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GENERAL RICHARD TAYLOR, CSA - History

GENERAL RICHARD TAYLOR, CSA - History



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BORN: 1826 in "Springfields", near Louisville, KY.
(Son of US President, Zachary Taylor)
DIED: 1879 in New York City, NY.
CAMPAIGNS: Shenandoah Valley, Seven Days, Mansfield, Red River, Mobile.
(Last major surrender of Confederate forces east of the Mississippi).
HIGHEST RANK ACHIEVED: Lieutenant General

Richard Taylor was born on January 27, 1826, at "Springfields," near Louisville, Kentucky. The son of former President Zachary Taylor, he was educated in Europe, then at Harvard and Yale. Taylor was also the former brother-in-law of future Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and a powerful planter and Louisiana state senator. He joined the Confederacy and , with almost no previous military experience, took command of the 9th Louisiana Infantry Regiment in July of 1861. Proving himself an able combat commander, he was promoted to brigadier general on October 21, 1861, major general on July 28, 1862 and lieutenant general to rank from April 8, 1864. He served in Virginia, Mississippi and Louisiana, and is remembered for his victory over Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks at Mansfield, Louisiana and his successes in the Red River Campaign. After the Civil War, Taylor wrote his "Destruction and Reconstruction" (1879). The memoir was published a week before his death in New York City, on April 12, 1879.


Richard Taylor (General)

Richard Taylor was the only son of Lieutenant Colonel Zachary Taylor , later hero of the Mexican-American War and US President and Margaret Taylor . Without having acquired an academic title, he finished his studies at Yale University in 1845 and accompanied his father as his father's secretary in the war against Mexico. He then settled in Louisiana as a planter. There he was also politically active from 1855 to 1861 he was a member of the Louisiana Senate .

When the Civil War broke out, he took command of the 9th Louisiana Infantry Regiment. Promoted to brigadier general, he was shortly thereafter given command of a brigade with which he served under General Thomas Jonathan Jackson and Richard Stoddert Ewell in the Shenandoah Valley and during the Seven Day Battle off Richmond , Virginia .

In July 1862 he was promoted to major general and assigned to the west, where he took command of the western Louisiana military district. In the spring of 1864, despite a defeat in the Battle of Pleasant Hill, he defeated Nathaniel Prentiss Banks on his Red River campaign . Taylor was prevented from a major pursuit by his superior Edmund Kirby Smith , as he wanted to turn to US General Frederick Steele in Arkansas . Kirby Smith and Taylor fell out over the dispute, and Taylor asked for a new command shortly thereafter. He was appointed general lieutenant (besides the cavalry Wade Hampton III. , And Nathan Bedford Forrest was he the only Confederate without military training, which reached this rank) and gave him the Military District Alabama , Mississippi and East Louisiana.

With this defense area, which included the cavalry of Forrest and the garrison of Mobile , Alabama under Dabney Herndon Maury , he capitulated on May 4, 1865 in Alabama to US General Edward Richard Sprigg Canby .

After the war he stood up for his former brother-in-law Jefferson Davis (Taylor's sister had died in 1835 three months after her marriage to Davis), who was imprisoned in Fort Monroe , and returned to Louisiana, where he lived in New Orleans . Taylor continued his political engagement after the war. He died on a trip to New York on April 12, 1879.


Richard Taylor - Later Life

Paroled, Taylor returned to New Orleans and attempted to revive his finances. Becoming increasingly involved in Democratic politics, he became a staunch opponent of the Radical Republicans' Reconstruction policies. Moving to Winchester, VA in 1875, Taylor continued to advocate for Democratic causes for the remainder of his life. He died on April 18, 1879, while in New York. Taylor had published his memoir entitled Destruction and Reconstruction a week earlier. This work was later credited for its literary style and accuracy. Returned to New Orleans, Taylor was buried at Metairie Cemetery.


Civil War [ edit | edit source ]

When the Civil War erupted, Taylor was asked by Confederate General Braxton Bragg to assist him, as a civilian, at Pensacola, Florida. Bragg had known Taylor from before the war, and thought his knowledge of military history could help him to organize and train the Confederate forces. Taylor had been opposed to secession, but accepted the appointment. Confederate President Jefferson Davis would later comment that the soldiers being sent from Pensacola were some of the best trained soldiers in the Confederacy. [ citation needed ]

While serving there, Taylor was commissioned as a colonel of the 9th Louisiana Infantry, and served at the First Battle of Bull Run. The members of the 9th Louisiana voted for Taylor because they thought that with Taylor's connections to President Davis, widower of his late sister Sarah, the unit would be sent out sooner and see battle more quickly.

On October 21, 1861, Taylor was promoted to brigadier general. He commanded a Louisiana brigade under Richard S. Ewell in the Shenandoah Valley campaign and during the Seven Days. when Taylor was promoted over three more senior regimental commanders, they complained of favoritism. Davis noted Taylor's leadership capabilities and promise, and said that he had been recommended by General Stonewall Jackson. 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. Afterward, he traveled with the rest of Jackson's command to the Peninsula Campaign.

His brigade consisted of various Louisiana regiments, as well as Major Chatham Roberdeau Wheat's "Louisiana Tiger" battalion. The undisciplined lot was known for its hard fighting on the battlefield, but also for its hard living outside. Taylor instilled discipline into the Tigers and, although Major Wheat did not agree with his methods, Taylor won his respect.

When Taylor was promoted to the rank of major general on July 28, 1862, he was the youngest major general in the Confederacy. He was ordered to Opelousas, Louisiana, to conscript and enroll troops in the District of Western Louisiana, part of the Trans-Mississippi Department. The historian John D. Winters wrote that Taylor was to

"command all troops south of the Red River and was to prevent the enemy from using the rivers and bayous in the area. Troops were to be gathered and sent to fill up the ranks of Louisiana regiments serving in Virginia. After this, Taylor was to retain as many recruits as would be needed in the state. Light batteries of artillery were to be organized to harass passing enemy vessels on the streams. . The enemy was to be confined to as narrow an area as possible, and communications and transportation across the Mississippi River were to be kept open." ΐ]

After his service as a recruit officer, Taylor was given command of the tiny District of West Louisiana. Governor Thomas Overton Moore had insistently requested a capable and dedicated officer to assemble the state's defenses and to help counter Federal forays into the state. Attacks of rheumatoid arthritis had left him crippled for days at a time and unable to command in battle. For instance, 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.

Before Taylor returned to Louisiana, Federal forces in the area had raided throughout much of southern Louisiana. During the spring of 1862, Union forces came upon Taylor's Fashion plantation and plundered it.

Taylor found the district almost completely devoid of troops and supplies. However, he did the best with these limited resources by securing two capable subordinates, veteran infantry commander (Jean Jacques Alexandre) Alfred Mouton, and veteran cavalry commander Thomas Green. These two commanders would prove crucial to Taylor's upcoming campaigns in the state.

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.

Operations to recapture New Orleans [ edit | edit source ]

Taylor's plan was to move down the Bayou Teche, capturing the lightly defended outposts and supply depots, and then capturing New Orleans, which would cut off Nathaniel P. Banks's army from their supplies. Although his plan met with approval from Secretary of War James A. Seddon and President Jefferson Davis, Taylor's immediate superior, Edmund Kirby Smith, felt that operations on the Louisiana banks of the Mississippi across from Vicksburg would be the best strategy to halt the Siege of Vicksburg. From Alexandria, Louisiana, Taylor marched his army up to Richmond, Louisiana. There he was joined with Confederate Maj. Gen. John G. Walker's Texas Division, who called themselves "Walker's Greyhounds". Taylor ordered Walker's division to attack Federal troops at two locations on the Louisiana side of the Mississippi. The ensuing Battle of Milliken's Bend and Battle of Young's Point failed to accomplish the Confederate objectives. After initial success at Milliken's Bend, that engagement ended in failure after Federal gunboats began shelling the Confederate positions. Young's Point ended prematurely as well.

After the battles, Taylor marched his army, minus Walker's division, down to the Bayou Teche region. From there Taylor captured Brashear City (Morgan City, Louisiana), which yielded tremendous amounts of supplies, materiel, and new weapons for his army. He moved within the outskirts of New Orleans, which was being held by a few green recruits under Brig. Gen. William H. Emory. While Taylor was encamped on the outskirts and preparing for his attack against the city, he learned that Port Hudson had fallen. He withdrew his forces all the way up Bayou Teche to avoid the risk of being captured.

Red River Campaign [ edit | edit source ]

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. 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, despite having asked to be relieved because of his distrust of his superior in the campaign, General Edmund Kirby Smith.

Last days of the war [ edit | edit source ]

Taylor was given command of the Department of Alabama and Mississippi and commanded the defenses around the city of Mobile, Alabama. After John Bell Hood's disastrous campaign into Tennessee, Taylor was given command of the Army of Tennessee. Α] He surrendered his department at Citronelle, Alabama, the last major Confederate force remaining east of the Mississippi, to Union General Edward Canby on May 8, 1865, and was paroled three days later. Α]


Civil War

When Union troops captured the city of New Orleans in 1862, the Confederacy created the Trans-Mississippi Department for the administration of military affairs west of the Mississippi River. There were three districts – Texas and Territory of Arizona Arkansas, Missouri and Indian Territory and West Louisiana, commanded by Richard Taylor. In 1863, the losses at Vicksburg in the West and Gettysburg in the East divided the Confederacy into two fronts. Due to this division, the Trans-Mississippi Department, the Western portion of the Confederacy, functioned separately from the Eastern portion of the Confederacy.

General Kirby Smith commanded the Trans-Mississippi Department in March 1863, headquartered in Little Rock. When Union General Nathaniel Banks captured Port Hudson in May 1863, the Trans-Mississippi, cut off from the Confederacy, moved to Shreveport. With the surrender of Port Hudson, Louisiana’s state capital officially also moved to Shreveport, where it remained until the end of the war.

Henry W. Allen became Governor of the state of Louisiana in January 1864. During his tenure in Shreveport, he worked to restore the state’s economy by organizing state stores, factories and foundries. Citizens could purchase provisions and supplies below cost to relieve the food shortage. He also authorized a state laboratory to produce much needed medical supplies. Allen negotiated contracts for cotton, sent agents to Texas and exchanged cotton for supplies. Although the military operated the Cotton Bureau under Kirby Smith, many planters preferred to sell to the state.

During the war, Marshall Texas was a major supply depot for the Trans-Mississippi Department. Western Confederate cities received gunpowder, cartridges, muskets and clothing from Marshall. These documents in the museum’s collection, sent between Marshall and Shreveport in 1865, deal primarily with Union seizure and transportation of Confederate stores of cotton in Marshall. The handwritten letters are from U.S. Treasury agents.

The only major Union offensive aimed at the Trans-Mississippi Department was the Red River Campaign, a series of battles fought in North Louisiana between March 10 and May 22, 1864. The Union set one army to attack from Arkansas and one from New Orleans. Major General Nathaniel Banks posed the main threat to Shreveport as he moved troops up the Red River with the support of the United States Navy, under the command of Admiral David Porter. Unfortunately for Banks, 1864 marked a year of incredible drought in Louisiana and these ships could not travel far enough up the Red River to be of any assistance during the battles.

Lieutenant General Richard Taylor commanded the Confederate troops. Despite being outnumbered, and against the direct orders of his superior, General Taylor fought the Union troops in April, 1864. The Battle of Mansfield was a success for the Confederates. The Union troops under Banks retreated south to Pleasant Hill, where they fought a second battle a day later. The Battle of Pleasant Hill also resulted in a Confederate victory. Shreveport was safe, and the war continued in the Western theater. Today the site of the Battle of Mansfield is a Louisiana State Park.

When General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Eastern portion of the Confederacy in April 1865, Western Confederate soldiers began deserting in droves. The Union offered the Trans-Mississippi Department the same terms of surrender the Eastern front of the Confederacy received, which they accepted after weeks of deliberations. The 43,000 Confederate soldiers in Shreveport were the last major Confederate force to surrender in early June 1865.


Digital Alabama .com

Confederate Lt. General Richard Taylor Surrenders In Citronelle Alabama

May 4, 1865
Citronelle, Alabama

The son of President Zachary Taylor, General Taylor was the hard-fighting Confederate leader that drove back the Union’s Red River Campaign.

At the wars end Confederate Lt. Gen. Richard Taylor held command of the administrative entity called the Department of Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana, with some 12,000 troops.
Mobile, Alabama had fallen to Union forces in April of 1865 and Taylor had received news of General Johnston’s surrender to Union General Sherman.

General Canby was killed at a peace conference by Modoc Indian warriors seven years after he negotiated Taylor’s surrender at Citronelle.

Taylor agreed to meet Union Major General E.R.S. Canby for a conference a few miles north of Mobile at Magee Farm, in the town of Kushla, on April 30th at which time they established a truce, terminable after 48 hours notice by either party. The Confederate general arrived at Magee Farm on a handcar propelled by two African Americans. A single officer, Colonel William Levy, accompanied them. General Canby, on the other hand, reached the meeting place accompanied by his staff in dress uniforms, a full brigade of Union troops and a military band.

Magee Farm is one of the most historic properties in Mobile County, its past significant on a national scale.

The two generals met 20 miles further north at Citronelle in Mobile County on May 4, 1865. The town takes its name from the citronella plant and was founded in 1811. It was selected as the meeting point due to its location on the railroad between Canby’s headquarters at Mobile and Taylor’s in Meridian, Mississippi.
Two days later, on May 4th, 1865, at Citronelle Alabama, Taylor surrendered, after receiving word that Geneeral Joseph E. Johnston had surrendered and CSA President. Jefferson Davis’s had been captured.

Under the terms, officers retained their sidearms, mounted men their horses. All property and equipment was to be turned over to the Federals, but receipts were issued. The men were paroled. Taylor retained control of the railways and river steamers to transport the troops as near as possible to their homes. He stayed with several staff officers at Meridian Mississippi until the last man was gone, then went to Mobile, joining Canby, who took Taylor by boat to the latters home in New Orleans.

The site of the surrender is commemorated today at a small park. The site where Lieutenant General Richard Taylor surrendered to Major General E.R.S. Canby is now preserved as a small park in Citronelle, Alabama. Located near the south end of Centre Street, it offers no facilities but features markers and picnic tables. Displays on the surrender can be seen at the nearby Citronelle Historical Museum.

Exhibits on the surrender can be seen at the nearby Citronelle Historical Museum. The surrender at Citronelle brought the War Between the States (or Civil War) east of the Mississippi to its end. Taylor left a detailed account of the meeting at Magee Farm in his later autobiography, Destruction and Reconstruction.


General Richard Taylor, C.S.A.

Major General Richard Taylor was a subordinate of Lt. Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith in the Trans-Mississippi Department of the Confederacy in the spring of 1863, and he would be tasked with trying to break through to relieve Vicksburg from the west. Both generals recognized that it was a futile effort, but as Taylor put it later, “public opinion would condemn us if we did not try to do something.” Thus he chose Walker’s Texas Division to advance against Federal outposts on the River, including Milliken’s Bend and Young’s Point.

Taylor was the brother-in-law of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and the son of former U.S. president Zachary Taylor. As a young man, he had served briefly with his father during the Mexican War. He attended both Harvard and Yale, graduating from the latter in 1845. Before the Civil War, Taylor had been a Louisiana sugar planter for about ten years. In the late 1850s, he served in the state legislature, and was a delegate to the secession convention in 1861.

Taylor quickly joined the Confederate army, and moved up rapidly in rank from a general’s aide to brigadier general in the space of less than six months. In the summer of 1862, he was sent west to command the District of Western Louisiana (comprising the area of the state west of the Mississippi River). Just a few weeks after Walker’s failure at Milliken’s Bend, Taylor shocked the Yankees when he made a surprise raid on Brashear City. Taylor’s most noteworthy effort was to defeat general Nathaniel Banks in the Red River campaign in 1864, thwarting a Union thrust toward Shreveport and Texas.

By 1864, constant disagreements with his superior over strategy resulted in his being reassigned, and he was among the last Confederate generals to surrender his forces, not doing so until May 8, 1865.

He had a variety of positions and jobs after the war, and wrote his memoirs, Destruction and Reconstruction in 1879, the same year he died.

Read more: Dictionary of Louisiana Biography (Louisiana Historical Association) biography at Civil War Trust.

Comments

General Richard Taylor, C.S.A. — 2 Comments

The Texas “greyhounds” drove a mixed bag of Federals, white and black, on banks of the Mississippi before Union gunboats, loaded with reenforcements, came up and shelled the Southerners. The Texans, having to attack in open ground, inflicted over twice as many casualties as they received. Only the gunboats saved the blue coats this day.


Lt. Gen. Richard Strother Taylor, (CSA)

One of three individuals to be promoted to Lt. General without formal military training. The other two were Lt. General Nathan Bedford Forrest, and Lt. General Wade Hampton.

Brigadier General - October 21, 1861

Major General - July 28, 1862

Lieutenant General - April 8, 1865

District of West Louisiana

Department of Alabama and Mississippi

Most of Taylor's contemporaries, subordinates, and fellow generals make mention many times of his military prowess. Nathan Bedford Forrest commented that "He's the biggest man in the lot. If we'd had more like him, we would have licked the Yankees long ago." "Dick Taylor was a born soldier", asserted a close friend. "Probably no civilian of his time was more deeply versed in the annals of war." Stonewall Jackson and Richard S. Ewell frequently commented on their conversations with Taylor. Ewell stated that he came away from his conversations with Taylor more knowledgeable and impressed with the amount of information Taylor possessed.

Lt General Nathan Bedford Forrest commented about Taylor, "He's the biggest man in the lot. If we'd had more like him, we would have licked the Yankees long ago.

As for Taylor himself, he modestly attributed his progress as commanding officer during the war to two habits:

I early adopted two customs, and adhered to them throughout the war. The first was to examine at every halt the adjacent roads and paths, their direction and condition distances of nearest towns and cross-roads the country, its capacity to furnish supplies, as well as general topography, etc., all of which was embodied in a rude sketch, with notes to impress it on memory. The second was to imagine while on the march an enemy before me to be attacked, or to be received in my position, and make the necessary dispositions for either contingency. My imaginary manoeuvres were sad blunders, but I corrected them by experience drawn from actual battles, and can safely affirm that such slight success as I had in command was due to these customs.

After Gens. Robert E. Lee and Joseph E. Johnston had surrendered, Taylor realized that further resistance in his department would lead only to its destruction, he surrendered to Major Gen. E.R.S. Canby on May 4 at Citronelle, Alabama. It was the last major surrender east of the Mississippi River. His men were paroled 4 days later. He had proved himself an able and courageous leader against superior forces. WGA

He visited England after the war and was given much attention. He moved to New Orleans, married and had three daughters.

After the war, Taylor returned to New Orleans penniless. He became an effective advocate of Southern rights during the Reconstruction period. He wrote his memoirs, "Destruction and Reconstruction" in 1879. It was published a week before his death.

After surrendering his department to Canby on May 4, 1865, Taylor took up residency in New Orleans and tried to revive his finances by securing a lease of the New Basin Canal from the state. He also garnered the support of a wealthy New York City attorney, Samuel Latham Mitchell Barlow, one of the Democratic party's most effective powerbrokers. At Barlow's bidding Taylor negotiated with presidents Andrew Johnson and Ulysses S. Grant and also lobbied members of Congress, all in an attempt to advance democratic principles, mainly by gaining lenient treatment for the South. Increasingly distrustful of Radical Republicans, Taylor finally cursed Reconstructionqv as a loathsome evil, with Johnson as its inept victim and Grant as its corrupt handmaiden. The continual racial and political strife, much of which Taylor witnessed personally in New Orleans, gradually pushed him along with many other genteel conservatives into a reactionary position that lent tacit approval to the corrupt, blatantly violent backlash by Southern white Democrats against freedmens' efforts to assert their new voting rights under Republican sponsorship. Shortly after his wife's death in 1875, Taylor moved with his three daughters to Winchester, Virginia. Intimately involved in New Yorker Samuel J. Tilden's Democratic presidential campaign in 1876, Taylor vainly attempted to influence congressional maneuverings in the wake of the disputed election returns, a national crisis ultimately diffused by the pervasive breakdown of solidarity among Democratic leaders. WGA

Place of birth present-day St. Matthews, Kentucky Place of death New York City, New York Place of burial Metairie Cemetery, New Orleans Allegiance United States of America

Confederate States of America Service/branch Confederate States Army Rank Lieutenant General

Battles/wars American Civil War: First Battle of Bull Run Shenandoah Valley Campaign Seven Days Battles Red River Campaign Battle of Mansfield Battle of Pleasant Hill

Other work Louisiana state senate (1855-1861)

Richard Taylor was a brother-in-law of Jefferson Davis and also a son of President Zachary Taylor. He owned a large sugar plantation and was a Louisiana senator - first as a Whig, then a Know-Nothing, and then a Democrat. At first the Senator hoped to avoid secession. Eventually, however, Taylor felt that secession was inevitable and served as a delegate to the Louisiana secession convention. Related Battles

In 1861, Taylor helped Braxton Bragg train soldiers at Pensacola, Florida. He was then elected Colonel of the 9th Louisiana Infantry which fought at Bull Run. In October 1861, he was appointed Brigadier General of the Eighth Brigade (Louisiana soldiers) under Richard Ewell. One of the regiments was the famed “Wheat’s Tigers” - known for hard fighting as well as rough living.

Taylor was skilled at leading his men at Front Royal, First Winchester and Port Republic (in the Shenandoah Valley). The Louisianans then fought in the Seven Days’ Battles. Unfortunately, Taylor suffered from serious rheumatoid arthritis. This left him incapacitated at times.

Promoted to Major General, Taylor was sent to command the district of West Louisiana. Northern activities had left that region crippled Taylor’s job was to organize forces to defend the state. Union goals at the time included establishing control of Louisiana in order to maintain a presence in Texas. Shreveport was their target. After an unsuccessful attempt to recapture New Orleans, Taylor embarrassed US General Nathaniel Banks during the 1864 Red River Campaign. Banks suffered defeat at Mansfield (April 8) and Pleasant Hill (April 9) forcing Banks to abandon his plans to take Shreveport.

Because of disagreements with his superior officer, Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith, Taylor asked to be relieved of command. Instead, he was promoted to Lieutenant General and sent to defend Mobile and Selma, Alabama. Before long Taylor was given command of John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee. On May 8, 1865, He was forced to surrender his army to US General Edward Canby. This was the last major force to surrender east of the Mississippi. Taylor was paroled on May 13, 1865.

After the war, Taylor was vocal in his opposition to northern Reconstruction. He published a memoir entitled Destruction and Reconstruction in 1879, shortly before his death in New York City. Taylor was buried in New Orleans.

After the war, Richard Taylor persuaded his friend Joseph L. Brent to stay in Louisiana. Brent married Rosella, the daughter of Duncan Kenner and Nanine Bringier.

Richard Strother Taylor is listed in R. Whitney Tucker's "The Descendants of the Presidents", Delmar Printing Company, Charlotte, N.C., (�) Chapter XII. Zachary Taylor. Chapter XII, page 103,Second generation, Descendant XII-6 (Richard Taylor, born near Louisville (Ky.) January 27, 1826died in New York April 12, 1879. Graduated from Yale, 1845. Served in the Mexican War. Private Secretary to President Taylor, 1849-1850. Maintained a plantation in Louisiana member of the Seate, 1857-60. Delegate to the Democratic National Convention, 1860, and to the Louisiana secession convention. Served in the Confederate Army, 1861-65 (ultimately as lieutenant-general). He married , February 10, 1851, (Louise Marie) Myrthe Bringier of New Orleans. She died in 1875. Children: XII-11, Louise Margaret. XII-12, Elizabeth (Myrthe), XII-13, Zachary ,II, XII-14, Richard , Jr. , XII-15, Myrthe Bianca.)

Lt. Gen. Richard Strother Taylor, (CSA) is your second great aunt's grandfather.

Charles William Schwartz, V→ Charles William Schwartz, IV your father → Charles William Schwartz, III his father → Preston Schwartz his father → Albert Franciscus Schwartz his brother → Myrthe Celeste Schwartz (Stauffer) his wife → Elizbeth Myrthe Stauffer (Taylor) her mother → Lt. Gen. Richard Strother Taylor, (CSA)

1 Zachary TAYLOR b: 24 NOV 1784 d: 9 JUL 1850

2 Anne Margaret Mackall TAYLOR b: 9 APR 1811 d: DEC 1875

2 Sarah Knox TAYLOR b: 6 MAR 1814 d: 15 SEP 1835

2 Octavia Pannell TAYLOR b.16 AUG 1816 d. 8 JUL1820

2 Margaret Smith TAYLOR b: 27 JUL 1819 d: 22 OCT 1820

2 Mary Elizabeth TAYLOR b. 20 APR 1824 d. 25 JUL 1909

2 Richard Strother TAYLOR II b: 27 JAN 1826 d: 12 APR 1879

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Ancestry.com North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000 Name: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. Location: Provo, UT, USA Date: 2016 @[email protected]

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Book Title: The Brewster Genealogy : 1566-1907 : A record of the descendants of William Brewster of the "Mayflower," ruling Elder of the Pilgrim Church which founded Plymouth Colony in 1620: Volume 1

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Historical Data Systems, comp. American Civil War General Officers Name: Ancestry.com Operations Inc Location: Provo, UT, USA Date: 1999 @[email protected]

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Historical Data Systems, comp U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles Name: Ancestry.com Operations Inc Location: Provo, UT, USA Date: 2009 @[email protected]

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Ancestry.com North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000 Name: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. Location: Provo, UT, USA Date: 2016 @[email protected]

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Book Title: The Brewster Genealogy : 1566-1907 : A record of the descendants of William Brewster of the "Mayflower," ruling Elder of the Pilgrim Church which founded Plymouth Colony in 1620: Volume 1

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Historical Data Systems, comp. American Civil War General Officers Name: Ancestry.com Operations Inc Location: Provo, UT, USA Date: 1999 @[email protected]

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Historical Data Systems, comp U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles Name: Ancestry.com Operations Inc Location: Provo, UT, USA Date: 2009 @[email protected]

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Ancestry.com North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000 Name: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. Location: Provo, UT, USA Date: 2016 @[email protected]

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Book Title: The Brewster Genealogy : 1566-1907 : A record of the descendants of William Brewster of the "Mayflower," ruling Elder of the Pilgrim Church which founded Plymouth Colony in 1620: Volume 1


“Louisiana Has Drawn First Blood Today” – The Battles of Mansfield and Pleasant Hill, 1864

In 1864, factions on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line grew tired of the destruction and carnage that had been waged for the last three years. President Abraham Lincoln worried that the stagnant predicament of the war would ruin his chances for re-election. His opponent, former Union General George B. McClellan, and Lincoln’s former commander of the Union Army, managed to garner the undying support of the nation’s Democrats with his promises of a negotiated peace with the Confederacy. McClellan assured his supporters that his election would be the solution to the country’s woes and an end to the bloodiest conflict in American history.

President Lincoln realized that in order to win re-election during a war and quell his detractors, he must demonstrate that to continue fighting the war would re-unite the Union. The president theorized that if he could secure the readmission of a southern state to convince the Confederacy the futility of any further resistance. The president targeted Louisiana to be that southern state and he saw an opportunity for the state to re-join the Union through “benevolent repatriation,” where, “re-entry of Louisiana…might inspire other Southern states to cease resistances.”

Although New Orleans fell under the Union standard two years before in May 1862, the Confederates in Louisiana moved their capitol to Opelousas and then Shreveport, directing operations from there as military actions and the danger of capture warranted. Union execution of this plan and Lincoln’s hopes for a simple and short victory would be hard-fought as Confederate soldiers displayed a chivalric devotion to their cause.

In one of the last clashes of the war, the Battles of Mansfield and Pleasant Hill cured all doubts regarding soldiers still committed to the Rebel cause. After three years of Union domination and a notable lack of Confederate victories in Louisiana, these battles demonstrated the South’s commitment to ridding Louisiana of every vestige of Union influence, preserving some semblance of southern pride, and providing slim hope of an overall victory in the war. This would give the southern people a much-needed morale boost. Once thought to be the back roads of the Confederacy, the forces engaged at the Battles of Mansfield/Pleasant Hill formed the backbone of the Confederate corps. Her commanders proved more capable than most and realized that victory could be attained with a little patience and the exploitation of enemy weaknesses.

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The Union plan for subduing the remainder of Louisiana’s forces and accomplishing Lincoln’s objectives had been sitting on the desk of General Henry W. Halleck, Lincoln’s Commander-in-Chief of the Armies, for almost a year before its significance would be recognized. Military leaders who actually reviewed the plan thought it “unnecessary.” General Ulysses S. Grant believed Mobile Bay should have priority over Shreveport due to its harboring of blockade runners. Admiral David Porter felt apprehensive moving his small force, “so far up an unfamiliar, twisting, small river dominated by high banks on both sides” when he spoke of the Red River in Louisiana.

Subsequently, General Nathaniel P. Banks, commander of the Department of the Gulf, who, at first opposed such an operation, took into consideration that northern textile mills stood dormant because of a lack of cotton. Banks believed that in capturing shipments of cotton along the Red River he could make those mills operational again and redeem himself after losing a substantial amount of his forces during the disastrous Valley Campaign against Confederate demigod, General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. By achieving some semblance of victory in Louisiana with the new plan, Gen. Banks might just earn favor with his superiors and assign him to more martial duties.

The Red River Campaign called for Gen. Banks to march along the river itself, capture Shreveport with the assistance of Admiral Porter watching his flanks with supporting gunboats, and use the area around the city as a marshaling point for operations in East Texas. Gen. Halleck, on the other hand, planned to strangle the Confederate supply lines emanating from French intermediaries in Mexico.

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The French did not hide their support for the Confederacy and pressed with the possibility of troops being supplied to the Confederacy by the French from the South, Gen. Banks waited for assurances from Gen. Halleck that French aid to the Rebels could be strangled from the South before Gen. Banks attempted his advance in the campaign. Consequently, an incident occurred regarding a breakdown in communications between Mexico and France. Banks informed Halleck that, “there is little probability of reinforcements being sent to Mexico from France.” With this perceived difficulty resolved, Halleck ordered Banks to begin provisioning for the operation in January 1864, and proceed with the campaign in all haste.

Major General Richard Taylor, son of former president Zachary Taylor and head the Confederate District of Western Louisiana, commanded Louisiana troops in the field and anticipated the enemy’s movements when, “Sherman (William Tecumseh) had visited New Orleans, I feared his cooperation with Banks from Vicksburg, but I had no means of estimating either the extent or time of such cooperation.”

Reacting to this news, Gen. Taylor ordered a brigade under the command of Brigadier General Camille Armand Jules Marie, Prince de Polignac, to proceed immediately to Alexandria. Gen. Taylor then received news that Fort DeRussy had surrendered, releasing Union troops for an attack on Shreveport. On March 15 th , Gen. Taylor was notified that the Union gunboats made it to Alexandria on the Red River. Ever since the Union victories at Vicksburg, Mississippi, and Port Hudson, Louisiana, he expected a large Union army to meet him at some location along the Red River.

Maj. Gen. Richard Taylor

In an effort to harass Union troops on the march and leave nothing viable in the means of materiél for the enemy, under Gen. Taylor’s orders, Confederate troops confiscated everything from horses, to corn, to hay. Additionally, Taylor adopted a “scorched-earth” policy with his men burning tons of cotton despite the protests of merchants and planters from Opelousas to Shreveport. Taylor believed that Union forces were capable of laying waste to the entire eastern part of the state and any actions he could perform to serve the Confederate interests would certainly stall the Union army for enough time to gather the necessary forces to achieve victory over Banks and his men.

Having yet to encounter what Gen. Taylor and his troops had planned for them, Gen. Banks experienced difficulty with the U.S. Navy’s movements on the Red River. The crest was still not high enough to sustain the draft of most their gunboats or their transports. Admiral David Porter’s flotilla slowly crept up the Red River and still managed to fire their guns in their vulnerable ascent. Gen. Taylor learned that a Confederate transport, the Falls City, was standing by to be sunk near Grand Ecore, a small hamlet located just eight miles north of Natchitoches on the Red River. Because of the inland nature of the battles to come, Adm. Porter’s gunboats and transports would play a lesser role in the campaign than anticipated, but Taylor still took the threat seriously.

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With the Confederates continuing their preparations for the Union armies’ arrival, on April 1 st , writing from his headquarters near Shreveport, Gen. Taylor related, “As the enemy was moving up on the Natchitoches Road to Pleasant Hill in force I ordered Colonel Xavier Debray to push forward his batteries and trains with dispatch, which was done.” Gen. Taylor claimed to have “offered” battle to the Union army, but they refused so he left a cavalry division at Pleasant Hill and his infantry to Mansfield. In the early morning hours of April 2 nd , General Thomas Green skirmished with some Union troops just outside Pleasant Hill. The bulk of the Union forces struggled to make their way up the Red River and by the time the Union army assembled for any major offensive, they numbered more than 35,000 men. Leading the way, General Albert Lee of the 1 st Division cavalry unit, followed by three hundred wagons, three divisions of infantry from the 13 th and 19 th Corps, along with members of the Corps d’Afrique, black troops organized by the former military governor of the state, Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler (the “Beast” of historical infamy), slogged their way through to Pleasant Hill and waited for the Confederates. With all his troops and supplies, Smith’s wagon train stretched some twenty miles long.

On April 3 rd , Gen. Taylor supplemented his orders to Col. DeBray to move his army before daybreak, but DeBray did not make it from the town of Many to the Natchitoches Road until near sunset of that day. While en route, DeBray’s troops encountered a large enemy force, but protected his batteries and supply until an infantry unit covered his withdrawal so that the colonel could join Gen. Taylor at Mansfield. By April 5 th , Gen. Taylor noted that he had not observed the Union army advancing on either Natchitoches or Mansfield roads, and reported through current dispatches from Col. DeBray that the Union army had, “fallen back on the road to DuPont’s Bridge, 18 miles below Pleasant Hill.”

With a major battle eminent, Gen. Taylor devised a plan to stall the Union forces even further. Although outnumbered and out-supplied, Taylor proved throughout his military career to be a commander who acted with decisiveness and sound military precedent he also took risks and succeeded where other generals failed. However, Taylor suffered constant and persistent indecision on the part of General Kirby Smith, commanding the Army of the Trans-Mississippi, and made Gen. Taylor’s efforts to build a formidable force even that much more difficult. His available manpower stood at only 6,100 men and needed Smith’s complements to give the Confederates the slightest chance for victory.

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Gen. Smith planned to bring two cavalry divisions from Texas and two infantry divisions from Arkansas to bear. But until Smith’s forces arrived, Gen, Taylor waited impatiently for the action to commence. Finally, Taylor strongly urged Smith to expedite his actions so the Confederates could go on the offensive. Gen. Smith consistently delayed any action to the last possible moment and had a bad habit of inflating Union numbers. Gen. Taylor began to lose all patience with Kirby’s procrastination and strongly urged his subordinate to concentrate his efforts on defeating Banks, no matter the cost.

Calling on his previous military successes against long odds, Gen. Taylor devised a strategy where he would attack one of the Union’s larger columns. However, with Gen. Smith’s constant and persistent indecision, Taylor struggled to build a formidable force. His available manpower stood at only 6,100 men and needed Smith’s complements of Confederate troops. Gen. Smith planned to bring two cavalry divisions from Texas and two infantry divisions from Arkansas to bear. But until Smith’s forces arrived, Gen. Taylor found himself unable to act upon any strategy.

Smith’s lack of urgency caused Taylor turn to an alternative plan of action in preparation of battle. On April 6 th , Taylor ordered Brigadier General James P. Major, Colonel William P. Hardeman, and Lt. Colonel Edward Waller, Jr.’s cavalry Brigades toward Mansfield. On the morning of April 7 th , Gen. Taylor received word from Brig. Gen. Major from outside of Pleasant Hill that, “the enemy was advancing with a large force of all arms and was driving in our pickets.” Taylor then rode to Pleasant Hill on a reconnaissance mission to determine the enemy’s true strength there.

Red Bluff, California, United States-April 24, 2016: Union troops return fire at the Dog Island Civil War Reenactment.

On that evening, Taylor joined Major General Thomas Green where the cavalry commander informed his superior that Col. Dabray had marched from Many, Louisiana, to Pleasant Hill with the 36 th Texas Cavalry Regiment. Taylor urged that Debray utilize his batteries expeditiously to keep Gen. Banks’ army from using the Shreveport-Natchitoches Stage road. Debray followed Taylor’s order implicitly. Taylor then implored Maj. Gen. Green to instruct cavalry units to harass the Yankee columns until he could gain sight of the main body of the Union army and fall back after a guerrilla strike against the Union main force.

With his army prepared for a land battle, Gen. Taylor then turned his attention toward the Union gunboats that were moving slowly up the Red River, still firing their guns during their hampered ascent. . Gen. Taylor’s concerns over his land forces took precedent over a potential naval threat. Taylor knew that Grand Ecore stood on a bluff overlooking the river therefore, any Union breakthrough would be well-observed, swift and hold a well-organized tactical response.

If Taylor viewed the lack of naval participation as a Union advantage, Gen. Banks worried about the support the gunboats could provide the campaign. Banks reported to Edwin M. Stanton, the Union secretary of War, when he observed, “the river was perceptibly falling and the larger gunboats were unable to pass Grand Ecore…the condition of the river would have justified the suspension of the movement altogether at either point, except for the anticipation of such a change as to render it navigable.”

The change of which Banks hoped occurred on April 7, 1864, when Admiral Porter left his deep draft gunboats and proceeded to the Springfield Landing, some 100 miles above Grande Ecore. The shallow draft vessels included ironclads for fire support and approximately twenty troop transports carrying men, food, ammunition, and other provisions. Once they arrived at Springfield Landing, Gen. Banks ordered General T. Kilby Smith to reconnoiter the area toward Mansfield and secure the road leading to the town, if feasible. With this order, Banks lead his army into a well-organized and brilliantly executed Confederate trap.

On the evening of April 7 th , Gen. Taylor issued orders to his commanders General Sterling Price and the 4,400 men under his command from Keachi, Louisiana, to Mansfield on a forced march of twenty miles beginning in the morning of the 8 th . Taylor also ordered his provost marshals to prevent road jams and Confederate forces already commandeered houses and converted them into makeshift hospitals. The Rebels also utilized a wagon park as a dispersal area for provisions the army needed during the course of the battle.

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The Confederate units situated themselves near the town of Mansfield along the Shreveport-Natchitoches road. General Alexandre Mouton, of the 2 nd Infantry Division and Major General John J. Walker of the 1 st Infantry Division formed lines to the north-northwest of town blocking the main road. Gen. Thomas Green’s situated his army to the east of Generals Mouton and Walker, almost parallel to the Shreveport-Natchitoches Road.

Gen. Banks appeared relentless in his strategy and refused to sacrifice his desire to incorporate the naval element into his campaign. The Union Army landed near Natchitoches and began their march toward Mansfield and Pleasant Hill. Elements of the Thirteenth Corps, under the command of Brigadier General Thomas E. G. Ranson, along with the Fourth Division, First Brigade, under the command of Colonel Frank Emerson, which included four infantry regiments the Second Brigade, under the command of Colonel Joseph E. Vance four infantry and two light artillery batteries the First Cavalry Division under the command of Brigadier General Albert L. Lee the Second Brigade of the Third Division under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Aaron M. Flory and Colonel William A Raynor, respectively and the Fourth Brigade, First Cavalry Division, under the command of Colonel Nathan A. M. “Goldlace” Dudley.

As the armies faced each other, their battle flags barely waving in the dull, infrequent, April breeze, General Mouton broke the silence when he rode up and down the line, waving his hat and stopped in front of his old unit, the 18 th Louisiana, shouting, “Louisiana drew first blood today!”

At dawn of April 8 th , the Union units poised themselves where they could go no further without engaging the enemy. When Gen. Banks finally reached the battlefield, he noticed, “the skirmishers sharply engaged, the main body of the enemy posted on the crest of a hill in thick woods on both sides of a road leading over the hill on the road to Mansfield on our line of march.” Gen. Banks noted that the Confederate forces had grown substantially than previously reported. General Taylor realized that Gen. Banks’ positioned troops for an all-out assault to turn his right flank. The general, “brought Terrell’s regiment of cavalry to the right to reinforce Major, and Randall’s brigade, of Walker’s division, from the right to the left of the road to strengthen Mouton’s, causing the whole line to gain ground to the left to meet the attack.” Taylor continued to ride up and down the line to determine any weaknesses in the Confederate defenses looking for any breaches Gen. Banks could exploit.

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The battle began at approximately 10:00 am, and the Union line appeared to waver soon thereafter, but then the Third Division of the Thirteenth Corps arrived and formed a line straddling the Mansfield Road to the south. This line held the Confederates for shortly over an hour when the U.S. First Division commander, General William Franklin, sent a message to Brig. Gen. William H. Emory to immediately bring up the First Division of the Nineteenth Corps to the front and establish a reinforcement line to keep the Confederates at bay. The Confederates countered Gen. Franklin’s maneuvers and used their cavalry to full potential on April 8 th . Gen. Mouton led a charge against the Union line on the right flank with full vigor and abandon where he, “crossed under a murderous fire of artillery and musketry.” During the charge, unfortunately, Gen. Mouton suffered several mortal wounds during the charge and later succumbed. Despite Mouton falling, several of his subordinates continued to press the attack. The timely assistance of Major’s Brigade, Bagby’s Brigade, and Vincent’s Brigade of the Louisiana Cavalry reinforced on their left by an infantry regiment managed to turn the Union’s right flank.

Gen. Taylor realized danger loomed for his right flank and as soon as the attack on the Union’s right flank commenced, Taylor ordered Maj. Gen. John G. Walker of the First Infantry Division to immediately move Brig. Gen. Thomas N. Waul’s First Brigade and Brig. Gen. William R. Scurry’s Third Brigade to his right flank. Because of this tactical maneuver, Union troops “formed new lines of battle on the wooded ridge, which are a feature of the country.” Gen. Waul and Gen. Scurry’s efforts turned the Yankee left flank and drove the Union forces back as far as four hundred yards and beyond a creek which served as the only water source for miles around.

Now in Confederate hands, guards posted near the creek received orders to shoot any enemy soldiers who approached. After several hours of exploiting breaks in the Union lines, the Yankees fully retreated, but only as far as Pleasant Hill. Mansfield proved a decisive Confederate victory and on the next day, the Rebels effort to hold the Union forces at bay demonstrated stern resilience, but Union forces pushed hard to avenge their defeat.

On April 9 th , Union forces regrouped and withdrawn from the defeat at Mansfield, took up positions outside of Pleasant Hill, “joining the forces of General (A.J.) Smith, who had halted at Pleasant Hill.” At approximately 11:00 am, Confederate infantry sent scouts around the area they now occupied. After the reconnaissance, the Confederates formed on the left flank of the Union forces at Pleasant Hill, their movements slightly covered by the dense woods around the town. To cover a possible attack from his left flank, Gen. Banks situated an infantry regiment and portions of the Third Division under the command of Brigadier General Robert A. Cameron at that potential weak point. Small skirmishes and occasional artillery could be heard in the area throughout the day, but later in the afternoon, sometime around 5:00 pm, “the enemy abandoned all pretension of maneuvering and made a desperate attack on the brigades on the left of center.” Similar probes and eventual assaults occurred until approximately 9:00 pm on the 9 th of April, where Gen. Banks noted, “The Rebels had concentrated their whole strength in futile efforts to break the line at different points.” Seeing no breaks in the Union line as the day before, Confederate troops ran into the woods chased by Union troops until darkness hampered their pursuit.

Gen Banks declared Pleasant Hill a Union victory, but did not produce the campaign success that Halleck, Banks, and President Lincoln had hoped. The Red River Campaign proved to be an unwise undertaking and ended not too long after the battle of Pleasant Hill. Banks squandered the lives of hundreds of men and depleted supplies that could have been spent in more meaningful campaigns. At first opposed to the operation, Banks saw an opportunity not for a whole Union victory, but actions that would benefit his political career. After the war, however, Banks’ presidential aspirations fizzled as a result of his own failures, but he did manage to get himself elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and the state house of Ohio. He died in September 1894.

General Richard Taylor brought victory in 1864, to a people who experienced nothing but defeat for a long time. Although the war continued for another year and the South lay in ruins after the surrender, the victory at Mansfield resonated in the minds of southerners as the complete southern victory with honor. Richard Taylor completed his memoirs after the war, Destruction and Reconstruction, and became active in Democratic politics. Taylor died in April 1879.

Mr. Gauthreaux is an author, historian, and educator from Louisiana. He is the author of 4 books, with his most recent being Echoes of Valor: Ordinary Men, Extraordinary Lives. The most recent work is the culmination of interviews with combat veterans from World War II through the Second Iraq War.


Relatives

Richard Taylor was the only son of Margaret Mackall Smith and President Zachary Taylor. His sister Sarah Knox Taylor was the first wife of Jefferson Davis for three months until her death in 1835. Another sister, Mary Elizabeth Bliss who had married William Wallace Smith Bliss in 1848, served as her father's White House hostess.

Although Richard chose to serve the Confederacy, his uncle, Joseph Pannell Taylor, served on the opposite side as a Brigadier-General in the Union Army.


Watch the video: Richard Taylor general. Wikipedia audio article (August 2022).