The Exchange : Zachary Taylor, a Mexican-American War icon

Zachary Taylor, a Mexican-American War icon

Many historical and well-known figures have been associated with the city of New Orleans. However, one of the most historical figures to be associated with the city is Zachary Taylor. Taylor is best known for two reasons. First, he was a well-decorated and admired United States war general during the Mexican-American War. Second, he served as 12th President of the United States.


Zachary _Taylor _restored _and _cropped

(Gen. Taylor's victories earned him comparisions to George Washington and Andrew Jackson)

Taylor was not born in New Orleans; he was born in Virginia and raised in Kentucky. In 1808, he became an officer in the U.S. Army. After he married Margaret Mackall Smith, he settled in Louisiana and assumed command of the fort at Baton Rouge. Quickly, Taylor became very popular in the Louisiana and New Orleans areas and gained fame across the country as an "Indian fighter."


When the Mexican-American War began, Taylor found himself in the middle of many of the battles. He won battles at Palo Alto, Resaca de la Palma and Monterrey. However, his finest hour came during the Battle of Buena Vista. Prior to the battle, a large number of Taylor's soldiers, mostly veterans and regulars, were ordered by President James Polk to join General Winfield Scott's campaign in Vera Cruz and Mexico City. Mexican General Santa Anna got word of Taylor's depleted forces and saw an opportunity to quickly defeat Taylor's group of 6,000 with his troops, which numbered nearly 20,000. 


Taylor was informed of the advancing Mexican troops and quickly moved his soldiers into the mountain pass near Hacienda Buena Vista. Taylor refused to surrender. By the time the battle was finished, Santa Anna lost 3,400 of his men compared to the 650 Taylor lost.


Due to his historic efforts, in 1848 the city of New Orleans issued a medal to Taylor to commemorate his victories in the Mexican-American War and particularly for the battle of Buena Vista.


Needless to say, Taylor had an immense amount of popularity after the war, which helped him to win the 1849 U.S. Presidential election. His presidency was short-lived; he died only 16 months after his election.


May 9-11, New Orleans will host the ANA National Money Show, and the ANA Museum Showcase will feature medals commemorating Taylor's accomplishments.


"This year our showcase is going to highlight the history of Louisiana and New Orleans with items seldom seen by the public," ANA Money Museum curator Douglas Mudd said.


Included in those items will be silver and bronze examples of the medal awarded to Taylor in 1848. As you have read in this article, there is a high level of historical significance associated with this medal. If you plan on attending the National Money Show in New Orleans, be sure to visit the Museum Showcase to get a look at the silver and bronze Zachary Taylor medal examples.

Zach Taylor Silver o

(Above: Zachary Taylor Silver Medal example: Obverse)

Zach Taylor Silver r

(Zachary Taylor Silver Medal example: Reverse)

Zach Taylor Bronze 1o

Zachary Taylor Bronze Medal example: Obverse)

Zach Taylor Bronze 2r

(Zachary Taylor Bronze Medal example: Reverse)

Written by Brandon Ortega at 00:00



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