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Captain John Taylor, U.S.V.

Captain John Taylor, Quartermaster-General G. A. R. (Receiver of Taxes of Philadelphia), was born in Philadelphia April 5, 1840, and at the age of thirteen years entered the service of a commercial house as errand-boy. In 1861 he was among the first to enroll his name with the " Scotch Rifles," a new military company that had been organized in his neighborhood. The company was not mustered into service until the following month, when it became Company E, Second Regiment Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteer Corps, John Taylor's name being borne on the rolls as private.

June 12 he was promoted sergeant, and July 4 was made orderly sergeant. During the same month the Second, with the other regiments of the Pennsylvania Reserve Division, was hurried to the front, and from that time until April, 1865, John Taylor was identified with every movement and every action of the Pennsylvania Reserves.

He was with his company as sergeant at the battle of Dranesville, December 20, 1861, the first victory of the Army of the Potomac, and at Mechanicsville, Gaines' Mills, Savage Station, Frazier's Farm, White Oak Swamp, Glendale, Charles City Cross-Roads, Malvern Hill, Manassas, Chantilly, South Mountain, Antietam, and Fredericksburg, and in the famous mud-march in January, 1863. He was at Gettysburg July 2 and 3 as a lieutenant, leading his men across the " Valley of Death" at the foot of Round Top, and had command of the advance skirmish line that harassed the army of Lee as it retreated.

We find John Taylor an aid on the staff of the commander of the First Brigade Pennsylvania Reserves through all the campaigns preceding the battle of the Wilderness, and his gallant bearing drew from Major General George G. Meade, commanding the Army of the Potomac, one of the most complimentary letters ever written by a commanding officer.

At the Wilderness General McCandless and John Taylor rode side by side, leading the brigade in a charge into and through a corps of the enemy. The charge was a forlorn hope; it relieved and extricated Wadsworth and his division, but left John Taylor a prisoner, and the privations, vicissitudes, and sufferings of his ten months of captivity would fill a volume. Three times he escaped and just as often was recaptured, suffering the meanwhile hunger, fatigue, nakedness, and the diseases incident thereto. At Charleston he was one of those who, with General Truman Seymour, were removed to a place of confinement within the line and reach of the Union guns at Charleston harbor.

In March, 1865, Lieutenant Taylor heard the glad tidings of exchange, and at Wilmington, North Carolina, he was again under the shadow of the old flag. With the offer in his hands of a command in the Hancock Veteran Legion he succumbed to typhoid fever, and his convalescence was met with the glorious news of victory for the Union.

His recovery brought him a position in the quartermaster's department U. S. A., stationed at Fort Monroe, where he remained until 1870, when he returned to Philadelphia and engaged in the insurance business, in which his qualifications have made him eminently successful.

He is a member of Captain Philip R. Schuyler Post 51, Department of Pennsylvania, G. A. R.; was appointed its Adjutant, and the year following was elected its Commander and re-elected on the expiration of his term.

Captain John Taylor served for three terms as Assistant Quartermaster-General of the Department of Pennsylvania, and was then elected Department Commander. In 1881 he was appointed Quartermaster-General G. A. R. by Commander-in-Chief Vandervoort, and the eleven succeeding Commanders-in-Chief have each in turn reappointed him to this position of trust in the G. A. R.

He is a member of the Loyal Legion, Past Colonel of the Union Veteran Legion, president of the War Veterans' Club, a trustee of the National Memorial Association of the Union Prisoners of War, Past Master of Lodge No. 9, A. Y. M.; member of the Corinthian Chapter, R. A. M.; of Philadelphia Commandery, Knights Templar; of Lu Lu Temple of the Mystic Shrine, and of the Consistory.

Of Scotch-Irish parentage, both countries claim him, and he is a member of both the St. Andrew's and Hibernian Societies, as well as of the Scotch-Irish Society.

Captain Taylor was elected Receiver of Taxes of Philadelphia February, 1890, for three years by a majority of nearly forty thousand, and on assuming the responsibilities of the office immediately made himself familiar with all its details.

Source: Officers of the Volunteer Army and Navy who served in the Civil War, published by L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1893, 419 pgs.

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