Colonel John N. Daly is lying to the right of Colonel Rogers
The most famous commander killed at the Battle of Corinth on October 4, 1862 was William Peleg Rogers who commanded a brigade of Texas Infantry. Killed in the attack on Battery Robinette alongside of Colonel Rogers was Colonel John Daly, commander of the 18th Arkansas Infantry.
I’ve attempted to write a blog about Colonel Daly for some time now, but there is very little information to be found about him. After months of research, I decided to publish what is known about this brave Arkansas colonel.
John Daly was born in Tennessee and eventually became a lawyer in Ouachita County, Arkansas. He was 29 years old in the 1860 census and had married a lady named Mary Ann McCollum. Together they had one son named Richard Hugh Daly. Mary Ann was born in 1838 making her seven years younger than John.
When the war began, John was elected lieutenant of Company I, 18th Arkansas Infantry which was organized Camden, Arkansas. He was soon elected lieutenant colonel and eventually colonel of the regiment.
The regiment having been 1000 strong when organized was down to 425 men by September, 1862 because of sickness. They fought in the Battle of Iuka on September 19, 1862. They then marched to Corinth where they formed for battle on October 4, 1862 with just over 300 infantrymen. They advanced against Battery Robinette and received enfilading fire from Battery Williams to the south. Colonel Daly led the regiment forward over felled trees and up to the enemy breastworks.
He was wounded as he led the assault with his sword in hand. He yelled, “On with the assault!” before collapsing on the ground mortally wounded. The fire at the works was so severe, that only 43 men returned from the charge.
One soldier in the 18th Arkansas wrote, “On Saturday, our gallant colonel John Daly, leading his men, was mortally wounded in that sheet of fire and lead which no troops could withstand. On Monday, after the charge on Saturday, I found our Colonel John Daly, who commanded the 18th Arkansas, and a number of others of the regiment. A detail of Federals were burying the Confederate dead. It was horrible to contemplate the scene and look upon the blackened and bloated corpses.”
Studying the photograph of Colonel Daly beside Colonel Rogers, I had assumed he was shot in the head. There appears to be blood on his forehead, but eyewitness accounts say he didn’t die until sometime the next day. He possibly was struck in the head and survived until the following day. I also wanted to find where he was buried and the best I can figure is that he rests where he fell near Battery Robinette. There is a marker there dedicated to Colonel Rogers and one to Brigadier General Joseph Lewis Hogg who died in Corinth of dysentery on May 16, 1862. I asked one of the Park Rangers there at the Battery Robinette Civil War Museum if Colonel John Daly was buried there alongside of Colonel William Peleg Rogers and she replied, “I’ve never heard of the man.”
If you study the above picture, you’ll notice what appears to be blood above Colonel Daly’s right eye.