Since its original printing in 1952, the publication of the Handbook of Texas has been made possible through the support of its users. As an independent nonprofit, TSHA relies on your contributions to close the funding gap for the online Handbook and keep it a freely accessible resource for users worldwide. Please make a donation today to preserve the most comprehensive encyclopedic resource on Texas history. Donate Today »


Rev. by Bruce Allardice

TAYLOR, JAMES RATHER (ca. 1838–1864). James Rather Taylor, Confederate soldier, was born about 1838 in Fayette County, Alabama, the son of William S. and Elizabeth (Johnson) Taylor. His father was a Texas state representative. The younger Taylor and attended Larissa College in Cherokee County, Texas. He enlisted in the Confederate Army at Larissa on February 15, 1862, and was elected a captain in the Seventeenth Texas Cavalry. When the regiment was reorganized at Little Rock, Arkansas, on May 22, he was elected colonel. He was captured with most of his regiment at Arkansas Post on January 11, 1863, and was exchanged at City Point, Virginia, in April of that same year. He then returned to the Trans-Mississippi Department, where he collected men from the regiments captured at Arkansas Post to be organized as the Seventeenth Texas Cavalry, Consolidated. In the fall of 1863 the new regiment was attached to Polignac's Brigade of Texas infantry and served throughout the remainder of the war in Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas. A college classmate remarked that “a truer patriot, and a man of truer Spartan courage, has yet to be born.” Taylor was killed while acting as brigade commander at the battle of Mansfield, Louisiana, on April 8, 1864, during the Red River campaign. According to one account, he was killed by mistake by one of his own men, in the darkness at the end of that day’s battle. He is buried in Mansfield Cemetery.


Bruce S. Allardice, Confederate Colonels: A Biographical Register (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2008). Alwyn Barr, Polignac's Texas Brigade, Texas Gulf Coast Historical Association Publication Series 8.1 (November 1964). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Marcus J. Wright, comp., and Harold B. Simpson, ed., Texas in the War, 1861–1865 (Hillsboro, Texas: Hill Junior College Press, 1965).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Rev. by Bruce Allardice, "TAYLOR, JAMES RATHER," accessed November 12, 2018,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on August 3, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox