J. G. (John Gideon) Millingen.

The Taylor text-book, or Rough and ready reckoner online

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No. 2 Jarm Building, JVorth strut.








His early life,


Comniissioncd in the army by Mr. Jefferson, 3

Battle at Fort Harrison, ..-.«'
His services in the Black Hawk war, - "

do. do. Florida war, - - - "

Appointed to the command in Texas, - "

Fights the battles of Palo Alto and Resacca de

la Palma, - - - . - - - 4
Receives the Brevet of Major General, and

the thanks of Congress, ..-.'<
His attack on and capture of Monterey, - 5

Battle of Buena Vista, 6

Published in the N.Orleans Bulletin, - - 8
The Signal Letter, Cincinnati, - - - "

To Edward Delony, of La., - - - - "
Dr. J. T. Clarke, of N. J., - - - 9

William Hall, of Md., - . . . «
Gen. P. S. Smith, of Philadelphia, 9, 11 and 13
W. J. A. Birkey, of Pittsburg, - - -10
Wm. Dock, of Harrisburg, - - - "

J. R. Ingersoll, of Philadelphia, - - "
Dr. Bronson, of Charleston, - - -
Col. Pickell, of Baltimore, - - .

Wm. G. Wood, of New York,
Hon. A. Stewart, of Pa., -
Hon. Henry A. Muhlenberg, of Pa.,
The Citizens of Philadelphia, - - -

do. do. Montgomery, Ala.,

Gov. Owsley, of Ky., - . . .

Col. A. M. Mitchell, of Cincinnati,

The citizens of Adams county. 111., -

On the blessings of Peace, - ...

To a gentleman of Iowa, ....

The Richmond Republican, ...

Capt. J. S. Allison, - . -

Brantz Mayer, of Baltimore,

Hon. Mr. Morehead, President of the Whig

National Convention, ....


Defence of Fort Harrison, - - - 15 and 16

Battle of Okee-Cho-Bcc, .... jg

Palo Alto and Rcsaca de la Palma, 20, 21, 22, 23

General Orders, congratulatory to the army, 21, 22

Battle of Monterey, 25

To Gen. Gaines on the Defence of the Capitu-
lation of Montcry, . . - , ,
To the Sec'ry of War, relative to the Gaines
letter, .......









Col. Jefferson Davis' letter relative to the Ca-
pitulation of Monterey, . . . -
Gen. Henderson's do., do., ...

Gen. Worth's do., do.,

Terms of Capitulation of Monterey, -
Detailed report of the Battle of Buenna Vista,
The Summons of Santa Anna, and Taylor's


Gen. Taylor to Gen. E. G. W. Butler,
Letter in regard to the Indiana volunteers,
Speech at Plaquemine, . . . -
Gen. Humphrey Marshall's Sketch of Taylor's

Character, - ..-.
Who's responsible for the movement of the

troops to the Rio Grande ? - - -
Opinions of European statesmen and military

men of Gen. Taylor's conduct,
Reminiscences of Gen. Taylor,

General Taylor's Schoolmaster, - - -
Vigor, Courage and Manhood of Old Rough
and Ready, . - -..
Personal appearance of Gen. Taylor,

Gen. Taylor headed,

Gen. Taylor and the Gentleman's Son,
" Let us ride a little nearer," ...

Gen. Jackson's opinion of General Taylor,
Gen. Taylor at Resaca, ....

" He never fought a battle !" -

Gen. Taylor's Titles,

Anecdotes of Taylor in the Black Hawk war,
Taylor and Hard Fare, - - - - -
Taylor and his Slate Carriage, - - -
Taylor and the barrel of ice, - - - -

Asleep on deck,

Who wrote his Despatches 't •
Incidents of the Battle Field, - - .
Gen. Taylor's literary talents, ...
Disi'cgard of jicrsonal danger, ...
Gen. Taylor and the young officer in Florida,
Old Rough and Ready in Florida, - - -
Origin of the phrase " Old Rough and Ready,"
His courage in the Florida war, - - -
Ills determined conduct on the field of battle,
Gen. Taylor and the Kentuckians at Buena

Vista, - - ...
Taylor's negotiation with Ampudia at Monterey
Gen. Taylor'.s good things, ...
Dodging the balls, - - -

" Major Bliss and I,"

Old Rough and Ready's Pony, ...







■JVo, 2 Jcmis Building, A'wih street,


Biographical Sketch of General Taylor.


Who is General Taylor?— slightingljr asked some
persons when it was ascertained that he had been se-
lected by the Administration to take command of
the expedition about to be dispatched to the fron-
tiers of Texas.

Who is General Taylor? anxiously asked thou-
sands when the news arrived that the American army
under his command, was threatened with destruction
by an overwhelming force of Mexicans on the Rio

Who is General Taylor? wonderingly and admir-
ine;ly exclaimed millions, not only in this country,
biit'in Europe, when the glad tidings were received
that with consummate skill and gallantry, he had ex-
tricated his little army from their perilous position,
and driven the enemy beyond the Rio Grande.

The storming of Monterey, esteemed almost a
miracle, paled before the brilliant victory achieved
at liuena Vista, and the anxiety to have the ques-
tion at the head of this article answered, has at once
a thousand-fold increased, and been, to some extent,
gratified. Much information has been elicited, and
yet not enough to satisfy the public mind. One in-
forms us that he is a gentleman of wealth and fami-
ly, who prefers the " chances and changes" of mili-
tary life to an existence of idleness and ease. Anoth-
er, that he is a modest, retiring, unostentatious, and
meritorious veteran, who has seen more service, and
had more hard knocks, than any of our military men
now living. Others have raked from the ashes of the
past a remembrance, faint and indistinct, of services
rendered by him, in days past, at Fort Harrison,— in
the Black Hawk war, — and at Okee-cho-bee. The
army and the public know him as " Old Zach," —
" Old Rough and Ready,"— the " Hero of Palo Alto,
Resaca deluPulma, Monterey, and Buena Vista" —
"One of the Great Captains of the Age," — "one
with whose name defeat was never coupled," — one
who equally well conceives his campaigns and bat-
tles — executes them when conceived — and describes
them when executed. The enemies of the country
know him as " the man who never surrenders."

General Zachary 'I'aylor was born in Orange
county, Virginia, on the 24th Nov., 1784.

He comes from an ancient Virginia family,
which emigrated from England with other friends of
liberty, and settled in the Eastern part of Virginia,
near two centuries ago — a family which has since
been greatly distinguished in its branches; which
is connect-jd with or related to most of the first fami-
lies of Virginia, the Taylors, Madisons, Lees, Bar-
bours, Pendletons, Conways, Taliaferros, and num-
bering among tiieir ornaments such names as James
Madison, Richard Henry Lee, John Taylor of Caro-
line, Judge Pendleton, James and Philip Barbour,
Gen Gaines, Gen. Hunt, of Texas, and others.

His father, Richard Taylor, went to Kentucky a
few months after Boone; — he explored tiie country,
and then alone and on foot, proceeded through the
wilderness, now constituting the Stales of Tennes-
see, Mississippi, and Louisiana, to New Orleans,
whence he returned by sea to Virginia. Appointed

a Colonel in the Continental army, he served with
great credit to himself through the Revolutionary
war, and was engaged in many of the most celebrat-
ed battles of that period. He was with Washing-
ton at Trenton on Christmas day, 1776. 1785 Col.
Taylor removed to Kentucky — Zachary being at
that time only a few months old. The State was
then the hunting ground of the Indians, — their battle
field, — the scene of their constant and bloody excur-
sions against the white settlers. Hence it is called
"Kentucky," meaning, in their language, " The dark
and bloody ground." In the battles with the Indi-
ans, Col. Taylor greatly distinguished himself, and
Governor Grayson, of Kentucky, is known to have
said — "If 1 were going to attack the gates of Tar-
tarus, I would want Col. Dick Taylor to lead the
stormers." When peace was established Col. Tay-
lor filled many honorable and responsible stations.
He was one of the framers of the Constitution of
Kentucky; represented Jefferson county and Louis-
ville city for many years in both branches of the
State Legislature, and was a member of the elec-
toral colleges which voted for Jefferson, Madison,
Monroe, and Clay. Among the politicians of Ken-
tucky, he IS remembered as one of the few men of
the Old Court party, who could be elected during
the excitement of the "Old Court and New Court

Col. Taylor died on his plantation, near Louisville,
leaving three sons, — (his second and fourth, George
and William, having died previously,) — Hancock,
Zachary, and Joseph, and three daughters, Elizabeth,
Sarah, and Emily.

Hancock, Elizabeth, and Emily, died since their
father, so that Joseph and Sarah are the only broth-
er and sister of Zachary now living.

Amongst the dangers and difficulties of Indian war-
fare, and the hardships and privations of a frontier
life, General Taylor was reared and educated. As
a boy and as a young man, he was noted for his
manly character — his blunt, sturdy straightforward-
ne;s — his firmness of purpose — his thoughtfulness —
his foresight and decision — his modest and retiring
demeanour. — Many family and neighborhood ancc-
("otes are told of his feats of hardihood and his ad-

Night after night was he in the habit of seeing the
house barricaded, and the arms prepared to repel any
attack that might be made before the morning
dawned. Scarcely a week passed that there wa3
not an alarm, or an actual incursion of Indians a-
mongst the settlements. Even on his way to school
was he in danger of the tomahawk and scalping

On one occasion, some of his school mates were
murdered and scalped by the Indians, v/ilhin a hun-
dred yards of the point where he and his brothers
had separated from them.

Who can say what efiect a boyhood so passed had
in the formation of the character which has so won-
derfully displayed itself in Mexico I

Amongst his intimates at school, were his brother.
Col. Joseph P. Taylor, who distinguished himself at
the Battle of Okee-cho-beej and is now in the Com-


missary Department, — and Col. George Croghan,
subsequently the " Ilero of Sandusky."

In 1808, after the affair of the Chesapeake and
Leopard, the subject of this sketch applied for a
commission in the Army, and was appointed by Mr.
Jeficrson, then President of the United States, a 1st
Lieutenant in the 7lh Infantry. His career from
that time to the breaking out of the hostilities be-
tween this country and JEngland, has but little inter-
est for the public. Attending to the routine of his
duties, he prepared himself for the more active ser-
vice of his profession, when opportunity should

At the opening of the campaign in 1812, we find
him a Captain in command of Fort Harrison, a rude
and weak stockade on the Wabash, with a small
force not exceeding fifty men, most of whom were,
like himself, disabled, by sickness, from doing duty.
In this state, a body of 400 British and Indians en-
deavored to get possession of his defences by strata-
gem. In this they were foiled by iiis wariness and
caution. On the 5th September, 1812, they attack-
ed him and made most strenuous efforts to carry his
•works. They succeeded in firing a block house,
which constituted one side of his defences, and thus
opened a way for their assaults. In spite of this,
his own sickness, and the inefficiency of his com-
mand, he succeeded in repulsing them with consid-
erable loss. They abandoned the undertaking. For
this gallant defence, Mr. Madison conferred upon
him the Brevet rank of Major — the first Brevet ever
confeirid in our ^rmy.

In 1832 he commanded the regular troops in the
Black Hawk war, and endured the hardships and
privations of that most vexatious campaign. For
several years after that he remained in command of
Fort Crawford, at Prairie du Chien, (built by him,)
and kept in awe the Indian tribes in that quarter. —
By them he was called the " Big Chief."

In 1836, as Colonel of the 1st Infantry, he went to
Florida — relinquishing a furlough to do so. There
he was placed in command of a separate column,
composed of the 1st, 4th, and 6lh Infantry, — some ar-
tillery, and the Missouri volunteers. On the 25th
day of December, 1837, — Christmas Day, — with the
above named troops, amounting to about 500 men,
he attacked and defeated, at Okee-clio-bee, seven
hundred Indians under the command of Sam Jones,
Alligator, and Coa-choo-chee. The Indians were
strongly posted in a dense hammock, perfectly con-
cealed, and confident of victory. The hammock
crossed in front, and partially flanked, on either
side, the only access to their position. This ap-
proach was perfectly exposed, and led through a
swamp, covered with saw-grass, in the mireof which
our men sunk to the knee at every step. But Gen.
Taylor (then Colonel) was not to be deterred by dif-
ficulties and dangers. He attacked the enemy in
their position, and after a blocdy and desperate en.
gagement of three hours, succeeded in driving them
before him with great slaughter, at the point of the
bayonet. — Some idea may be formed of the severity
of the contest from the fact, that Taylor hero lost
Colonel Thompson, Col. Gentry, Capt. Van Swear-
engen, Lts. Brooke and Carter, and 149 men — more
than one-fourth his whole force. Major Noel, who
was breveted for his gallantry in this action, enter-
ed the swamp with a full company and had only sev-
en men at the close of the battle. This was the se-
verest battle, and the last one in the Florida war. —
Gen. Taylor, as is his custom, was everywhere in
the thickest of the fight. For this action he receiv-

ed the brevet rank of Brigadier Genetal, and the
command in F'lorida. After four or five years hard
service amongst the swamps and diseases of Florida,
he desired to be recalled, and was assigned the com-
mand of the 1st Military Department, composed of
Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Sic. with
his headquarters at Fort .lesup. There he remain-
ed, waiting quietly until his country should again re-
quire his active services.

When it was determined by the Administration to
send an army to the frontiers of Texas, Gen. Tay-
lor was selected to command it. He was (we are
informed) requested by the War Department to
withdraw an application for a furlough wiiichhehad
previously filed, and v/hich from his uninterrupted
servicRS, the courtesy and custom of the Department
could scarcely have denied him. Ever self-sacrific-
ing and always scrupulously attentive to even the
shadow of duty, he gave up his furlough, as he had
before done, wiien ordered to Florida, and entered
energetically upon the work assigned him. With
his career since that lime, — glorious and dazzling as
it is, — the country is familiar. Yet few, compara-
tively, — strange as the statement may at first view
appear, — appreciate Gen. Taylor as he deserves.
The whole country rings with his fame, — the great
and small, rich and poor, delight to do him honor, —
scarcely a breath of detraction mingles with the ho-
mage almost universally awarded him, — yet, we re-
peat, but few appreciate him as he deserves. Caught
and blinded by the splendour of his most astonishing
victories, how iew consider the labours, the cares,
the anxieties, the difficulties, he experienced in or-
ganizing tills expedition. How few think of the ob-
stacles to be overcome in the embarkation of troops,
— upon the march, — and in the camp. How few con-
sider his feelings, — his distress, — when in his camp
he saw his men destitute of the commonest necessa-
ries, dying, day after day, from disease and exposure.
How few appreciate his extended views of policy and
his great military plans since disclosed to us in his
despatches to the War Department, written about
that time. How few regard the readiness and ability
with which he accepted and carried out the views,
ludfmirunrij, halfpoHlical, rf the government, from the
moment he landed at Corpus Cliristi and throughout
the war; but more especially in his march to Mata-
inoros, — his conduct on the march, — and his course
whilst at Fort Brown ! At the risk of his life, and
what was dearer than life. — his reputation, — he
swerved not in the slightest degree from the spirit
of the policy marked out lor him by his govern-
ment. Who would envy him his feelings whilst in
the face of an enemy, who, he knew, could make all
preparations and strike him or remain friendly, at
their own election, and at whatever time and under
whatever circumstances best suited them, while he
must rest quiet and await the blow? Who can suf-
ficiently praise hiin for his foresight, forbearance
and endurance, when, — although his camp was al-
most in a state of mutiny — he refrained from crush-
ing, as he could easily have done, the small parties
which first crossed the Rio Grande? Had he done
so, he would have had on his hands an endless, vexa-
tious, guerilla war, and the glorious battles of the
8th and 9th would never have been fought. As
much as Gen. Taylor deserves for those battles, he
deserves ten-fold more for his conduct prior to the
time when they were fought. The former showed
him a General of skill, coolness, gallantry, — the lat-
ter proved him not only a soldier, but a man of en-
ergy and endurance, — one who could not only act but


wait, — a man of strong mind, capable of extended
military and political views.

To follow Geii. Taylor's course throufx'i the Mex-
ican campaign from the 7th of May, 1846, to the
present time would be a work of supererogation.
What man with American heart and feeliii<^ need
be reminded of achievements which have done more
to give us confidence in ourselves, and to raise us in
the estimation of the world, than anythin:^ which
has occurred since the gallant actions of the war of
1312? Through city and village, — upon hill and
plain, — from the highest to the lowest, the name
of Taylor has become a household word, — his
victories and his despatches the theme of every

On the Sth and 9th of May, were fought the bat-
tles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma. Who
has forgotton the intense anxiety which pervaded
the country, when the news arrived that our little
Army opposite Matamoros was surrounded by three
or four times their number of the enemy, and their
communications cut oil? Some commenced cavil-
ling at the capacity of the General in command.
The many inquired anxiously as to his character.
The very Jew, knowing the man, recollecting his ser-
vices in times past, predicted that all would be done
that skill and gallantry could effect. Even the most
hopeful inquired the number of rations in his camp,
and calculated how long he could maintain Fort
Brown, and when reinforcements could reach him.
He however entertained no such ideas as these. He
decided upon and performed acoii/u/e mitin, which at
once stamped him as a general, and which, we are
informed, is the same suggested by liie Duke of Wel-
lington in conversation, upon the arrival in England
of the news of the position of our forces. Leaving
in Fort Brown a garrison with instructions " to hold
out to the last extremity," he, with the main body
of his army, moved down to Point l.^abei, put that
post in a state of security, obtained additional ammu-
nition and provisions, and commenced retracing his
steps to the relief of the gallant men left behind him,
and to the maintenance of the position he had tirst
taken. To the war Department he wrote detailing
his proceedings, and saying, " if the enemy ob-

FIGHT niM." At Palo Alto he found Gen. Arista
with COOU men prepared to meet him. His own
force amounted to :iUOO men, encumbered with a
long train of wagons. He could bring into the tight
only 1700 men, yet, with these he drove the enemy
from their position with great loss, and slept upon
the Battle Field. On the morning of the 9th a coun-
cil was called as to the expediency of proceeding,—
fortifying themselves and awaiting reinforcements, —
or falling back to Point Isabel. In the council there
was a difference of opinion. Gen. Taylor's decision
deserves to be recorded in history — " If 1 live, 1
WILL sleep in Fort Brow.v to-night !" He was
as good as his word ; and thereby saved the noble
garrison which had defended Fort Brown against the
unremitting attacks of the Mexicans for live days
and nights.

He resumed his march and continued it until he
reached the Resaca de la Palma. Here he found
the enemy, who being reinforced, now amounted to
about 9000 men, advantageously posted in a position
of their own selection, crossing the road along which
he must pass, having their front protected by the
ravine and their Hanks by the tliick chapparal. He
did not hesitate to attack them, and a n)ost glorious
and complete victory crowned his arms. The ene-

my were driven beyond the Rio Grande and that
night Gen. Taylor slept in Fort Brown! The loss of
the Mexicans in these battles, amounting it is be-
lieved in killed and wounded to near two thousand
men (though General Taylor's modesty estimates
the number less in his despatches,) proves that they
fought well. There, were the choice troops of
Mexico. Rank after rank was mowed down, and
replaced, — the guns were again and again captured,
retaken, and manned, and the victory was only com-
plete when at least one seventh of the whole Mexi-
can Army had been placed hors du combat. The
limits of this sketch will not allow us to speak fully
Gen. Taylor's praises, nor to recount the thousand
acts of gallantry displaced in these two days. The.
first mail which tended to relieve our anxieties,
brought us the news of the brilliant victories. The
country was electrified, the world astonished, and
Gen. Taylor was at once, and deservedly, ranked
amongst the Great Captains of the world. His in-
dillerence to danger was attested by his being every-
where in the thickest of the fight, and by the perfect
coolness and calmness with which he surveyed the
field and gave his orders. When desired by his staff",
to retire from a position where the balls fell thick, he
replied, " Let us move a little 7ien?-ej- and they will
pass over our heads." We cannot refrain from tell-
ing one anecdote illustrative of his tact. A large
body of Mexican cavalry was about charging a weak
battalion, which was thrown into square to repel it
It being impossible for Gen. Taylor in the then stage
of the fight to detach any troops to its support, he
himself, alone, rode amongst them saying — " Men, I
place myself in your square." The soldiers recog-
nised their General, gave him a cheer, and receiving
the enemy with a well directed fire, repulsed them
with loss.

For these battles Gen. Taylor received the Brevet
rank of Major General, the thanks of Congress, and
a gold medal commemorative of the events. Thanks
were voted him, and swords presented him by Louis-
iana and other States. He was subsequently ap-
pointed a full Major General under the Supplement-
ary war bill. A few days after these battles Gen.
Taylor crossed the Rio Grande, and took possession
of Matamoros. From that time to the early part of
September he was engaged in receiving, organizing,
and disciplining his reinforcements, principally vol-
unteers ; establishing depots, — collecting provisions
and munitions of war, — and procuring means of
transporting his army into the interior of Mexico.
These duties, always more vexatious and labori-
ous than fighting, are at the same time less ajjpre-
ciated. After making every effort in his power, he
found in the early part of September that he had
barely transportation sufficient for the provisions,
munitions, and materiel, for COOO troops. With this

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Online LibraryJ. G. (John Gideon) MillingenThe Taylor text-book, or Rough and ready reckoner → online text (page 1 of 16)