Lieutenant Patrick Conley

Fifth Iowa Volunteer Cavalry

One of the most interesting entries in the Official Roster of the Fifth Iowa Cavalry simply reads:

Conley, Patrick - Age 45
Residence Detroit, Michigan - Nativity, Ireland
Enlisted September 1, 1861. Mustered September 1, 1861
Killed in action October 25, 1861

The fact is that Patrick Conley (Connelly) was a member of Naughton's Irish Dragoons and he tragically died during an heroic charge during the Battle of Springfield before the Company even became a part of the Fifth Iowa Cavalry. Conley must have possessed a tremendous constitution, as he survived for some time after receiving his grievous mortal wounds. The following account from an 1883 publication reveals the facts.

The loss in White's command seems to have been confined to one company--Captain Patrick Naughton's Irish Dragoons. First Lieutenant Patrick Connelly, of this company was mortally wounded, dying soon after…

Surgeon Melcher says of the Irish Dragoons: "There was a company under Zagonyi of whose action little mention has been made, although it charged into the thickest of the fight. I refer to the Irish Dragoons, under Captain Patrick Naughton. I found Captain Naughton the next day in a house, half a mile or more west of the battle ground, with a bullet in his right lung, from the effects of which wound he never entirely recovered, and died under my charge in St Louis in 1873. First Lieutenant Patrick Conley (Connelly) was struck by two balls, one passing entirely through his body from left to right, and through his right arm, making four holes, and then from front to back through his right lung. Mr. Kimbrough and myself found him with these six bullet holes, lying on the ground so much exhausted and chilled as to be unable to speak. Finding there was a spark of life in him, we took him to the hospital, where he was partially restored. He lived eight days, fully conscious to the last."

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