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Confederate (CSA)


John Saunders Taylor

(1820 - 1862)

Home State: Virginia

Branch of Service: Staff

Unit: 2nd Battalion, Longstreet's Corps Artillery

Before Sharpsburg

He served in the US Navy beginning in December 1836 (about age 16), was appointed Midshipman by July 1837, and warranted a Passed Midshipman on 1 June 1842. He was Acting Master on USS On-ka-hy-e that year, Master on Sloop USS Vandalia by October 1843, and acting Master on the frigate USS Columbia in 1846. He was commissioned Lieutenant on 5 February 1850, and served in the Mediterranean aboard sloop USS St. Louis (1852-55). By 1860 he was on the Reserved List, last having been to sea in 1855, and was on furlough.

He resigned his commission when Virginia seceded. By June 1861 he was a Lieutenant, CSN, and in charge of defenses at Lambert's Point, Norfolk, VA, with 6 32 pounders. He was commissioned Captain of Artillery, Provisional Army of the Confederate States (PACS), probably in October 1861. In January 1862 he was helping set up guns and train crews in the heavy batteries on Roanoke Island, NC, reporting to General Huger. He may have been promoted to Major prior to Sharpsburg.

On the Campaign

From Colonel S.D. Lee's Report:

I should have mentioned that two guns of Jordan's battery, under Lieutenant Bower, were sent to an advance position under Capt. John S. Taylor, but had to retire, owing to their exposed position and the fire of several batteries against them ... Capt. John S. Taylor, Confederate States Artillery, temporarily attached to my staff, was killed in the morning while gallantly discharging his duties. He was entirely fearless, and always sought the post of danger, and his example did much toward inspiring his daring in all around him.

References & notes

Service from Krick,1 who has him as Lt. John L. Taylor, the Official Records,2 and the Navy Register.3 Details from Naval Defenses of Virginia, an attachment to Governor John Letcher's Message from the Executive of 16 June 1861, and Porter's A Record of Events in Norfolk County, Virginia, from April 19th, 1861, to May 10th, 1862 (1892). His appointment as Midshipman, USN, and Vandalia service from the Army and Navy Chronicle of 6 July 1837 and 12 January 1843, respectively. Details about St. Louis from an announcement in the United Service Journal of 21 August 1852 and the 1855 Navy Register. His date of appointment to Captain, CSA and the pointer to his former USN service from a piece in the Alexandria (VA) Local News of 15 October 1861. His gravesite is on Findagrave.

The Virginia Historical Society has a cased daguerreotype of him in what looks like a USN Lieutenant's uniform (object #2002.159.6), probably mid 1850s, and an ambrotype of him in civilian clothes (#2002.159.7), with 1840's clothing style. They also have a pair of CDVs of him in military jackets in album pages (#2002.159.1.G, 2002.159.1.JJ), dates not stated.

More on the Web

See an illustrated blog post about him over on behind AotW.


06/16/1820; Norfolk, VA


09/17/1862; Sharpsburg, MD; burial in Elmwood Cemetery, Norfolk, VA


1   Krick, Robert E.L., Staff Officers in Gray; A Biographical Register of the Staff Officers in the Army of Northern Virginia, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003, pg. 283  [AotW citation 17573]

2   US War Department, The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (OR), 128 vols., Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1880-1901, various  [AotW citation 17608]

3   US Navy Department, and Isaac Toucey, Secretary of the Navy, Register of the Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps for the Year 1860, Washington, DC: US Navy Department, 1860, pp. 44, 45  [AotW citation 17609]