Indeed, Taylor had not willingly gone to war in the spring of 1862. In an effort to raise troops, the Confederate Congress had passed a conscription law in April of 1862, which required all healthy young white men living in Southern states to serve in the military for three years. The measure was unpopular among southerners who valued their individualism; to Unionists and other Alabamians who did not support secession, conscription seemed particularly troubling. In Tuscaloosa County, Taylor and many of his neighbors had not supported secession, and it was not until he was faced with the threat of imprisonment or worse if he failed to join up that Taylor enlisted.
Despite being consigned to army life, Taylor continued to look for a way to return to his wife and four children. Soon after he left, he wrote to his wife that he “would give my land for a substitute,” and urged her to contact one of their neighbors to strike a deal. In response, she cautioned that “almost evry [sic] one says [they] would not do it if [they] was you. Th at peace will bee made soon.” Nevertheless, she agreed with him and acknowledged that she “would freely give all we posess [sic] for a substitute to take your place.” Yet no such replacement could be found, and Taylor remained in the army, deciding that although he was “getting mighty tired of this way of living,” that he “ought not to grumble for I believe that it is for our good. Maybe we did not tha[n]k God in our hearts enough for the pleasure and the happy days we lived together.” For Taylor and other Confederate soldiers who did not support secession, the end of the long war could not come quickly enough.