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.
(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
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
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
(Above: Zachary Taylor
Silver Medal example: Obverse)
(Zachary Taylor Silver Medal
Zachary Taylor Bronze Medal
(Zachary Taylor Bronze Medal