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Destruction And Reconstruction: Personal Experiences Of The Late War

by Richard Taylor

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Book Description
Taylor's recollections focus on his service in Virginia under Stonewall Jackson and later as commander of the department of Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana.

About the Author
Richard Taylor, the only son of President Zachary Taylor, was born at his father's plantation, Springfield, outside Louisville, Kentucky, in 1826. His early years were spent largely on frontier army posts, including an eightyear stint at remote Fort Crawford in what is now Wisconsin. He was sent to a private school in Louisville and graduated from Yale in 1845. He spent most of the succeeding years in Mississippi and Louisiana, where he became a sugar planter and earned a reputation as a politician, gentlemanscholar and raconteur.

A delegate to the Democratic convention in Charleston in 1860, he worked to avert the disruption of the Northern and Southern wings; failing that he attended the rump Southern Democratic convention in Baltimore which nominated John C. Breckinridge for President.

Although a pessimist about the prospects of Southern secession, he was a delegate to the Louisiana secession convention. After the outbreak of war in 1861 he first attached himself to the staff of General Braxton Bragg at Pensacola, then accepted a commission from the governor of Louisiana as colonel of the Ninth Louisiana Infantry Regiment and was sent to the Virginia front. He commanded the Louisiana Brigade under Stonewall Jackson in the 1862 campaigns in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Afterwards he was transferred to the TransMississippi Department, where he led outnumbered Confederate forces to victories in the Red River Campaign. In the waning days of the war he was transferred to command in Alabama and Mississippi, surrendering only after the surrenders of Lee and Johnson and the capture of Jefferson Davis.

After the war Taylor returned to Louisiana, living in New Orleans and participating in the politics of the Reconstruction era.

Richard Taylor died in 1879 while on a trip to New York City, and was buried in New Orleans. His memoir, completed before his death, was published a few days later.

Clyde N. Wilson is a professor of history at the University of South Carolina and editor of The Papers of John C. Calhoun. He is the author of Carolina Cavalier: The Life and Mind of James Johnson Pettigrew. He is a contributor to many periodicals.



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