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Dan Daly’s Battlefield Eloquence

Daniel Joseph Daly (1873-1937), known as “Dan”, was a one of those unique characters that the U.S. Marines seem to produce from time to time.

Only about 5'6" tall and weighing in at 132 pounds, Daly, a lightweight boxer in his youth, joined the Marine Corps early in 1899.  He earned a Medal of Honor during the Boxer Rebellion on August 14, 1900, single-handedly holding an isolated position in the Legation Quarter at Peking overnight against enormous odds, while inflicting hundreds of casualties on the enemy.  In 1915, Daly won a second Medal of Honor  for helping to lead 35 marines to safety when they were ambushed by about 400 insurgents near Ft. Dipitie, Haiti, on October 24, 1915.  During the fight for Belleau Wood, in France (June 5-10, 1918), Daly again turned in such an outstanding performance that he was nominated for a third Medal of Honor, which was disapproved in favor of the Navy Cross and the offer of a commission.  Daly declined the commission, saying "To be a sergeant, you have to know your stuff.  I'd rather be an outstanding sergeant than just another officer."

Now during the fighting for Belleau Wood, Gunnery Sergeant Daniel Daly is famous for supposedly leading an attack with the cry, "Come on, you sons of bitches -- do you want to live forever?", or, perhaps, "Come on you crazy sons-of-bitches, do you want to live forever?" 

Often asked about this, Daly denied having uttered any such vulgarity, telling one reporter "You know a non-com would never use hard language.  I said, 'For goodness sake, you chaps, let us advance against the foe'."  On another occasion, however, he said that his words were "For Christ's sake, do you want to live forever," while he later also claimed to have said "Gracious, you chaps, do you want to live forever", not to mention “For Christ's sake men—come on! Do you want to live forever?"   

Whatever it was Daly said, the sentiment has certainly been expressed before.  While serving in the 61st New York Infantry during the Seven Day’s Battles in the Spring of 1862, Nelson A. Miles (later a distinguished Indian fighter and the Commanding General of the Army during the War with Spain) heard an unknown Confederate Colonel lead an attack with the cry, "Come on! Come on! Do you want to live forever?"

In addition to his two awards of the Medal of Honor and his Navy Cross, Daly held the Distinguished Service Cross, plus the French Medaille militaire and Croix de guerre avec palm, as well as two Letters of Commendation and two Wound Stripes, which in World War II would have been a Silver Star, with bronze device in lieu of second award, and the Purple Heart, with bronze device.

Daly retired from the Marine Corps in 1929, returned to New York City, where he worked as a bank guard, never spoke about his military experiences, and died in 1937.  He is buried in Cypress Hills National Cemetery, in Brooklyn.

 

Scorecard: The Jacobite Wars

On the death of Charles II (r. 1660-1685), the throne passed to his younger brother James.  James was a much more devout Catholic than Charles had been, and was widely viewed at intending to institute “Popery” to England, that is institute a Catholic Restoration.  Clashes between James and the various prominent Protestant political leaders became frequent.  This was punctuated by an attempted coup by the Duke of Monmouth (Charles’s illegitimate Protestant son), who lost his head for it.  Now James doesn’t seem to have actually wanted to establish a Catholic regime in his kingdoms, but rather something on the absolutist model of Louis XIV’s France, in which religious affairs – Catholic, Protestant, or otherwise -- was dominated by the Crown.  But that offended those who might not have been so enthusiastic about the Protestant cause but did believe in Parliamentary government, and they threw in their lot with those who feared that James intended to impose “Popery” on the kingdom. 

Things came to a head in 1688.  Until then, James had had no offspring, and so the Protestants could presume that upon his death the throne would pass to his Protestant daughter, Mary, who was married to William of Orange-Nassau, stadtholder of the Dutch Republic.  But in June of that year, James’ second wife, Mary of Modena, bore a son, James Francis Edward Stuart.  Fearing that this presaged a Catholic restoration, England’s Protestant leaders formed a conspiracy with William of Orange and Mary Stuart to oust James. 

This touched off what might be termed the “Jacobite Wars”, a series of rebellions, insurrections, and invasions over rights to the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland, which can only be lightly summarized here. 

  • The War of the English Succession/Glorious Revolution (1688-1692):
    • “The Glorious Revolution” (1688):  William of Orange invaded England with a largely Dutch Army.  James, unwilling to secure French assistance but unable to concentrate a substantial force, lost several small battles and then fled the country, all in the space of about six weeks.
    • The Jacobite War or Williamite War or the War of the Two Kings (1689-1691):  James landed in Ireland with a small French force.  The Catholics rallied to him, while the Protestants and strong reinforcements from England opposed him.  After several brutal defeats, James fled to France.  
    •   Dundee's Rising (1689-1692):  Viscount Dundee led an nationalist insurrection in James’ favor in Scotland, with Protestants joining Catholics against the English.  Despite some victories, Williamite forces prevailed, with great brutality.
  • War of the League of Augsburg/War of the Grand Alliance/Nine Year’s War (1688-1697): James II’s deposition touched off a larger war, pitting James and his main supporter, King Louis XIV of France, with some help from the Turks, against England, the Dutch Republic, the Hapsburg domains in and out of the Holy Roman Empire, Spain, and Savoy, plus a flock of minor European states, all putting in their oars to curb French expansion and see what benefits they could reap.  During the war, William of Orange solidified his hold over England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, Louis XIV made a few minor gains, and the Hapsburgs consolidated their domains, turning them into a major contender.
  • The Jacobite Invasion of 1708: James Francis Edward Stuart proclaimed himself James III on the death of his father in 1701.  In 1708, at the height of the War of the Spanish Succession, he conned a fleet and 6000 troops from the French for a landing in Scotland.  This was frustrated by the Royal Navy, and, forced to return to France by sailing north of Scotland and west of Ireland, the expedition lost many ships and men.
  • The "Fifteen" (1715-1716):  The accession of George I in 1814 led to some unrest, with Jacobite uprisings in Scotland, Northumberland, and Cornwall.  The Scottish and Northumbrian risings looked promising, and “James III” arrived, but the insurrection was quickly put down and he fled again to France.
  • The "Nineteen" (1719):  Jacobite supporters at the Spanish court secured two frigates and about 5,000 troops for an invasion of Scotland.  Storms dispersed the troop transports, and although some small landings were made, the local Scots were unenthusiastic.  After a small battle, the Spanish troops surrendered.
  • Jacobite “Plot” of 1744: Shortly after the outbreak of the War of the Austrian Succession, Jacobite leaders proposed that France invade England.  Plans were developed for an invasion, to be accompanied by Charles Edward Stuart, the “Young Pretender”, son of “James III”, but a storm caused the invasion to be cancelled.  Meanwhile, the British, suspecting a plot, rounded up Jacobite leaders.
  • The "The Forty-Five" (1745-1746): The Young Pretender put an expedition together without the help of Louis XV, and successfully landed in Scotland.  Many clans turned out to support him, and he quickly secured much of Scotland, though strong British garrisons remained in some places.  An English force was beaten at Prestonpans (Sept. 21, 1745), and the Jacobites advanced into England, reaching as far south as Derby, some 125 miles from London.  But desertions were rife.  Jacobite leaders lost heart and opted to retreat back to Scotland.  There they were decisively defeated at Culloden (April 16, 1746).  As English forces overrun Scotland with great brutality, the Young Pretender fled once again to France.

 

Although some Jacobite leaders continued to plot, and even discussed invasion proposals with the French during their wars with Britain, the “Forty-Five” was the last substantive Jacobite attempt to return to the throne, and, arguably the most successful.

The last Jacobite pretender to the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland was Henry Benedict Stuart, the younger brother of the “Young Pretender”, a Roman Catholic cardinal who died in 1807.  The claim to the throne then passed through several female connections, so that the current pretender is Franz von Wittlesbach, the Duke of Bavaria, a grandson of Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria who had commanded a German Army Group on the Western Front in the Great War.

 


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