NAME: Johnadab Bowles
DATES: 1842 to 1909
HIGHEST RANK: Private
UNIT: 67th New York Infantry; 2nd U.S. Artillery, Battery G
SERVICE RECORD: Joined in April 1861, 67th New York Infantry. Enlisted in Battery G, 2nd U.S. Artillery, on November 8, 1862. Fought at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Culpeper Court House, Bristoe Station, Mine Run campaign, Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor.
In 1846 the Rev. George and Alice (Addock) Bowles United States from Norfolk, immigrated to the England. They settled along the shores of Lake Ontario in the small town of Clyde, New York. George and Alice were the parents of 13 children, nine boys and four girls. Three of their boys, James, Johnadab (or John) and Frederick, would fight for their adopted country during the Civil War.
Born in England on April 30, 1842, John was the first to answer President Lincoln’s call for volunteers after the firing on Fort Sumter. At the age of 18, he enlisted in Company D of the 67th New York, also known as the 1st Long Island Volunteers. James rose to the rank of second lieutenant with the 9th New York Heavy Artillery, and in 1864 Frederick mustered into the 111th New York Infantry.
John was 5 feet 7 inches tall with hazel eyes and dark hair. On June 20, 1861, he left for basic training at Fort Schuyler, N.Y. He was missing for the roll call on August 5, and military records list him as a deserter. The next time his name appeared for roll call was March/April 1862. During that absence his whereabouts were unknown.
On November 8, 1862, John enlisted in the 2nd U.S. Artillery, Battery G, in accordance with General Order 154. The battery was a horse artillery unit in the 3rd Division of Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick’s VI Corps. It consisted of six 12-pounder Napoleons under the command of Lieutenant John H. Butler.
In December 1862, Union troops crossed the Rappahannock River into Fredericksburg, Va. John first experienced the carnage of war during the massive battle that followed. Butler’s battery was positioned on the far left of the Union line and John was the No. 4 man (responsible for pulling the lanyard) on the artillery team. John suffered a hearing loss during the Battle of Fredericksburg that would affect him for the remainder of his life.
Battery G was dismounted following the Battle of Cold Harbor in June 1864 and ordered to defend Washington, D.C., until August 1865. John received an honorable discharge on November 9, 1865, at Fort Schuyler. He returned home and married Catherine McGowan on December 29, 1869, in Swain, N.Y. They were the parents of five children.
After residing briefly in Swain, where John’s family operated a lumber and sawmill business, they eventually settled in the small town of Canisteo, N.Y. Although he was never wounded in battle, the war left John crippled with severe rheumatism and a hearing loss. He had difficulty working a full day and held various odd jobs, primarily as a farm laborer. He received a military pension of $22 a month.
John survived many battles both famous and forgotten throughout Virginia and Pennsylvania. He and Catherine of carbon monoxide poisoning in their sleep on October 24, 1909. They are buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Canisteo.
Originally published in the June 2006 issue of Civil War Times. To subscribe, click here.