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CAPTAIN BUSHROD BENNETT TAYLOR
Civil War and 32 Years Service
From the Indianapolis News (no date given)
In Fairmont Cemetery, north of Madison, Indiana, is a grave that challenges attention by the unusual character of its monument which is a good-sized, iron anchor resting on a great rock rough from the quarry. The brief inscription testifies that it is the tomb of Bushrod Bennett Taylor, of the United States Navy, but gives little further information.
Few, if any, Indiana histories make any mention of him; yet by virtue of the position he occupied he is entitled to some distinction among Indiana’s sons. Born in Madison in 1832, he was reared there, and in 1849, through the influence of Senator Jesse D. Bright, he entered the navy as acting midshipman. In 1855 he was graduated from the naval academy and spent the remainder of his life in that service. The appointment by Senator Bright had originally been intended for his nephew, Richard J. Bright, but for some reason plans were changed. Richard Bright became prominent in Indiana politics, and for years was sergeant-at-arms in the United State Senate.
A Sketch of Taylor, published in Appleton’s Cyclopaedia (?) of American Biography states that he was promoted to master, then to lieutenant, in 1856; severed in the Paraguay expedition of 1859; went to the naval academy as an instructor in 1860, and assisted in the removal of the academy from Annapolis to Newport. From May to August 1861 he served on the flagship, Colorado in the gulf squadron on the blockade. He was on the supply and dispatch steamer Connecticut in 1861-1862, and was the executive of the steamer Cimmerone on the James River and the south Atlantic blockade in 1862-1863, being made lieutenant-commander. In 1863 he served on the flagship of the West India squadron, the Ticonderoga, and then commanded the steamer Kanawha in the west gulf squadron until September, 1865. Following that his duties were at the Philadelphia navy yard and at the naval academy as an instructor. He was commissioned commander in March, 1868, and the following year put in charge of the steamer Idaho of the Asiatic squadron. This vessel was caught in a typhoon and was seriously damaged. The storm was said to be one of the worst that was ever survived by any ship. He succeeded to the command of the Ashuelot at the same station. From 1872 to 1874 he was in the Philadelphia navy yard and the bureau of yards and docks at Washington, then commanded the steamer Wachusett and after that he was a member of the board of inspection at the Boston navy yard. He was appointed to special duty at Washington in 1880 and died in that city April 22, 1883 , after a virtually unbroken service of thirty-four years. He and Admiral George Brown, also of Indiana, entered the navy the same year and were close friend throughout life.
Captain Taylor’s widow, still living near Madison, has a Bible that he carried with him through his many wanderings, which shows damaged sustained at the time of the typhoon
wreck. This Bible seems to have been not only his library, but his diary, for on the fly leaves and margins are notes which show that the first ship to which he was assigned was the sloop of war, John Adams, and that during the first nine or ten years of his seafaring life he cruised extensively in South American waters. Three entries in different places give a more intimate glimpse of his private life and interests. One read: “Commended (commenced ?) reading the Bible through on August 19, 1858 on board receiving ship Allegheny.” Another one is: “One December 11, 1859, commenced second reading on board U. S. S. Preble, on passage from Aspinwall to Carthagena.” A third records that he began a third reading on October 30,1870, when in China.”
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