Thursday, August 12, 2010

Colonel Thomas Meade Bowen.

Thomas Meade Bowen.

Birth: Oct. 26, 1835.
Death: Dec. 30, 1906.
Burial: Roselawn Cemetery, Pueblo, Pueblo County, Colorado.
Photo provided by Karen Lavrischeff

Civil War Union Brevet Brigadier General, US Senator, Idaho Governor. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he was a lawyer in practice when commissioned a Captain in the 13th Kansas Volunteer Infantry. Promoted Colonel in 1863, he commanded a brigade with the Seventh Army Corps for the entire Frontier Campaign. For his military service, he was brevetted Brigadier General of US Volunteers in 1865. After the war he settled in Arkansas and was justice of the supreme court of Arkansas, 1867 to 1871. In 1871, he was appointed Governor of Idaho Territory by President Ulysses Grant serving until 1875. He relocated to Colorado in 1876, was elected judge of the fourth judicial district, serving until 1880 and was a member of the State House of Representatives in 1882. In 1883, he was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate, serving until 1889.

No. 2. Report of Colonel Thomas M. Bowen, Thirteenth Kansas Infantry, commanding U. S. transports, of operations January 17-24. LITTLE ROCK, ARK., January 24, 1865.

MAJOR: On the 17th instant steamers Lotus, Chippewa, Ad. Hines, and Annie Jacobs left Van Buren, Ark., each having on board a small scout under the command of a line officer. On board of each steamer were a large number of refugees, also quite a number of officers. On the Annie Jacobs, particularly, passengers and soldiers numbered about 500, en route for different localities via this place. The Chippewa had the advance, the Annie Jacobs was next, the Lotus followed, and the Ad. Hines brought up the rear. At about 4 p. m. on the 17th instant (Ivey's Ford, eighteen miles above Clarksville) the Chippewa was discovered about one mile in advance, lying at the south shore of the Arkansas, and a few moments later I was requested to examine her through a field glass, when I immediately discovered that she was on fire in her center on the main deck.

I became at once satisfied of the presence of the enemy. Being the ranking officer on board, I at once assumed the direction of affairs, giving the pilot orders to put on all steam and go on, but the order had scarcely been given before the enemy opened on us with artillery. I ordered the pilot to round to and proceed up the river. By the time the direction of the boat had been changed we were opposite the first rebel gun. There being but little steam up, and it being impossible to get the boat out of the range of the north shore, which was accomplished under the most galling fire of the enemy, having received fifteen shot and shell, which destroyed the heaters before we landed and three after we reached the shore. In addition to the fire from the artillery a continuous fire from small-arms was poured into us from the commencement of the action.

One at the right front of the pilot house, and two in the hold. The most indescribable confusion prevailed on board among the passengers, especially the female portion, and I ordered the landing of the boat, because it was impossible to get her out of range of the artillery, and had we been any considerable distance from the shore we would have floated into the hands of the enemy owing to the damage done to the machinery by the artillery, and for the further reason that I hoped to save the two boats which were behind. The Lotus, however, was so near that before we could warn her of the danger she was within range of the artillery, and she also landed on the north side of the river; when, fearing an attack from that side of the river, I proceeded up the beach with two men, and collected the disembarked soldiers of the Lotus, and marched them to the line formed on the bank by those who had disembarked from the Jacobs.

Having restored order and made very possible preparation for the protection of the boats, I at once started a messenger up the river-bank with a dispatch to General Thayer and orders for the Ad. Hines not to approach, telling briefly of the danger, and sent to Clarksville for re-enforcements. I also ordered a forage train, which happened to be within a few miles, with an escort of over 100 men, to move to us at once; which order was promptly obeyed by Captain Thomas Stevenson, of the Fourteenth Kansas Cavalry, commanding.

The arrival of the train after dark was mistaken by the enemy for a battery from Clarksville, and no doubt had something to do with their withdrawal before daylight on the morning of the 18th instant. In addition to the shells already mentioned, the Jacobs received two solid shots through her pilot house, one back of the ladies' cabin, and several through her hold. The Lotus received two through her pilot house. Early on the morning of the 18th instant, a re-enforcement of 350 men and two howitzers arrived from Colonel William R. Judson's command at Clarksville, and the steamer Ad. Hines, having failed to receive my dispatch, also arrived. The dispatch, however, was received by General Thayer. From the released crew of the Chippewa I learned that the enemy was 1,500 strong, with from two to four pieces of artillery, whereupon I sent the steamers Ad. Hines and Lotus back to Fort Smith, with a request to General Thayer that he would sent the colored brigade, with which, in addition to our own forces, I proposed to cross the river and rout the enemy before attempting to move the boats down, on the receipt of which he promptly started the brigade down the south side of the river, under command of Colonel Williams, Seventy-ninth U. S. Colored [Infantry], on the morning of the 19th instant, and the brigade arrived opposite us on the afternoon of the 20th.

On the morning of the 21st Colonel Williams moved his command down the river to Patterson's Bluff, and on the afternoon of the same day the steamers Hines and Lotus arrived from Fort Smith, upon which we embarked, and proceeded down to Spadra or Clarksville Landing, leaving the steamer Annie Jacobs with her bow on dry land, having failed in all our efforts to get her afloat, notwithstanding the continued exertions of Captain Gear, assisted by a detail of all the soldiers he could use during the whole time we remained. A guard was left with the Jacobs of 200 men and one howitzer of Colonel Judson's command, with orders to have the machinery repaired and everything put in order for moving, which I was informed by the engineer could be done in a very few days. On the 22nd Colonel Williams moved farther down the river, and we moved with the boats to Dardanelle without receiving a shot from the enemy.

At Dardanelle we learned from Colonel Ryan, Third Arkansas Cavalry, that there was no enemy between that place and this. We therefore left Dardanelle at daylight on the morning of the 23rd and arrived here on the morning of the 24th without further trouble. I recommend an investigation of the facts in relation to the surrender of the steamer Chippewa, as I failed to ascertain any good reason why she could not have been saved, and I am told she was surrendered before a shot struck her. About the time the fire of the enemy was turned from the Jacobs to the Lotus the baggage of the passengers of the former was ransacked and a great deal of money and other property stolen.

The matter is being investigated, under direction of Colonel Judson, by Lieutenant-Colonel Waugh, provost-marshal at Clarksville. I cannot in justice close this report without mentioning the gallant conduct throughout of Colonel Charles W. Adams, of the Twelfth Regiment Kansas Volunteers, and Lieutenant Colonel Own A. Bassett, Second Regiment Kansas Volunteers, commanding, both of whom gave me their full and faithful co-operation in all my efforts to save the boats, and displayed in an eminent degree the qualifications of coolness and courage so essential to success.

The same can be justly said of every subordinate officer present, and I regret that I have not their names. Prominent among the latter was Captain C. O. Judson, Sixth Kansas Cavalry, who was not deterred from doing his duty by either danger or fatigue. A more faithful and gallant officer does not wear a sword in the department. Lieutenant J. S. Lane, Sixth Kansas Cavalry, fearlessly exposed his life on the shore to prevent a barge laden with Government property from falling into the hands of the enemy. Lieutenant Ross, of the Fortieth Iowa Infantry [?], in charge of the guards on the Jacobs, won the respect of all by his gallant bearing. Sergt. A. E. Lovell, Company H, Second Kansas Cavalry, and Citizen Troutman accompanied me up the river-bank, under a severe fire from the enemy, to aid me in getting the soldiers who were leaving the Lotus to join the command from the Jacobs.

The chaplain of the First Arkansas Infantry, Rev. Francis Springer, and Chaplain Randall, of the Fifty-fourth U. S. Colored, gave their full attention to the wounded, and Citizen O. S. Dillon acted the part of fireman at the imminent peril of his life. I have received no reports to enable me to state our loss, but have directed each detachment to report direct. Quite a number were killed. Especial attention is called to Captain William E. Gear and Pilot Gibson Morrison, both of the steamer Annie Jacobs. These officers remained at the wheel in the pilot house until the vessel was safety landed and promptly executed every order I gave. A less tenacious determination would surely have resulted in the loss of the boats and the capture of all on board. Captain Jaques, of the Lotus, in person attended to the rudder of his boat, and landed he in safety above the Jacobs. Private Vincent B. Osborn, of the Second Kansas Cavalry, had his thigh bone shattered whilst making the cable of the Jacobs fast on shore. His leg was subsequently amputated and his life is lost. And last, but not least, Major S. B. Hunt, surgeon-in-chief of the District of the Frontier, was wherever he was needed, in danger and out of danger, attending to the wounded. Nothing that I can say can add to his well-acquired reputation.
I am, major, very respectfully, &c.,
Colonel Twentieth Infantry Kansas Volunteers.


Anonymous said...

He was the colonel of the 13th Kansas Infantry, not the 20th as this letter is signed. The 20th didn't form until 1899 and was commanded by Col. Federick Funston.

Dennis Segelquist said...

This letter came from The official records of the Union and Confederate Armies. The error may came about when this 10 set volumes was put together.