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TAYLOR, Henry H.

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TAYLOR, Henry H. (Jo Daviess County, Illinois, near Galena, July 4, 1841--Levenworth, Kansas, May 3, 1909). Recipient, MEDAL OF HONOR. Taylor enlisted, on May 9, 1861, after Abraham Lincoln’s call for 75,000 state militia, after the firing on Fort Sumter. He was assigned to the 45th Illinois Infantry on November 20, 1861. The regiment would officially be mustered into Federal service on December 25, 1861, at Camp Douglas, Illinois.

The 45th Illinois would fight in many of the most significant battles in the Western Theater including: Fort Henry, Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth, Vicksburg Campaign, Atlanta Campaign and the Carolinas Campaign. Taylor mustered in as a private and would advance to sergeant of Company C, where he would be a color bearer.

During the fighting, at Vicksburg, Mississippi, Taylor provided his most important service to the United States. On June 25, 1863, after the reduction of the Third Louisiana Redan, by an underground mine, the infantry was sent into the breach. The 45th Illinois was part of US Brigadier General Mortimer D. Leggett’s First Brigade, assigned to US Major General John Logan’s First Division of US Major General James B. McPherson’s XVII Corps. Led by Colonel Jasper A. Maltby, the 45th Illinois rushed into gaping hole left after the detonation of the mine. The fighting would be described by Leggett as “desperate.” Taylor, as color bearer, was in the front of his regiment. As they clawed their way to the top of the Third Louisiana Redan, Sergeant Taylor planted the regiment’s colors on the works. The fighting would continue well into the night. The Federal troops would finally pull back about 75 feet, a position they held through the surrender, on July 4.

Taylor received the Medal of Honor for his valor during the fight at what would be called, “General Logan’s Canal.” After the surrender, the 45th Illinois would be the first regiment to enter Vicksburg.

Taylor remained in the 45th Illinois Infantry until he mustered out on September 8, 1864, after his three year term of enlistment expired.

After the CIVIL WAR, Taylor and his wife, Margery, lived in Wyandotte, Kansas where he worked as a banker.