Corley, John Austin (1836–1871)

By: Stephanie P. Niemeyer and Bruce Allardice

Type: Biography

Published: March 29, 2011

John Austin Corley, attorney and Confederate cavalry officer, was born on May 10, 1836, in Tennessee, the son of Samuel and Esther (Priestley) Corley. Corley graduated from Cumberland College in Lebanon, Tennessee. He married Ann America Harris on November 10, 1859, in Titus County, Texas. They later settled in Clarksville, Red River County, where Corley practiced law.

Corley enlisted in the Twenty-third Texas Cavalry as a major on October 25, 1862. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel on October 28, 1863, while stationed at Camp Sidney Johnston. The regiment was formed in early spring of 1862 and was stationed primarily in the Trans-Mississippi Department. The unit was initially stationed at Beaumont, and Corley commanded Camp Quintana. The unit was stationed near Houston at Camp Chambers in March of 1865 and drifted home over the following month.

Corley returned to Red River County and died in Clarksville on August 29, 1871. Legend states that he fell off of his horse while intoxicated. His widow later filed for a Confederate pension which was approved on March 22, 1901, a few years before her own death. Corley is buried in the Clarksville Baptist Cemetery, Clarksville, in Red River County, next to one of his fellow officers from the Twenty-third, his brother-in-law Nicholas C. Gould. Corley's father, Samuel Corley, served as major of an Arkansas Cavalry regiment.

James A. Mundie, Jr., with Bruce S. Allardice, Dean E. Letzring, and John H. Luckey, Texas Burial Sites of Civil War Notables: A Biographical and Pictorial Field Guide (Hillsboro, Texas: Hill College Press, 2002). Ron Brothers, comp., "Confederate Veterans Who Died or are Buried in Red River County, Texas" (, accessed February 3, 2011. "23rd Regiment, Texas Cavalry (Gould's)," The War for Southern Independece: Texas (, accessed February 3, 2011.

Time Periods:
  • Civil War

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Stephanie P. Niemeyer and Bruce Allardice, “Corley, John Austin,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 29, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

March 29, 2011

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