Born at Rainsboro, Ohio circa 1840, McCoy received a limited education as a child, attending local schools in Highland County, Ohio. With the American Civil War's outbreak, he enlisted as a private in the Twenty-Fourth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
Ohioan Daniel McCoy attained the rank of brevet brigadier-general by the American Civil War's conclusion.
Born at Rainsboro, Ohio circa 1840, McCoy received a limited education as a child, attending local schools in Highland County, Ohio. With the American Civil War's outbreak, he enlisted as a private in the Twenty-Fourth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry. McCoy quickly rose to the rank of third sergeant, and participated in the Battles of Greenbriar and Cheat Mountain. In 1862, officials sent the Twenty-Fourth Regiment to Tennessee, where McCoy, now a first sergeant, assumed command of his company at the Battle of Stones River, after his senior officers were incapacitated. Confederate soldiers also wounded McCoy in his knee, but the first sergeant refused to leave the battlefield for treatment. Due to McCoy's gallantry, military authorities promoted him to the rank of second lieutenant and soon thereafter to the rank of first lieutenant.
In 1863, McCoy led his company at the Battle of Chickamauga. He had nine bullets pass through his clothing. A tenth bullet struck the first lieutenant in his leg. McCoy took a brief leave of absence to recover from his wound, but he quickly returned to duty. General William T. Sherman placed McCoy in command of the exchange barracks, which was located in Nashville, Tennessee. McCoy, now a captain, remained in this position until June 24, 1864, when his term of service expired. Military authorities mustered him out of the army, but McCoy quickly reenlisted.
During McCoy's brief absence from the army, he helped form the 175th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He mustered in with this regiment on October 10, 1864, serving as the organization's lieutenant colonel. The regiment served on garrison duty at Columbia, Tennessee and actively participated in Union efforts to halt Confederate General John B. Hood's advance on Nashville, Tennessee. At the Battle of Franklin, McCoy received three serious wounds. Authorities granted him a medical leave to recuperate from his injuries. McCoy briefly returned to Ohio before rejoining his command, which was again serving on garrison duty in Columbia.
While McCoy was recovering, General George H. Thomas and the Tennessee State Legislature recommended to military authorities that McCoy be promoted to the rank of brevet brigadier-general for his "gallant and meritorious services during war, particularly in battles before Nashville, Tennessee." Officials concurred with Thomas's recommendation. McCoy remained at Columbia for the remainder of the war, receiving an honorable discharge on July 8, 1865.
At only twenty-four years of age, McCoy was one of the youngest men to ever attain the rank of brevet brigadier-general. During the conflict, he fought in twenty-seven battles and was wounded seriously five times. He also purportedly had another fourteen bullets pass through his clothing.
Upon the war's conclusion, McCoy moved to Wheaton, Illinois, where he pursued several business ventures. He later relocated to Iowa where he became a farmer, newspaper editor and attorney.
Daniel McCoy died from a heart attack on May 1, 1902. He was buried in Elmwood Cemetery, Dewitt, Iowa.