Term: Dailey, Lt. Col. Dennis B. (1840-1898)
b. Galway County, Ireland
d. Council Bluffs, Iowa, March 5, 1898
Dennis Dailey is best-remembered today for his bravery while a captain in the Iron Brigade during the Civil War.
Dailey was born in Galway County, Ireland, in 1840 and arrived in America with his parents at the age of six. He was educated at Antioch College in Ohio.
Dailey enlisted as a private in the 2nd Wisconsin Infantry on April 18, 1861, just a week after the firing upon Fort Sumter that opened hostilities. During the war he rose steadily through the ranks until he was a major of the 6th Wisconsin Infantry. He also served on the personal staffs of Generals Bragg and Cutler at times.
On July 1, 1863, Dailey helped capture a Confederate general at Gettysburg. Later that day, he was wounded and captured, but escaped on July 5 as the Confederates retreated.
Dailey was known for his remarkable bravery, which bordered at times on foolhardiness. Gen. Edward S. Bragg recalled how, at the Battle of Weldon Road on August 21, 1864, Dailey tried to capture an entire Confederate brigade single-handedly: "Without waiting for orders or considering consequences, he put spurs to his horse and, dashing across the few rods that lay between us and the unsuspecting rebels, rode up to the colors of the foremost regiment, seized the staff and with an audacity that seemed more sublime the more you think of it, said 'Gentlemen, you are my prisoners.'" Dailey was shot, but he recovered and was promoted to major.
Dailey was later brevetted lieutenant colonel "for gallant and meritorious services at the battle of White Oak Road in Virginia" on March 31, 1865, and was mustered out six weeks later, on July 14, 1865.
Dailey moved to Council Bluffs, Iowa, in 1867. The governor of Iowa appointed him to district attorney and he later became a distinguished criminal lawyer. Dailey resided in Council Bluffs, Iowa, until his death in 1898.
Links to Learn More
View Gen. Bragg's account of Dailey at the Battle of Weldon Road
[Source: Annals of Iowa, vol. III: 475; Aubery, Cullen. Echoes from the Marches of the Famous Iron Brigade (Milwaukee, 1902); Pfanz, Harr W. Gettysburg, the First Day (Univ. of No. Carolina Press, 2001).]