My Union Ancestor
WILLIAM SMITH TAYLOR
Co. B, 38th Iowa Infantry
3 x great-granduncle of Tad D. Campbell, PCinC
William Smith Taylor was the third of ten children of Robert A. and Susanna M. (Robinson) Taylor. He was born in Hempfield Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania on April 25, 1842.
With his parents he left Westmoreland County about 1854-56 and settled in Dubuque County, Iowa. They lived her some five or six years when they removed to Bremer County, Iowa.
On July 25, 1862 William S. Taylor enlisted in the U.S. Army as a Private. He was mustered into Company B, 38th Iowa Infantry on September 11, 1862.
The regiment was organized at Dubuque and mustered in on December 4, 1862. They moved to Benton Barracks near St. Louis, Missouri on December 15. From there they boarded the steamer Platte Valley and proceeded down the Mississippi to Columbus, Kentucky where they arrived on December 30th. They were attached to the District of Columbus, Kentucky, 16th Army Corps, Department of Tennessee.
The regiment participated in an expedition to Union City, Tennessee, December 31, 1862 through January 1, 1863. They were then ordered back to Columbus and thence down the river to New Madrid, Missouri, where they were stationed guarding Fort Thompson until June 1863.
In June the regiment went by the steamer Daniel Taylor to Young's Point, Louisiana, and by June 15th they had crossed the Mississippi and were under the guns of Vicksburg, Mississippi forming a part of General Grant's extreme left line during the siege.
The location where this particular regiment was stationed was extremely unhealthy, being at the edge of a dismal cypress swamp. Many of the men contracted malaria.
While at Vicksburg, Private Taylor was one of many that succumbed to disease, passing away on July 26, 1863. He was only 21 years, 3 months, and 1 day old.
The story of this regiment is short and melancholy. As an organization it never saw a battle, and yet no other Iowa regiment lost so many soldiers in such a short time. Out of a full strength of 910, not less than 311 were dead of disease within a year and a half, and another 110 had been discharged as being too "broken down" to serve. It is doubtful if any command in all the Union suffered as this regiment did.
By August 1864 so many of the men were down with the fever that the morning report showed only eight officers and twenty men fit for duty. Shortly thereafter, those that remained were merged into the 34th Iowa Infantry.
William S. Taylor's younger brother, Arthur S. Taylor, served in the same company and succumbed to disease as well. Their only other brother, John B. Taylor, served with the 13th Illinois and was killed in a charge at Chickasaw Bayou.
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