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.

   Ezra 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 St. Louis 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 Fort Donelson by invitation of General Grant, he was made one of the party to go to Nashville , 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 Vicksburg .  During the siege of Vicksburg 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 Knoxville , the troops returned to Chattanooga , thence to Bridgeport , and were posted along the railroad from that point to Huntsville , Alabama , and Colonel Taylor went north to Cairo , St. Louis and Chicago for the purpose of hurrying up the new guns and equipments for his artillery, and afterward took part in the Atlanta campaign.  General McPherson took command of the Army of the Tennessee 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 meritorious services.”