The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 45, July 1941 - April, 1942 Page: 115
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War, and the Second Seminole War (1835-42). Taylor, who had
done more than any other to explore, map, and open up Florida,
was transferred from the scene of his successes. His private
life is not neglected; the chapter on Sarah Taylor and Jefferson
Davis is most interesting, clarifying, and sympathetic. Taylor's
farming interests also appear, as he makes repeated trips to
the Mississippi River bottom lands where his investments had
The high point in the biography begins with the gathering
storm clouds over Texas and Mexico, and the assumption by
Taylor of command of Fort Jessup, in Western Louisiana. That
assignment proved the stroke of fate that sent Taylor on and
up in his career. Taylor marked time near the border of the
Republic of Texas during 1844 and 1845 until July when "this
forgotten commander of forgotten frontier outposts" was or-
dered to lead the Army to Corpus Christi. An interval was
used in drills, parades, and preparation-at least partly under the
influence of the Texas Rangers. Taylor's problems were many;
the author recites the accomplishments, and with equal fair-
ness points out the errors. By the time for the advance to
the Rio Grande, he was adored by the rank and file, and was
well on his way to become "a national hero of the homespun
Jackson type," riding along in a "blue checked gingham coat,
blue trousers without any braid, a linen waistcoast, and a broad-
brimmed straw hat . . . mounted on Old Whitey, with one
leg swung over the pommel of his saddle. . . "
The battles of Palo Alto, Resaca de la Palma, Matamoros,
and Monterrey are ably told. The partisan politics behind Polk's
disapprobation of Taylor, and the conflict between him and his
civilian superiors, grew with his successes, and finally an order,
which took four-fifths of all available troops for an expedition
against Vera Cruz, left Texas with only enough men to act on
the defensive. Santa Anna, having intercepted a letter written by
Winfield Scott to Taylor, thus learned of the weakening of the
army and decided to crush Taylor's army before it could retire
or be reinforced. Taylor, with what forces he had, made the
most of his slight opportunity; the armies met at La Angostura,
a mile and a half from Buena Vista Ranch on February 22,
and there on the following day they fought "the battle on
which the fate of the entire American Army depended more
than on any other in the course of the Mexican War." Although
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 45, July 1941 - April, 1942, periodical, 1942; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146053/m1/121/: accessed April 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.