Richard Taylor the son of United States President Zachary Taylor and Lady Margaret was born January 27th 1826 on the family estate near Louisville, Kentucky. He spent most of his childhood on the frontier with his father before attending private schools in Kentucky and Massachusetts. Richard began college at Harvard, but graduated in 1845 from Yale. When his father died in 1850, he inherited the families Sugar Plantation “Fashion” in Louisiana, and soon had about 200 slaves.
At the start of the Civil War, Confederate General Braxton Bragg asked Taylor to be his assistant in Pensacola, Florida. While serving in Florida he was appointed the Colonel of the 9th Louisiana Infantry, and served at the Battle of First Manassas. In October of 1861 Taylor was promoted to General and given command of a Louisiana brigade under General Richard Ewell. He was promoted over more senior officers which caused of cries of favoritism, as he was the brother-in-law of Jefferson Davis. He proved his capability as a leader at many battles including the First Battle of Winchester. In July 1862 at the age of thirty-six, he became the youngest Major General in the Confederacy and was given command of the District of West Louisiana. After John B Hood’s failures in Tennessee, Taylor was placed in command of what was left of the Army of Tennessee. Union General Edward Canby excepted Taylor’s surrender on May 8th 1865; the last of the Confederates east of the Mississippi to give up.
After the war Richard was active in democratic party politics and was a leading opponent of the policies of Reconstruction. He published a memoir of the war in 1879the year he died in New York City. He is buried in the Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans.