Major Ezra Taylor
Ezra Taylor of Chicago was elected Captain of Battery B in May
of 1861. He was promoted to Major of the First Regiment of Light Artillery
in October 1861. Major Taylor was Chief of Artillery of the 5th
Division, Army of the Tennessee at the Battle of Shiloh.
He was promoted
again to Colonel of the First Regiment in May of 1863. Colonel Taylor
resigned in August 1864.
Taylor, who recruited batteries A and B in April 1861, was born in Genesee
County, New York, in October , 1819, and came to Chicago in September, 1839,
where he engaged in the provision packing business with G. S. Hubbard Esq., in
1840, which he followed up to the 18th of April, 1861.
He had been for many years connected with the local military organization
of our city, at one time holding the office of Colonel of the 60th
regiment Illinois militia, which was comprised of various uniformed
organizations of the city; but being ardently attached to the artillery arm of
the service, he resigned the Colonelcy of the regiment and accepted the
Captaincy of the Chicago Light Artillery, which position he occupied in April,
1861. He served a term of ten years
in the volunteer fire department, and has been dignified as Alderman from the 7th
ward. After organizing Batteries A
and B, he was sent to
to obtain arms for the artillery organization of the state, and spent
considerable time in perfecting such organizations.
After which he took command of Battery B
at Cairo; after a few days at Cairo, was sent to Bird’s Point, Missouri,
where, in addition to his duties with his own battery, he was placed in charge
of the field works, and was active in mounting the heavy guns at that point.
He commanded Battery B at Belmont, Missouri,
November 7, 18
61, where a rebel bullet carried away a button from his cap, near the left
temple, another struck his saddle, and another his horse, all of which did no
serious damage. He was in command of
his battery at the capture of Forts Henry and Donelson.
After the fall of
by invitation of General Grant, he was made one of the party to go to
, immediately after it fell into the hands of our troops.
Landing on the 1st of April, 1862, he turned over the battery
to Captain Samuel E. Barrett, (he Taylor) having been promoted to Senior Major
of the 1st Illinois Volunteer Light Artillery, with orders to report
to General W.T. Sherman at Shiloh, which he did on the 4th of April
1862, whereupon General Sherman gave him the appointment of Chief-Of-Artillery,
and in which capacity he served two years, or until April, 1864, participating
in all skirmishes, marches, and fights of his gallant and noble commander.
At Chickasaw Bayou he was complimented in orders by General Sherman for
his efficiency in posting and serving the artillery, and after Sherman had
decided to withdraw from the frowning hills of Vicksburg, he succeeded in
bringing of his artillery through an almost impenetrable swamp and over the
worst kind of corduroy road, during a terrible to dark night, without the loss
of a man, horse, or single implement, and without giving the alarm to the
enemy’s pickets, and had all safe on board the transports before daylight in
the morning. From thence he
accompanied the troops to Arkansas Post, thence to Young’s Point, in front of
. During the siege of
the artillery took no step backwards, but advanced its guns at every favorable
point until the stronghold surrendered. General
Taylor was always at the front and superintended the posting of every gun in
person. No sooner had the surrender
taken place than he was ordered to join General Sherman in the pursuit of Joe
Johnston, and rode some fifteen miles the same afternoon to the headquarters of
General Sherman. After relieving
, the troops returned to
, thence to
, and were posted along the railroad from that point to
, and Colonel Taylor went north to
for the purpose of hurrying up the new guns and equipments for his artillery,
and afterward took part in the
campaign. General McPherson took
command of the Army of the
with Colonel Taylor as Chief-of-Artillery.
While with McPherson he fought at Snake Creek Gap, Resaca, Calhoun and
Dallas, where he received a wound through the body which at the time considered
mortal, but a naturally strong constitution, together with the best surgical
aid, after a long time enabled him to move about again, but the effects of the
wound are permanent, and he never expects to be as he was before.
In March, 1865 he was brevetted Brigadier-General “for gallant and