John Taylor Wood, Capt., CSA

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John Taylor Wood, Capt., CSA

Birthplace: Fort Snelling, Hennepin County, MinnesotaTerritory, USA
Death: Died in Nova Scotia, Canada
Place of Burial: Halifax, Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia, Canada
Immediate Family:

Son of Robert Crooke Wood, Sr., Dr. and Ann Margaret Mackall Wood
Husband of Lola Wood (MacKubin)
Father of Anne Mackall Wood; LtCol Zachary Taylor Wood NWMP; Elizabeth Simms Wood; Lola MacKubin Wood; Robert Crooke Wood, IV and 6 others
Brother of Robert Crooke Wood, Jr., Col., CSA; Blandina Dudly von Grabow and Sarah Knox Wood

Occupation: US Naval Officer, Captain Confederate Navy, Merchant
Managed by: Gwyneth McNeil
Last Updated:

About John Taylor Wood, Capt., CSA

John Taylor Wood (August 13, 1830 – July 19, 1904) was an officer in the United States Navy who became a captain in the Confederate Navy during the American Civil War.

The son of Robert Crooke Wood, an Army surgeon who served the Union in the Civil War, and Anne Mackall Taylor, daughter of President Zachary Taylor, John Taylor Wood was born in Minnesota on August 13, 1830. He became a U.S. Navy Midshipman in 1847 and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1853. He served for a time aboard the USS Ohio.

Wood served at sea during the last part of the Mexican-American War, off the coast of Africa and in the Mediterranean, as well as performing shore duty as a Naval Academy officer.

In April 1861, Lieutenant Wood's southern sympathies led him to resign from the Navy and take up farming near Annapolis, Maryland. Fearing arrest, he later went to Virginia and, in October 1861, received a commission as a Confederate Navy First Lieutenant.

Following service with shore batteries on the Potomac, he became an officer in the famed ironclad Virginia/Merrimac and participated in her encounter with the USS Monitor in the Hampton Roads, Virginia area. In May 1862, after Virginia/Merrimac was destroyed to prevent it's capture, he assisted with the defense of Drewry's Bluff, on the James River.

During the next two years, Wood led several successful raids against Federal ships and also served as naval aide to Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Promoted to Commander in May 1863, he simultaneously held the rank of Colonel in the cavalry. These dual ranks, with his reputation for extraordinary daring and his family connections to Confederate leaders, allowed him to play an important liaison role between the South's army, navy and civil government.

In August 1864, Wood commanded CSS Tallahassee during her very fruitful cruise against U.S. shipping off the Atlantic coast. He received the rank of Captain in February 1865. A few months later, as the Confederacy was disintegrating, he took part in President Davis' attempts to evade capture. Though briefly taken prisoner, Wood was able to make his way to Cuba. He subsequently went to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he became a businessman. John Taylor Wood died there on July 19, 1904. Link 1 Link 2 Link 3

Civil War Confederate Naval Officer. He was born at Fort Snelling, Iowa Territory, and was the son of army surgeon Robert Crooke Wood, Sr. Choosing a naval career, the young officer graduated from the Annapolis Naval Academy on June 10, 1853, and went to sea aboard the Cumberland. An instructor of gunnery tactics at the Academy in 1861, with strong family ties to the South (his mother was a daughter of Zachary Taylor; his aunt had married Jefferson Davis), he resigned his commission on April 21 after Federal troops occupied Maryland. The Navy Department refused the resignation and dismissed him from the service. Fleeing in September to Richmond with his wife and daughter, he entered Confederate service and became one of the staunchest advocates of Southern independence. His close relationship with Davis added weight to his professional achievement, and he emerged as one of the most influential men in the capital. Given rank as Second Lieutenant and sea duty aboard the CSS Virginia, he fought in the first duel between ironclads on March 8 and 9, 1862. After the Virginia was destroyed to prevent its capture, he led the crew to victory manning heavy gun emplacements at Drewry's Bluff on May 15, thwarting Major General George B. McClellan's best chance to take Richmond during the Peninsula Campaign. Largely for his success at Drewry's Bluff, Davis promoted him to First Lieutenant on September 29. Believing naval successes could boost sagging public morale and force the Confederate Congress to vote more money for shipbuilding, in mid-1862 the resourceful naval officer approached Secretary of the Navy Stephen R. Mallory with a plan to strike Federal craft in a series of midnight naval raids. The attacks, dependent on surprise and speed, were carried out by a crew of 15 or 20 handpicked men in specially built shallow draft boats light enough to be hauled overland in wagons and launched in small streams and inlets. The first raid against the transport schooner Frances Elmore, on Octobet 7, marked the beginning of his reputation as a coastal raider to be feared. On January 26, 1863, Davis appointed him his aide with rank as Colonel of cavalry, making the officer liaison between the army and navy and one of the few men to hold dual rank in the Confederacy. His inspection tour of the Southern ports and vessels that spring resulted in strengthened coastal and river defenses and in the establishment of a Provisional Navy as a means of promoting talented younger officers over veterans of the old navy reluctant to adapt to advances in naval warfare. Back at sea in July, he raided into Chesapeake Bay, and in February 1864 he received the Thanks of Congress for his capture the previous fall of the Underwriter, the largest Federal gunboat at New Berne, North Carolina. That July he put to sea aboard the Tallahassee, the faster steamer afloat. Eluding Federal pursuers, in less than 3 weeks he terrorized the coast from New York to Maine, capturing or destroying 31 coastal and fishing craft. He was promoted to Captain on February 10, 1865. He was with Davis at St. Paul's Episcopal Church when the President learned of General Robert E. Lee's retreat from Petersburg and accompanied Davis on his flight from Richmond. Captured with the presidential party near Irwinville, Georgia, on May 10, he managed to escape by bribing a guard. Making his way to Madison, Florida, a refugee town for Confederates, he met Secretary of War John C. Breckinridge. They and four other men traveled a perilous route to Fort Butler on the St. John's River, sailing from there on May 26 in a captured lifeboat. They arrived at Cardenas Bay, Cuba, on June 11, having survived near starvation, an encounter with pirates, and a violent storm in which he nearly lost his life. Learning that Federal authorities had issued a warrant for his arrest, he arranged to meet his family in Canada, where they settled in the expatriate community in Halifax, Nova Scotia. There he established a profitable merchant commission house with former blockade runner John Wilkenson, remaining a devoted Confederate until his death in Halifax. (bio by: Ugaalltheway) Add Our Family Tree link Additional link with high degree of detail John Taylor Wood is listed in R. Whitney Tucker's "The Descendants of the Presidents", Delmar Printing Company, Charlotte N.C. (1975) Chapter XII. Zachary Taylor, page 103, Third generation, Descendant XII-7 (John Taylor Wood, born at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, August 13, 1830; died in Halifax, N.S., July 19, 1904. Graduated from Annapolis. Captain in the Confederate Navy. Later lived in Halifax. Married, November 25, 1856, Lola MacKubin (born 1834; died 1909), daughter of George and Eleanor (MacCubbin) MacKubin and sister of James MacKubin who married Gabriella Peter ( Children; XII-16. Anne MacKall, born 1858; died in infancy. XII-17. Zachary Taylor. XII-18. Elizabeth Simms, born 1862; died in infancy. XII-19. Lola MacKubin. XII-20. Robert Crooke. XII-21. Eleanor MacKubin. XII-22. John Taylor (Jr.). XII-23. George MacKubin. XII-24. Blandina Von Grabow. XII-25. Mary Catharine Hammond. XII-26. Charles Carroll.)

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John Taylor Wood, Capt., CSA's Timeline

August 13, 1830
Hennepin County, MinnesotaTerritory, USA
Age 27
November 11, 1860
Age 30
Annapolis, Maryland, United States
March 13, 1862
Age 31
Petersburg, Dinwiddie County, Virginia, Confederate States of America
March 15, 1864
Age 33
Gloucester County, Virginia, Confederate States of America
Age 36
December 29, 1868
Age 38
Halifax, Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia, Canada
August 27, 1870
Age 40
Halifax, Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia, Canada
November 15, 1872
Age 42
Halifax, Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia, Canada