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Oliver Hazard Perry Taylor was the youngest son of Commodore William Vigneron Taylor of the United States navy. He was born at Newport, Rhode Island, September 14th, 1825.
He entered the Military Academy at West Point July 1st, 1842, before he had reached the age of seventeen, and graduated July 1st, 1846. On the day of his graduation he was appointed Brevet 2nd Lieutenant, First dragoons, but did not enter immediately upon his duties. The company to which he was assigned was serving in New Mexico against hostile Indians, and it was there he joined it on October 25th, following his graduation.
On January 29, 1847, he engaged the Indians in battle at Embudo, New Mexico, and fought them again on February 4th, the same year, at Pueblo de Taos. For gallant and meritorious conduct in these engagements he was brevetted 1st Lieutenant.
Crossing the border, into Mexico, he participated in the battle of Santa Cruz de Rosales, March 16, 1847. For bravery and skill displayed in this action he was promoted to the rank of Captain.
He was engaged in a number of slight skirmishes with Indians during the next few years, and on July 26th, 1850, was in combat with them at the headwaters of the Canadian, or Red river, in which he bore a distinguished part. His service in New Mexico required him to be often in the field, and the headquarters of the command to which he was attached were frequently moved. During his stay there he traversed a large portion of that territory. In December, 1851, he went east on leave. Resuming his duties in August, he was until September 15th at Carlisle Barracks, Pa. He rejoined his regiment, in New Mexico, January 31st, 1852. In June of that year the regiment was ordered to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where Taylor remained until July 1st, 1854, when he was granted leave on account of sickness. He was absent from the army and at his home until August 1st, 1855. From that date until July 1856, he was engaged in the recruiting service. Rejoining his regiment July 26th, 1856, just as it was on the eve of departing for the Pacific coast, he arrived in due time at Fort Lane, Oregon. Soon after that, his company was transferred to Fort Yamhill, Oregon, and in June, 1857, with his company he was ordered to join the command of Colonel Steptoe at Fort Walla Walla. September 29th, 1857, he departed on leave of absence for the winter. Returning to duty, accompanied by his wife and children, in the following spring, when the rumblings of discontent among the Indians east of the Cascades were arresting the serious attention of the head of the Department of the Pacific, he arrived at Vancouver early in April. By order from: Colonel Steptoe, on proceeding to Walla Walla, he took back with him the dragoon horses which had been sent to Vancouver for the winter, being assisted in this task by Company H, First dragoons, under Lieut. Gregg. He arrived at Walla Walla April 24th. Two weeks later he started northward on his last march, and met his death at the hands of the Coeur d’Alenes, Spokanes and Palouses at the battle of Tohotonimme, May 17th, 1858.
In general orders reported to the Secretary of War, which were through the President placed in the hands of Congress, the Adjutant General of the army said: “This unequal contest, which did not result in our favor, nevertheless furnished many in stances of personal bravery and heroism which must not be lost. It was, moreover, marked by the loss of the tried, gallant and distinguished Brevet Captain O. H. P. Taylor, and that most gallant and promising young officer, 2nd Lieut. William Gaston, both of the 1st dragoons. ”
On August 8th, 1853, Captain Taylor married Miss Kate Deweese of Marysville, Kentucky. Two children were born to them, a son and a daughter. The daughter, Mrs. Mae D. Taylor Clark, now resides at Cincinnati, Ohio.