This Rough & Ready Twist tobacco label depicts US General Zachary Taylor riding triumphantly on a white horse. General Taylor was famous for his role in the Mexican-American War, where he commanded the American Army of Occupation and led them to victory against larger Mexican armies at the Battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma. Taylor quickly became a popular national hero. After his impressive victory at the Battle of Buena Vista against a Mexican army three times the size of his own in February 1847, Taylor’s fame soared to new heights.
Newspapers at the time compared him to Presidents Washington and Jackson, giving many the impression that Taylor was seeking political office. Upon hearing of his supposed quest for the Presidency, Taylor wrote in a letter, “Such an idea never entered my head, nor is it likely to enter the head of any sane person.” He was given honorary membership in the New York Society of the Cincinnati. Taylor was also admitted to the Aztec Club of 1847, a Mexican-American War veterans’ association, and for his service was awarded three Congressional Gold Medals. Taylor remains the only person to have been awarded three Congressional Gold Medals.
After the war was over Taylor ran for President and won the 1848 Presidential election. He would be in office only until July 9th, 1850, when he died of an unknown digestive ailment brought on by eating “copious amounts of raw fruit and iced milk” while attending an Independence Day fundraising event for the ongoing construction of the Washington Monument.