General Taylor's Encampment
When you walk around North Beach and downtown, you’re walking in the footsteps of several future U.S. Presidents and Generals—and almost 4,000 troops who were stationed in Corpus Christi before the Mexican-American war. They came to town (if just 20 or so houses could be called that) in the fall of 1845 at the orders of President Polk and lived in tents that stretched over a mile of bay-front land.
What they found at Camp Marcy, as General Zachary Taylor called it, would excite anyone who loves the outdoors. Soldiers wrote letters home about the mild weather, fishing, and game animals found around their camp. The men completed training exercises but also filled their time with pleasure, including putting on productions like Othello. But…it was war time, and they were soldiers with risky jobs.
When the boiler burst aboard their steamer Dayton, eight of Taylor’s men perished and were buried under a mesquite tree with a view of Nueces and Corpus Christi bays. This site became known as Old Bayview Cemetery, which is now the oldest Federal Military Cemetery in Texas.
Several monuments remember the months the Army spent in Corpus Christi. At Artesian Park, Corpus Christi’s first park, a historical marker stands at the site of an artesian well drilled adjacent to the encampment and a pink granite monument is dedicated to “Old Rough and Ready,” President Taylor. A smaller granite monument stands behind Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History, near the Water Gardens, to honor Taylor and his men.
Head to Corpus Christi and take a walk through this history as you discover what else awaits you on the Corpus Christi bayfront.