The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 84, July 1980 - April, 1981 Page: 470
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
tween the North and the South. His father, Robert C. Wood, Sr., was a
federal surgeon who served the Union with distinction and was later
promoted to the rank of general. John, the subject of this biography,
and his younger brother, Robert, chose to support the Confederacy.
Each attained a reputation for bravery and heroism during the war:
John as a naval officer and Robert as a colonel in the cavalry.
In the present study, Royce Gordon Shingleton, assistant professor
of history at Albany Junior College, notes that John Taylor Wood, a
member of the Annapolis faculty, at first hoped to avoid taking sides in
the war. However, he deeply resented the military occupation of Mary-
land by Benjamin F. Butler and his Union troops. Wood resigned his
commission in the United States navy, moved his family into Virginia,
and joined the Confederate navy.
Wood's career in Confederate service was filled with success and ad-
vancement. He served as a gunnery officer on the C.S.S. Virginia in the
famous battle with the U.S.S. Monitor; he commanded Confederate
forces that repulsed Union invaders at Drewry's Bluff in 1862; and
later he led a series of raids against federal ships in Virginia and North
Carolina waters. As a sometime military aide to Jefferson Davis, Wood
was given special missions. On one such assignment he made recom-
mendations for strengthening the defenses of the port of Wilmington
which helped the Confederacy retain control of that important block-
ade-running port until late in the war.
Wood's greatest fame came as commander of the Confederate coastal
raider C.S.S. Tallahassee. Under Wood's command, the Tallahassee cap-
tured thirty-three Union vessels operating along the Atlantic seaboard.
Although the action was widely heralded by the press and made the
Tallahassee the fourth most successful raider in terms of damage to
Union shipping, Shingleton points out that the cruise of the Tallahas-
see had negative effects by antagonizing the British government and
calling Union attention to the importance of Wilmington.
In some ways the last two months of Wood's Civil War career were
more exciting than his naval exploits. As a member of Davis's staff,
Wood traveled with the Confederate president after the evacuation of
Richmond and was with Davis when he was captured in Georgia.
Wood escaped by bribing a guard and joined the small party of Secre-
tary of War John C. Breckinridge in Florida. The group secured a
small boat and made a perilous flight across open water to Cuba. From
there Wood traveled to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he became a suc-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 84, July 1980 - April, 1981, periodical, 1980/1981; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101225/m1/530/: accessed June 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.