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PRESIDENT ZACHARY TAYLOR - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 03/01/1848 - HFSID 288298

Three months before his Presidential nomination and one year before his inauguration, Taylor writes military aide and political supporter J. B. Butler that he cannot come to Cincinnati because he may soon be ordered back to "the seat of war."

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ZACHARY TAYLOR
Three months before his Presidential nomination and one year before his inauguration, Taylor writes military aide and political supporter J. B. Butler that he cannot come to Cincinnati because he may soon be ordered back to "the seat of war."
Autograph Letter signed: "Z. Taylor", 2 pages (front and verso), 8x9¾. Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 1848 March 1. To Major J. B. Butler, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In full: "Your kind favor of Feb. 9 came duly to hand and I am truly indebted to you for the wish you have expressed that I should visit Cincinnati etc., but I assure you such a journey is at present quite out of the question as Rumors have been rife of the intention to order me again to the seat of war and tho' all is uncertain, I must maintain myself for a time at least where I may be readily accessible to the communications of the Dept. Accept my sincere thanks for the many kind sentiments of regard you have once and heretofore expressed towards me both those of a political & personal nature." The popularity of war hero Zachary Taylor (1784-1850) led to his election as the 12th U.S. President (1849-1850). A 40-year veteran of the Army, Taylor was a veteran of several campaigns against the Indians, including the Black Hawk War and the Seminole wars. As a colonel, he won the Battle of Okeechobee on December 25, 1837, with a loss of only 26 men, resulting in his promotion to Brigadier General. In 1845, Congress passed a resolution for the annexation of Texas, which was then an independent republic. Taylor was sent to occupy disputed territory claimed by Mexico between the Rio Grande and Neuces Rivers, winning important battles against numerically superior forces at Palo Alto, Resaca de Palma, Monterrey and Buena Vista. He became a national hero, dubbed "Old Rough and Ready," leading the Whigs to nominate him for U.S. President. (Actually, like Eisenhower a century later, Taylor's policy views were not well known, and he was courted by both Parties.) Elected as a Whig, Taylor alienated Congressional leaders of that party by refusing to support their program of high tariffs and a national bank. Although a Louisiana slave owner, he also angered southerners by taking a moderate stance on the slavery issue and threatening to lead the Army personally against any attempt at rebellion. Taylor died in office on July 9, 1850, after becoming ill from food he had eaten at a July 4th celebration. Assassination theories persist, despite a 1991 exhumation of his body which failed to support the notion that he had been poisoned. Taylor was the last slave-owning President. Major John B. Butler, who had served on Taylor's staff in Mexico, was US Army Paymaster at the Allegheny Arsenal, near Pittsburgh. He was an ardent supporter of Taylor's presidential campaign. When Taylor wrote this letter, a treaty of peace between the US and Mexico had been signed, but not yet ratified by either legislature. The US Senate approved the treaty on March 10, but Mexico did not give formal assent until May 19. It remained possible, therefore, that the war might resume, and that Taylor himself might be ordered back to "the seat of war." Instead, the war successfully concluded. Taylor was nominated for President at the Whig Convention in Philadelphia on June 9. Lightly toned at edges. Multiple mailing folds. Multiple unknown stains near center of letter. Otherwise, fine condition.

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