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BORN: 1822 in Gloucester County, VA.
DIED: 1898 in "Dunham Massie", Gloucester County, VA.
CAMPAIGNS: Rich Mountain, Corrick,'s Ford, Shenandoah Valley (1862),
First Winchester, Port Republic, Cedar Mountain, Groveton, Fredericksburg,
Battery Wagner, and Bentonville.
William Booth Taliaferro (pronounced Tarl'-iver) was born in Gloucester County, Virginia, on December 28, 1822. Graduating from the College of William and Mary in 1841, he studied law at Harvard. In 1847, he joined the Regular Army and fought in the Mexican War. Serving in the Virginia legislature from 1850 to 1853, he was a Democratic presidential elector in 1856, and led the militia at Harpers Ferry after the November 1859 raid on John Brown. Taliaferro joined the Confederacy and, when the Civil War began, he was the major general in command of Virginia militia at Norfolk and Gloucester Point. He was such a strict disciplinarian to his subordinates that at least one of them physically assaulted him. When Taliaferro and other officers protested the poor conditions of the winter quarters Maj. Gen. "Stonewall" Jackson had assigned to them, he began his relationship with his new superior on poor footing. This relationship did not improve when Taliaferro made denigrating comments about Jackson, or when he personally intrigued against Jackson in Richmond, Virginia. After a period on detached service, Taliaferro, by then a brigadier general, returned to serving under Jackson. Taliaferro commanded well in Jackson's Shenandoah Valley Campaign in the spring of 1862, and distinguished himself at McDowell and First Winchester. He took part in the fighting at Port Republic; Cedar Mountain; Grovetown, where he was wounded three times; and Fredericksburg. Despite his service, he was not promoted to major general, so he left Jackson's army in February of 1863. After that, Taliaferro served under Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard; held Battery Wagner against Union attack; led troops on James Island and in eastern Florida; helped with the evacuation of Savannah and led a division at Bentonville. In the years following the Civil War, Taliaferro returned to the state legislature, and served as a county judge and member of the boards of visitors of the College of William and Mary and the Virginia Military Institute. Taliaferro died at his estate in Gloucester County, "Dunham Massie," on February 27, 1898.