Western Life

Zachary Taylor

Zachary Taylor is a respected man within the United States of America and was their 12th president. He was born on the 24th of November in 1784, in Virginia and he died on the 9th of July in 1850. His final resting place is in Washington DC. Taylor was elected on the basis of his heroism and courage in the Mexican-American War which lasted from 1846 to 1848 and had a very short presidency of only 16 months before he passed away.

Starting with the early life of Zachary Taylor, he was born to Richard Taylor and Mary Strother. He was the third of 9 children and spent most of his boyhood in Kentucky, where his parents migrated to right after he was born. He chose to enlist in the army in 1806 and by 1808 he was commissioned as a first lieutenant in infantry. He married Margaret Mackall Smith and had 6 children with her. Out of his children ended up marrying Jefferson Davis, another president of the United States.

Taylor served the army for 40 years and advanced all the way up to Major General, which is a big honor and stature. He is known to have participated in various wars, for example he was the commander of troops in the war of 1812, the black hawk war, and even the Seminole war. However, he is mainly known for his accomplishments in the Mexican-American War.

In 1845, the current president of the United States had ordered Taylor and a group of 4000 soldiers to invade Mexican territory. During this, a detachment of Mexican Troops were crossing Rio Grande and began a fight with Taylor and his troops. This then began the Mexican-American war. Within the span of two weeks, the Mexican forces again challenged Taylor, who was able to defeat the invaders. This is when the United States officially declared war on Mexico.

Taylor led his troops to Monterrey and was able to capture the city and chose to grant the Mexican army an eight week armistice. This action did not please the current president of the United States and led to Polk reassigning Taylor’s best troops to another general. The disagreement continued between the two and a letter where Taylor criticized Polk’s leadership and his war secretary also reached the public, creating more hostility.

Taylor then was commanded to do only what was necessary for defensive purposes, however, he disobeyed these orders and went South of Mexico, with a broken force due to the transfers made by the president. He then won a great victory in the Battle of Buena Vista, where his troops were greatly outnumbered to a ratio of 4:1. He then returned home a war hero and was praised for his efforts. Due to the public’s admiration and appreciation for his work and dedication in the war, he was elected the 12th president of the United States of America.

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