Captain Patrick Naughton

Fifth Iowa Volunteer Cavalry

Like many officers who raised companies during the War Between the States, Captain Patrick Naughton did not remain in uniform throughout the entire war. Born in Ireland and residing in St Louis at the outset of the war, Naughton mustered on September 1, 1861 and was appointed captain of the company which would be known as Naughton's Irish Dragoons. He would resign his commission on June 9, 1862.

However, prior to that, he would serve with distinction at the head of his "dragoons" who became Company L of the Fifth Iowa Cavalry. He was the first officer in the regiment to see battle, having led his men in the Battle of Springfield. During the battle, in honor of which the company was "presented by the ladies of Springfield with a beautiful silk flag, with "Springfield" emblazoned on it," Naughton was severely wounded. It is quite possible that lingering problems from this wound precipitated his early retirement from combat. According to an early account of the battle:

The loss in White's command seems to have been confined to one company-Capt. Patrick Naughton's Irish Dragoons. First Lieutenant Patrick Connelly (Conley), of this company was mortally wounded, dying soon after. Private Chas. Gilchrist was shot in the arm and Jerrold Connor in the hip.

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..."

Truly, Naughton and the Irish Dragoons destined to become a part of the Fifth Iowa Cavalry did not receive the credit they deserved for this early engagement in the War Between the States. For a fuller discussion of this important battle, we invite you to read the following account of the Battle of Springfield also known as Zagonyi's Charge.

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