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Taylor, Captain Alfred B.

† Alfred Bronaugh Taylor was born in Washington, D. C., about 1843, the son of Rear Admiral W. R. Taylor. Little, aside from his military service, is known about him. At the age of nineteen, on May 28, 1862, he enrolled in Baltimore, Maryland, for three months as a private in Company H, 22d Regiment, New York State Militia, and was mustered out with the company and honorably discharged September 5, 1862, in New York City. He again enlisted June 29, 1863, in Washington, D. C., and was honorably discharged November 12, 1863, as a private, Troop K, 5th Regiment of Cavalry, to enable him to accept a commission as second lieutenant in the same regiment, to take effect October 31, 1863. On September 12, 1864, he was promoted to first lieutenant. He took part in the operations at Mine Run, served during the winter of 1863-64 near Mitchell's Station, and, the following spring, was in action on the Rapidan, at Charlottesville, Stannardsville, and Morton's Ford. From March 24, 1864, to the end of the war, he was on escort duty with General Grant and was brevetted captain April 9, 1865, for gallant conduct in actions at Richmond and Petersburg and in Surrey County.

† After the war he was promoted to Captain on June 22, 1869. He joined his company at Fort McPherson, Nebraska, August 25, 1869, and was in action against the Indians on the Republican River and Prairie Dog Creek, Kansas. He was transferred to Camp Grant, Arizona, in January, 1872, and served through the Apache campaign of 1872-73. He was stationed at Fort Lyon, Colorado, in 1875-76, and at Fort Robinson, Nebraska, in 1876. He was also in action during the Sioux uprisings at Chadron Creek, Nebraska, and at Powder River and Bates Creek at the end of that year. Owing to the hardships of the winter campaign, his health was affected, and he was forced to relinquish the command of his company at Red Cloud Agency in December, 1876. He was almost continually on sick leave until April, 1879, when he retired from active service.

† For a couple of years he was engaged in business and literary pursuits in New York City, and then for a year traveled in Europe, returning to New York in October, 1882. He died in Washington, D. C., December 16, 1903.(†1)

† The two stories about Buffalo Bill as a boy which appeared originally in the Half-Dime Library, Nos. 191 and 194, with the by-line "Capt. Alfred B. Taylor, U.S.A." were long thought to be by Colonel Prentiss Ingraham, for the stories were reprinted in the Pocket Library, Nos. 106 and 165, under his name, and internal evidence seemed to indicate that he was actually the author.(†2) However, Henry Stinemetts of Los Angeles, a rider and roper with Cody's Wild West show in the early 1900's, wrote me(†3) that he met Captain Taylor for the first time in 1887. At that time Stinemetts was a boy of ten on the Patrick Brothers' ranch near Fremont, Nebraska, and Captain Al Patrick frequently brought friends with him from Omaha on hunting trips. In the autumn of 1888 he brought Captain Alfred B. Taylor and two other friends. Stinemetts had many dime novels, among them Half-Dime Library Nos. 191 and 194, and he asked Taylor if he had ever written any stories. "Yes, my boy," he said to the eleven-year-old Stinemetts, "I have written many stories in my time." When Henry showed him the two Half-Dime Libraries, Taylor said: "Yes, indeed, I did write these, and in part they are true because they narrate some of my own personal experiences." He added, when Stinemetts bashfully withdrew: "Here, my son, let me have the novels and I will put my signature on them."

† We thus have on the one hand the reprinting of these two stories with Prentiss Ingraham's name in the by-line, suggesting that he used the name of the real Captain Taylor as a pen name— as he did the names of Omohundro and Dr. Powell—and on the other, Taylor's own statement to Stinemetts, which must be given considerable weight, for unless Captain Taylor was having a bit of fun with the boy when he claimed to be the author, his authorship must be accepted as fact.

The two novels published under Captain Taylor's name are:

Half-Dime Library. Nos. 191, 194

They were reprinted under the name Prentiss Ingraham in:

Pocket Library. Nos. 160, 165


1 † The above sketch is a condensation of information received from the Adjutant General, Department of the Army, by Don Russell, and transmitted to me May 20, 1951. It was combined with data on Taylor's military service given in Across the Continent with the Fifth Cavalry, by Captain George F. Price, New York, 1883, 494. See also Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register and Directory of the United States Army, Washington, D. C., 1903, I, 945; Albert Johannsen, "Alfred Bronaugh Taylor: A Beadle Author," Dime Novel Round-Up, XXV, No. 303, December 15, 1957,103-104.
2 † For example, in Western dialect, most of the dime novelists used "hyer," "hyar," "hyur," "yere," "ye'r," or "yar" for "here," but Ingraham, under all his pseudonyms, used "heur." So also did "Taylor." Cowdrick is the only other author who used this spelling, and he used it only rarely. Ingraham's work is marked by various other characteristics.
3 In litteris, May 25, 1947. See also the Dime Novel Round-Up, XV, Nos. 176 and 177, pro and con.

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