CDV IMAGE OF “OLD ROUGH AND READY” PRESIDENT ZACHARY TAYLOR

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Item Code: 259-102

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Image shows President Taylor as an older man in a dark civilian suit.

Image is clear with good contrast. Mount has some light dirt along edge.

Reverse has imprint for E. ANTHONY FROM A BRADY NEGATIVE and “ZACHARY TAYLOR 12th PRES.” In pencil.

Zachary Taylor was born into a prominent Virginia planter family in 1784, his father rose to Lieutenant Colonel in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. His family migrated west, settling near what is now Louisville, Kentucky.

In May 1808, he joined the United States Army, receiving a commission as a 1st Lieutenant of the 7th Infantry Regiment. In November 1810 he was promoted to the rank of Captain and the following July he was sent to the Indiana Territory to take control of Fort Knox, Indiana. During the War of 1812 he successfully defended Fort Harrison in Indiana Territory from an Indian attack. He gained recognition for his defense and received a temporary promotion to the rank of Major. In 1815, after the end of the war, he was returned to his permanent rank of Captain and he resigned from the Army, only to re-enter it again the following year after gaining a commission as a Major.

Taylor was placed in command of Fort Howard near present-day Green Bay, Wisconsin and in April 1819 he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. After spending the next 5 years in Louisiana, he was called to Washington, DC. In May 1828 he became commander at Fort Snelling in Minnesota. In April 1832 he was promoted to the rank of Colonel of the 1st Infantry Regiment and participated in the Black Hawk War. By 1837, the 2nd Seminole War was underway when he was directed to Florida. He defeated the Seminole Indians in the Christmas Day Battle of Lake Okeechobee. In recognition of his success, he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General and placed in command of all American troops in Florida, a position he held for the next two years. Around this time he began to be known as "Old Rough and Ready." In anticipation of the annexation of the Republic of Texas he was sent to Fort Jesup, Louisiana in 1844. He served there until July 1845, when annexation became imminent, and President James K. Polk directed him to deploy into disputed territory in Texas. He selected a spot at Corpus Christi, and his Army of Occupation encamped there until the following spring. After the Mexican War began in May 1846, he commanded the American forces at the Battle of Palo Alto and the nearby Battle of Resaca de la Palma, defeating the Mexican forces, which greatly outnumbered his own. Within weeks he received a brevet promotion to the rank of Major General and a formal commendation from Congress. The following September he inflicted heavy casualties upon the Mexican defenders at the Battle of Monterrey and afterwards half of his army joined General Winfield Scott's forces as they besieged Veracruz. When Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna discovered that Taylor had contributed all but 6,000 of his men to the General Scott’s effort, he resolved to take advantage of the situation and attacked with 20,000 men at the Battle of Buena Vista in February 1847 with Taylor's forces prevailing. Remaining at Monterrey until November 1847, he returned to Louisiana and his former command, receiving a hero's welcome in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. In 1848 he received the nomination for President as a member of the Whig Party. As President he was against the expansion of slavery into newly formed territories, despite his Southern birth and his own slaveholder status. This stance helped contribute to the Compromise of 1850, which delayed the section conflict but satisfied no one. After attending the 1850 July 4th celebration and fund-raising event at the Washington Monument (under construction), he reportedly consumed raw fruit, probably cherries, and iced milk and over the course of the next few days, he became severely ill with an unknown digestive ailment. The identity and source of his illness are the subject of historical speculation. After contracting a fever, he soon died at the age of 65, the 2nd United States President to die in office. He was temporarily interred in the Public Vault of the Congressional Cemetery in Washington DC until October 1850 when his body was transported to the Taylor Family plot where his parents were buried, on the old Taylor homestead plantation known as 'Springfield' in Louisville, Kentucky. In May 1926 his remains and those of his wife were moved into their final resting place, the newly constructed Taylor mausoleum nearby.

His youngest child and only son, Richard Taylor, was a Confederate general during the American Civil War and his second child, Sarah Knox Taylor, married future Confederate President Jefferson Davis in 1835 but died of malaria shortly after their marriage.  [ad]

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