Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Taylor, Zachary

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TAYLOR, ZACHARY, an American statesman, 12th President of the United States; born in Orange co., Va., Sept. 24, 1784. He was the son of a Virginia colonel, who served in the Revolutionary War. The family removed to Kentucky in 1785. In 1808 he was appointed a lieutenant of infantry, and in 1810 promoted to captain. In 1812 he was appointed to the command of Fort Harrison, near the present city of Terre-Haute, Ind., which he defended with his troops from the attack of a large force of Indians, for which he was brevetted major. He served in the Black Hawk War of 1832, and in 1837 was given full command in Florida, where he defeated the Indians in the battle of Okeechobee, thereby putting an end to the Indian War. In 1840 he was given command in the southwest. When Texas was annexed, he marched to Corpus Christi. In 1846 he was ordered to the Rio Grande, the Mexican invasion having been already planned. He established a camp opposite Matamoros. The Mexicans claimed that the Nueces was the actual Texas boundary, and the Mexican commander ordered Taylor to withdraw. Acting under orders from his government, he refused. Fearing his base of supplies at Point Isabel would be cut off, Taylor marched for that place. On the way he was attacked, and won the two victories of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, on two successive days. Having been ordered to send his best troops to re-enforce General Scott, he won the victory of Buena Vista, nevertheless, in 1847, with a force much inferior to the enemy's. In 1848 he was nominated by the Whig Convention for the presidency, and was elected. Inaugurated on March 4, 1849, he died in Washington, D. C., July 9, 1850. On account of his promptness and abrupt manner he was called “Old Rough and Ready.”

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Source: “Taylor, Zachary”, Collier's New Encyclopedia, IX (New York: P.F. Collier & Son Company, 1921), pp. 271–272.