Capt. E. A. Bowen, Part 3; With the 151st NY at Payne’s Farm

I want to thank Mary Robinson, descendant of Captain Erwin Ambrose Bowen, for the biographical materials on her Great-Great Grandfather which is presented in this series of posts.

Captain Erwin A. Bowen was paroled from Libby Prison at Aiken’s Landing in Richmond, on September 13, 1862. At Washington, D.C. on the 17th, he secured fifteen days leave of absence and started for home on the 5 p.m. train. That leave would extend to October 2nd. On October 1st Captain Bowen mustered out of the 28th New York Volunteers. On October 31st, Lieutenant-Colonel Bowen mustered into the newly minted 151st New York Volunteers, a 3 year regiment.

Continue reading “Capt. E. A. Bowen, Part 3; With the 151st NY at Payne’s Farm”

Capt. Erwin A. Bowen, Part 2; Libby Prison

Captain Bowen’s great-great-granddaughter shared this manuscript of her ancestor’s service so that it could be posted here.  These soldiers’ personal stories, from both sides of the battle, are what makes our battlefield history so compelling.

In 1858 Erwin Bowen married Anna Beach. He was then a lieutenant in the New York State Militia. On September 25, 1860, a daughter Effie, was born. She would be the first of 4 children. In the following letter, Captain Bowen, writes to his wife about his experiences at the Battle of Cedar Mountain and as a captured prisoner of war following the engagement. Towards the end of the letter, he records the passing of his young daughter’s 2nd birthday, while he was still held captive as a prisoner of war in Richmond. Here is the captain’s story in his own words.


Continue reading “Capt. Erwin A. Bowen, Part 2; Libby Prison”

Capt. Erwin Ambrose Bowen, 28th NY; Part 1: Introduction

I want to thank Captain Bowen’s  great-great-granddaughter, Mary Robinson for helping me share her ancestor’s story, presented here in several parts, of which this is the first. 

The 28th New York Volunteers lost heavily at the Battle of Cedar Mountain.#1 It was the defining episode of the regiment’s two year history, and they memorialized it in writings, battlefield monuments and veteran re-unions. The story of Captain Erwin A. Bowen figures prominently amidst these engaging human interest stories.

Continue reading “Capt. Erwin Ambrose Bowen, 28th NY; Part 1: Introduction”

President Teddy Roosevelt Visits Cedar Mountain Battlefield

Three months after the dedication of the 28th New York Monument at the Culpeper National Cemetery, and the successful brotherly reunion of soldiers who wore the Blue and the Gray, Judge Daniel A. Grimsley escorted another notable veteran around the battlefield of Cedar Mountain.  The following two newspaper accounts chronicle the event.

Continue reading “President Teddy Roosevelt Visits Cedar Mountain Battlefield”

More on Judge Grimsley: Dedication of the 28th NY Monument

To continue with Judge Daniel A. Grimsley’s efforts to memorialize the Cedar Mountain Battlefield, two more news clippings are presented here.  These document his successful efforts to coordinate brotherly reunions between the veteran soldiers of the Blue and the Gray.   In this instance the occasion was the dedication of the 28th New York Monument in the Culpeper National Cemetery, August 9,  1902.

Continue reading “More on Judge Grimsley: Dedication of the 28th NY Monument”

Judge Daniel A. Grimsley, Early Preservationist

The following newspaper articles detail the efforts of an early pioneer of Culpeper Battlefield Preservation.  Visitors to Cedar Mountain Battlefield today can view the results of Judge Grimsley’s efforts, manifested in the small stone markers placed around the grounds.

Continue reading “Judge Daniel A. Grimsley, Early Preservationist”

Young visitors enjoy tour of Cedar Mountain

     On Tuesday June 2nd, two adults and 10 children visited Cedar Mountain Battlefield for a prearranged tour of the grounds. The determined group traveled 2 ½ hours by car from Roanoke, VA. to reach their destination. Battlefield guides Brad Forbush and Vic Middlekauff greeted them at the meeting house when they arrived at 9 a.m. Continue reading “Young visitors enjoy tour of Cedar Mountain”

Introduction to the Union Reports.

Introduction to the Union Reports of the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion for the Battle of Cedar Mountain.

      To further the mission of educating the public about the Battle of Cedar Mountain and to facilitate research of the August 9, 1862 battle, Friends of Cedar Mountain presents here a compilation of the Official Union Reports of the engagement as found in “The War Of The Rebellion:  A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XII, Part II (Serial No. 16).”

      Having access to the reports written in the days following the engagement will enhance the battlefield visitors’ experience, as you can now stand where (for example) Union General Samuel W. Crawford’s 3 regiments broke through the Confederate Left and destroyed the Confederate brigade of Thomas Garnett. The battlefield has changed little since 1862, and walking the ground gives visitors a clear understanding of the terrain.

      The following aggregate of the 26 Union reports are listed in the same order as they appear in the Official Records cited above.

Suggested Reading Order.

     To assist with an understanding of the flow of the battle, the following suggestions are offered as to reading order. (Please note that all the individual reports cover the battle from beginning to end so there will be overlap in the narratives.)

      Start with the high command, No. 1.,  Major-General John Pope’s report, to get his perspective of the action.  Though he could hear the cannonading at Culpeper, General Pope writes that he was not expecting a battle, and General Banks sent reports to him that no attack was expected, so Pope remained in Culpeper until the increased noise of the battle suggested to him otherwise. There is no report from Major-General Banks, commanding Union forces on the battlefield. The two Union divisions in the fight were commanded by Generals Augur and Williams.

      General Christopher C. Augur commanded the Union left and center. Read his report, No. 11, next. His two brigades were led by General John White Geary (center) and General Henry Prince (left). General Prince was captured during the fight and sent to prison in Richmond. He wrote his report in November after his prisoner exchange. Colonel Henry J. Stainrook’s  report, 109th Pennsylvania Infantry, from Prince’s brigade, was found in Volume 51, (Supplemental Reports) and posted here un-numbered.   I have not found any other reports from this brigade as yet.  Because there are more reports connected with Geary’s command, it might be easier to read Prince, No. 19, & Stainrook, un-numbered,  first, and then dive into the several reports from Geary’s Brigade, Numbers 12 through 17. This includes Captain Joseph Knap’s artillery report of the Union batteries that replied to the Confederate artillery that opened the engagement. Captain Clermont L. Best’s report was recently located and posted here; (from Vol. 51, Supplemental Reports).  Captain Best is General Banks Chief of Artillery for the corps, and his report nicely complements Knap’s report.  These reports provide battle details at the regimental level. Pay attention to the references to the 8th and 12th Battalion of U.S. Regulars that skirmished with Confederate artillery at the opening of the ground moves, because for all their impressive performance they did not have their report reproduced in this volume.  Among their number Private John L. Younker was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery.

     The story of the Union right is the story of the climax of the battle of Cedar Mountain for the Federals.  General Alpheus S. Williams commanded the right division which included two brigades; General Samuel W. Crawford’s and General George H. Gordon’s.  Read Williams’ report first for an overview, No. 7, then read Crawfords’s report, No. 8. Crawford’s comments barely conceal his seething anger at the destruction of the regiments in his unsupported brigade. The compilation of Union casualties,  Report No. 2,  given in table format, speaks volumes to this. Gordon’s Brigade, which was supposed to support Crawford’s attack, also took heavy casualties, but not half as much as Crawford’s men. General Gordon’s report was filed late, so it was placed in an Appendix.  I have placed it in proper sequence here but it is un-numbered.  Also un-numbered is the report of Col. Thomas Ruger, found in Vol. 51, (Supplemental reports).  Six companies of Col.  Ruger’s 3rd Wisconsin Volunteers were ordered to accompany Crawford’s  brigade when it attacked, but a few minutes delay for various reasons, made a great deal of difference in what the 3rd Wisconsin would experience.  Ruger’s report is followed by the other two colonel’s from Gordon’s brigade;  Col. George Andrews of the 2nd Massachusetts, No. 9, and Col. Silas Colgrove of the 27th Indiana, No. 10.

      A climactic cavalry charge by the 1st Pennsylvania Cavalry ended the action for General Banks’ 2nd Army Corps.  Major Richard I. Falls left a brief account of the dramatic charge, in report No 4.  Since we are with the cavalry, report No. 3, Col. Samuel H. Allen, gives an account of the Union Cavalry skirmish line that was dispersed at the very commencement of the battle.

     The reading order of the remaining reports really doesn’t matter. Further interesting details can be gleaned from all of them. But in order of events, the troops of General James B. Ricketts’ Division arrived on the battlefield at night to shore up and hold the Union line where General Banks had been forced to retreat, reports 20 — 25.   Rickett’s arrival, along with the darkness, halted the Confederate counter-attack.  The report of Maj. Davis Tillson, No. 21, commanding Ricketts’ artillery, describes the late night artillery duel, including the brief exciting fight with Captain William J. Pegram’s battery that closed the action.   Captain James Thompson’s artillery report adds more detail about this encounter.  It was Thompson’s battery that silenced Pegram, inflicting serious damage upon the Confederate battery.   This leaves a smattering of reports to fill in the blanks.  There is a fascinating account of the signal men at Thoroughfare Mountain, No. 6 & 18;  the several reports of brigade commanders under Ricketts (22-25); and Brig. General Robert Milroy’s rather frenetic report of his Independent Brigade’s exploits on the days following the battle, No. 5.  

*      *      *       *       *       *       *       *       *

Union Reports

  • No. 1. — Maj. General John Pope, U. S. Army, commanding Army of Virginia, with congratulatory orders.
  • No. 2. — Return of Casualties in the Union forces.
  • No. 3. — Col. Samuel H. Allen, First Maine Cavalry.
  • No. 4. — Maj. Richard I. Falls, First Pennsylvania Cavalry.
  • Un-numbered. —  Capt. Clermont L. Best, Chief of Artillery, Second Corps, Army of Virginia.
  • No. 5. — Brig. Gen. Robert H. Milroy, U. S. Army, commanding Independent Brigade, First Corps, of operations August 8—13.
  • No. 6. — Lieut. William W. Rowley, Twenty-eighth New York Infantry, Acting Signal Officer, Second Corps.
  • No. 7. — Brig. Gen. Alpheus S. Williams, U. S. Army, commanding First Division, Second Corps.
  • No. 8. — Brig. Gen. Samuel W. Crawford, U. S. Army, commanding First Brigade.
  • Un-numbered. — Brig. Gen. George H. Gordon, U. S. Army, commanding Third Brigade.
  • Un-numbered.  Col. Thomas H. Ruger, Third Wisconsin Infantry, Third Brigade.
  • No. 9. — Col. George L. Andrews, Second Massachusetts Infantry, Third Brigade.
  • No. 10. — Col. Silas Colgrove, Twenty-seventh Indiana Infantry.
  • No. 11. — Brig. Gen. Christopher C. Augur, U. S. Army, commanding Second Division.
  • No. 12. — Brig. Gen. John W. Geary, U. S. Army, commanding First Brigade.
  • No. 13. — Capt. Joseph M. Knap, Battery E, Pennsylvania Light Artillery.
  • No. 14. — Col. John H. Patrick, Fifth Ohio Infantry.
  • No. 15. — Col. William R. Creighton, Seventh Ohio Infantry.
  • No. 16. — Capt. Wilbur F Stevens, Twenty-ninth Ohio Infantry.
  • No. 17. — Col. Charles Candy, Sixty-sixth Ohio Infantry.
  • No. 18. — Lieut. Col. Hector Tyndale, Twenty-eighth Pennsylvania Infantry, of reconnaissance to Thoroughfare Mountain.
  • No. 19. — Brig. Gen. Henry Prince, U.S. Army, commanding Second Brigade.
  • Un-numbered. — Col. Henry J. Stainrook, One-hundred-ninth Pennsylvania Infantry.
  • No. 20. — Brig. Gen. James B. Ricketts, U.S. Army, commanding Second Division, Third Corps.
  • No. 21. — Maj. Davis Tillson, Chief of Artillery, Second Division.
  • Un-numbered. — Capt. James Thompson, Independent Battery, Light Pennsylvania Artillery.
  • No. 22. — Brig. Gen. Abram Duryea, U. S. Army, commanding First Brigade.
  • No. 23. — Brig. Gen. Zealous B. Tower, U. S. Army, commanding Second Brigade.
  • No. 24. — Brig. Gen. George L. Hartsuff, U. S. Army, commanding Third Brigade.
  • No. 25. — Samuel S. Carroll, Eighth Ohio Infantry, commanding Fourth Brigade.

No. 1. Maj. Gen. John Pope.

No. 1.

Reports of Maj. Gen. John Pope,  U.  S.  Army, commanding the Army of Virginia, with congratulatory orders.*

Headquarters Army of Virginia,      
Near Cedar Creek, August  10, 1862 —5.45 a.m.

     The enemy crossed the Rapidan day before yesterday, and yesterday advanced in heavy force against Culpeper.   Their advance under Ewell had a very severe engagement yesterday with Banks’ corps, in which the loss was heavy on both sides without decisive results. Continue reading “No. 1. Maj. Gen. John Pope.”