Baptists and the American Civil War: January 4, 1864

Jeremiah Daily

Jeremiah Daily

In the midst of a harsh cold spell and a dwindling food supply for the Confederate Army, today Confederate President Jefferson Davis assents to Gen. Robert E. Lee‘s request for more supplies by ordering “impressment from stock [cattle] on hand for year’s consumption by private parties and corporations of so much as is required for immediate use of army. This should be done so as to be most equal and least odious.” The hardships of home front families thus become all the more difficult as the government takes increasingly drastic means of maintaining its armed forces.

Serving in the Confederate Army is Jeremiah David Daily (1817-1898), a Baptist minister. Born in Arkansas and now living in Franklin County Alabama, Daily is a Primitive Baptist preacher and a farmer, having been ordained to the ministry in 1844. Prior to the war, he serves as pastor of the Zion Rest Baptist Church in Alabama. By the time Jeremiah decides to join the army, he and wife Malinda are parents of eight children.

Daily is a captain in Company E of the 4th Alabama Calvary, having joined the brigade on September 7, 1862. His three oldest sons have been serving in the army under him, one of whom is captured during the Battle of Shiloh and remains imprisoned in a Union prison in Ohio until the end of the war.

Unfortunately, the elder Daily, suffering an injury in October 1863, has not been the same since. Today from Frankfort, Alabama he pens a letter resigning his commission. Exactly one month hence, Daily is formally discharged from the army for hardship reasons.

Jeremiah survives the war, as does his sons, and returns to Alabama. The oldest son walks home from Ohio following his release from prison.

The elder veteran’s post-war life, however, is atypical for that of a Baptist minister. Divorcing Malinda, he marries Sarah Emaline Duncan in 1874. At this era in Baptist history, divorce is cause for excommunication in many, if not most, Baptist churches. Inevitably, divorced Baptist pastors automatically cease to be pastors.

The couple moves to Pope County, Arkansas, where Jeremiah becomes a school teacher, his ministerial career presumably having ceased. The couple have three children.

Malinda receives a Confederate widow’s pension until her death in 1896. Jeremiah dies in 1898. Sarah lives until 1922.

Sources: Letter from Jefferson Davis to Robert E. Lee, January 4, 1864, in Official Records of the Rebellion, Vol. 1 No. 33, Part 1, p. 1064 (link); “Jeremiah David Daily, 1817-1898” (link); J. Daily, Civil War Soldiers Database, National Park Service (link);