Millard Fillmore photo

Announcement to the Army of the Death of President Taylor

July 11, 1850




Washington, July 11, 1850.

I. The following order of the President of the United States announces to the Army the lamented death of the illustrious General Zachary Taylor, late President of the United States:

WAR DEPARTMENT, July 11, 1850.

The President of the United States with profound sorrow announces to the Army, the Navy, and Marine Corps the death of Zachary Taylor, late President of the United States. He died at the Executive Mansion on the night of the 9th instant at half-past 10 o'clock.

His last public appearance was in participating in the ceremonies of our national anniversary at the base of the monument now rearing to the memory of Washington. His last official act was to affix his signature to the convention recently concluded between the United States and Great Britain.

The vigor of a constitution strong by nature and confirmed by active and temperate habits had in later years become impaired by the arduous toils and exposures of his military life.

Solely engrossed in maintaining the honor and advancing the glory of his country, in a career of forty years in the Army of the United States he rendered himself signal and illustrious. An unbroken current of success and victory, terminated by an achievement unsurpassed in our annals, left nothing to be accomplished for his military fame.

His conduct and courage gave him this career of unexampled fortune, and with the crowning virtues of moderation and humanity under all circumstances, and especially in the moment of victory, revealed to his countrymen those great and good qualifies which induced them unsolicited to call him from his high military command to the highest civil office of honor and trust in the Republic; not that he desired to be first, but that he was felt to be worthiest.

The simplicity of his character, the singleness of his purpose, the elevation and patriotism of his principles, his moral courage, his justice, magnanimity and benevolence, his wisdom, moderation, and power of command, while they have endeared him to the heart of the nation, add to the deep sense of the national calamity in the loss of a Chief Magistrate whom death itself could not appall in the consciousness of "having always done his duty."

The officers of the Army, of the Navy, and Marine Corps will, as a manifestation of their respect for the exalted character and eminent public services of the illustrious dead, and of their sense of the calamity the country has sustained by this afflicting dispensation of Providence, wear crape on the left arm and upon the hilt of the sword for six months.

It is further directed that funeral honors be paid at each of the military posts according to general regulations, and at navy-yards and on board all public vessels in commission, by firing thirty minute guns, commencing at meridian, on the day after the receipt of this order, and by wearing their flags at half-mast.

By order of the President:


Secretary of War.

II. The day after the receipt of this general order at each military post the troops will be paraded at 10 o'clock a.m. and the order read to them, after which all labors for the day will cease.

The national flag will be displayed at half-staff.

At dawn of day thirteen guns will be fired, and afterwards at intervals of thirty minutes between the rising and setting sun a single gun, and at the close of the day a national salute of thirty guns.

The officers Of the Army will wear the badge of mourning on the left arm and on their swords and the colors of the several regiments will be put in mourning for the period of six months.

By order:



(The Secretary of the Navy made the same announcement to the Navy as that portion of the above signed by the Secretary of War.)

Millard Fillmore, Announcement to the Army of the Death of President Taylor Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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