Unique among Civil War memoirs, Richard Taylor’s Destruction and Reconstruction was first published in 1879. Reintroduced with a new foreword by noted historian Clyde Wilson, it retains its vitality in its description of the war in Virginia, where Taylor served under Stonewall Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley, and in the Red River campaign in Louisiana.
Aristocrat, son of President Zachary Taylor, lieutenant general in the Confederate army – Taylor knew personally many of the leading men on both sides of the conflict. A shrewd observer of men and society, his book contains acute portraits of generals and politicians, character sketches that are unparalleled in their accuracy.
Taylor’s war memoir, and his bitter denunciation of the corruption of the Reconstruction era that followed, endure as the most vivid and engaging accounts ever written about this critical period in American history.
“Taylor was the one Confederate General who possessed literary art that approached the first rank.” ~ Douglas Southall Freeman