When I began this series of articles, I was under the impression that the Joseph Taylor that is buried in the Greenwood Cemetery in Coventry was the recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor. However, during my research I learned that the Joseph Taylor who earned the Congressional Medal of Honor is actually buried in Edson Cemetery in Lowell, MA.
The Joseph Taylor that received the Congressional Medal of Honor was from Burrillville, RI, when he enlisted on August 11, 1862, not Coventry. He was not even quite 15 years old when he enlisted but lied and said he was 18 after his father, William J. Taylor gave permission.
In the History of the Seventh Squadron Rhode Island Cavalry, Mr. Taylor gave an account that he was born December 16, 1847, in Leeds, England, and came to this country when he was a baby. In the 1900 Massachusetts Federal Census for the City of Lowell Joseph Taylor said he was 54 years old, claiming to be born in December of 1845 in England and arrived in the United States in 1855.
He was married to Mary Frances Chapman by George Morse, Minister of the Gospel, on April 29 1868, in Westerly. She was the daughter of Thomas and Mary (Barber) Chapman from Rhode Island. The couple had a daughter, Frances, in December of 1868.
Lending even more mystery to his beginnings, in 1910 Taylor went on to say was 65 and came from England in 1850. Joseph Taylor of Lowell, MA, died Feb 24, 1914, at 30 South Whipple Street and according to his death certificate he was born in England in December of 1844.
As Joseph Taylor still was a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor I thought it would be honorable to continue the details of his service in spite of the fact he apparently is not one of our Coventry men.
He transferred from Co. E. old organization on October 21, 1864 to the re-organized Seventh Rhode Island Volunteers where he served as a Private in Company E. The Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery in the Civil War was issued on July 20, 1897, when he was living in Lowell, MA.
His medal was presented at the Reunion of the Seventh RI Volunteers. He received his medal for his actions at Weldon Railroad, VA, on August 18, 1864. He was seventeen years old when he performed the acts that would later lead to him receiving the medal and was wounded in his right arm by a bayonet.
His Citation reads “While acting as an orderly to a general officer on the field and alone, encountered a picket of 3 of the enemy and compelled their surrender.” He mustered out of service June 9, 1865.
Like many veterans of the American Civil War these men returned from the war, married, joined Grand Army of the Republic Posts and participated in Memorial Day Parades.