York City. He worked on his memoir, Destruction and Reconstruction: Personal Experiences of the Late War, which is one of the most credited reports of the Civil War. The book was published in April 1879. The historian T. Michael Parrish wrote that in his book, "Taylor finally gave enhanced dignity to defeat and surrender.   He was active in Democratic Party politics, interceded on behalf of Jefferson Davis with President Andrew Johnson, and was a leading political opponent of Northern Reconstruction policies. He died in New York City in the house of his friend and political ally Samuel L. M. Barlow I of dropsy (edema related to congestive heart failure) on 12 April 1879 and was buried in Metairie CemeteryNew Orleans.

 

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