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John Stevens Bowen
Personal Information
Born: October 30, 1830(1830-10-30)
Place of Birth: {{{place of birth}}}
Died: July 13, 1863 (aged 32)
Place of Death: {{{place of death}}}
Birth Name: {{{birth name}}}
Other Information
Allegiance: United States of America,
Confederate States of America
Participation(s): {{{participations}}}
Branch: Confederate States Army
Service Years: {{{service years}}}
Rank: Second Lieutenant (USA)
Brigadier General (CSA)

married: Mary Lucretia Preston Kennerly b. 09 Jan 1834 Jefferson Barrac,St. Louis,Missouri d. 10 Jan 1904 St. Louis,St Louis,Missouri

Service number : {{{servicenumber}}}
Battles: American Civil War
- Battle of Shiloh
- Battle of Port Gibson
- Battle of Champion Hill
- Battle of Big Black River Bridge
- Battle of Vicksburg
Other work: {{{otherwork}}}

John Stevens Bowen (October 30, 1830 – July 13, 1863) was a career United States Army officer and a general in the Confederate States Army, a commander in the Western Theater of the American Civil War. He is often said to have died just as his abilities were gaining attention.

Early life[]

Bowen was born in Bowen's Creek, Georgia. He attended the University of Georgia in Athens (UGA) in the early 1840s where he was a member of the Phi Kappa Literary Society, but left before graduating. He later entered the United States Military Academy in 1848, but was suspended, in March 1851, for a year. He graduated 13th of 52 cadets in the class of 1853. Among his classmates were future Confederate generals Henry B. Davidson, John Bell Hood, and John R. Chambliss, Jr..[1]

He subsequently was commissioned a brevet second lieutenant in the U.S. Mounted Rifles. He served on the frontier until resigning, in 1856, to become an architect. He became a lieutenant colonel in the Georgia militia, but then moved to Missouri in 1857.

Civil War[]

Soon after the Civil War began, Bowen was commissioned a captain in the Missouri State Guard and quickly rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. While serving as chief of staff to Brig. Gen. Daniel M. Frost on May 10, 1861, Bowen was captured at Camp Jackson by Union Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Lyon. As he waited to be exchanged, he was commissioned a colonel in the Confederate States Army and assumed command of the 1st Missouri Infantry on June 11, 1861. He was exchanged on November 1, became a brigade commander, and served at Columbus, Kentucky, under Maj. Gen. Leonidas Polk.

Bowen was promoted to brigadier general on March 14, 1862, and his brigade was assigned to Maj. Gen. John C. Breckinridge's division of the Army of Mississippi. He distinguished himself in command of his brigade at the Battle of Shiloh. He was severely wounded in the battle and after his recovery was given a division command in John C. Pemberton's Vicksburg, Mississippi, garrison. Bowen was Pemberton's most trusted officer and he proved his worth at the Battle of Port Gibson where Bowen, despite being severely outnumbered, managed to delay Ulysses S. Grant's Army of the Tennessee. For his stand, he was promoted to major general on May 25, 1863, although his nomination was never approved by the Confederate Congress. Pemberton and Gen. Joseph E. Johnston failed to react quickly and Bowen's achievement turned out to be in vain. He next fought capably at the Battle of Champion Hill. After Pemberton was bested at Champion Hill, he ordered Bowen to cover Pemberton's retreat into Vicksburg, suffering defeat at the Battle of Big Black River Bridge on the Big Black River, Bowen's worst performance of the war. He took part in the final defense of Vicksburg but grew terribly ill. He tried to negotiate surrender with Grant, a friend from the antebellum days, but was turned away. Bowen did help ease the negotiations that lead to the July 4 surrender. After being paroled, he succumbed to dysentery and died near Edwards, Mississippi. He is buried in the Confederate States Army Cemetery in Vicksburg.

Dates of Rank[]

  • Captain, March 1, 1861
  • Lieutenant Colonel, April 15, 1861
  • Colonel, June 11, 1861
  • Brigadier General, March 14, 1862
  • Major General, May 25, 1863

See also[]



  1. Patterson, p. 162.

External links[]

Further reading[]

de:John Stevens Bowen