ZACHARY_~~~ TAr O.7
country. He served through the Black
Hawk war in 1832, and in 1837 was ordered
to take command in Florida, then the scene
of war with the Indians.
In I846 he was transferred to the command
of the Army of the Southwest, from
which he was relieved the same year at his
own request. Subsequently he was stationed
on the Arkansas frontier at Forts
Gibbon, Smith and Jesup, which latter work
had been built under his direction in 1822.
May 28, I845, he received a dispatch from
the Secretary of War informing him of the
receipt of information by the President
"that Texas would shortly accede to the
terms of annexation," in which event he
was instructed to defend and protect her
from "foreign invasion and Indian incursions."
He proceeded, upon the annexation
of Texas, with about 1,5oo men to Corpus
Christi, where his force was increased to
Taylor was brevetted Major-General May
28, and a month later, June 29, 1846, his full'
commission to that grade was issued. After
needed rest and reinforcement, he advanced
in September on Monterey, which city capitulated
after three-days stubborn resistance.
Here he took up his winter quarters.
The plan for the invasion of Mexico, by
way of Vera Cruz, with General Scott in
command, was now determined upon by
the Govenrment, and at the moment Taylor
was about to resume active operations, he
received orders to send the larger part of
his force to reinforce the army of General
Scott at Vera Cruz. Though subsequently
reinforced by raw recruits, yet after providing
a garrison for Monterey and Saltillo
he had but about 5,300 effective troops, of
which but 500 or 600 were regulars. In
this weakened condition, however, he was
destined to achieve his greatest victory.
Confidently relying upon his strength at
Ver-a Cruz to resist the enemy for a long
time, Santa Anna directed his entire army
against Taylor to overwhelm him, and then
to return to oppose the advance of Scott's
more formidable invasion. The battle of
Buena Vista was fought February 22 and
23, I847. Taylor received the thanks of
Congress and a gold medal, and "Old
Rough and Ready," the sobriquet given
him in the army, became a household word.
He remained in quiet possession of the
Rio Grande Valley until November, when
he returned to the United States.
In the Whig convention which met at
Philadelphia,June 7, 1848, Taylor was nominated
on the fourth ballot as candidate ft
the Whig party for President, over Henry
Clay, General Scott and Daniel Webster.
In November Taylor received a majority
of electoral votes, and a popular vote of
1,360,752, against 1,219,962 for Cass and
Butler, and 291,342 for Van Buren and
Adams. General Taylor was inaugurated
March 4, I849.
The free and slave States being then equal
in number, the struggle for supremacy on
the part of the leaders in Congress was
violent and bitter. In the summer of 1849
California adopted in convention a Constitution
prohibiting slavery within its borders.
Taylor advocated the immediate admission
of California with her Constitution, and the
postponement of the question as to the other
Territories until they could hold conventions
and decide for themselves whether
slavery should exist within their borders.
This policy ultimately prevailed through
the celebrated " Compromise Measures" of
Henry Clay; but not during the life of the
brave soldier and patriot statesman. July
5 he was taken suddenly ill with a bilious
fever, which proved fatal, his death occurring
July 9, I850. One of his daughters
married Colonel W. W. S. Bliss, his Adjutant-General
and Chief of Staff in Florida
and Mexico, and Private Secretary during
his Presidency. Another daughter was
married to Jefferson Davis.
Lewis Publishing Company. Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County, Texas.. Chicago, Illinois. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth20932/. Accessed October 25, 2014.