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 Home    Documentary Heritage of the Civil War    (Part 2, 2012: "Gone to be a Soldier")    John E. Bowers Civil War letters, January 2, 1862-August 20, 1864

John E. Bowers Civil War letters, January 2, 1862-August 20, 1864

Battlefield of the second Bull Run

Officers and soldiers on the battlefield of second Bull Run, recognizing the remains of their comrades.

Library of Congress,

Prints and Photographs Division

One hundred and tenth Pennsylvania regiment at Falmouth, Va., April 24, 1863, nearly annihilated at battle of Chancellorsville

The 110th Pennsylvania regiment pauses at Falmouth, Va., Apr. 24, 1863

Library of Congress,

Prints and Photographs Division

Location
Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center (Fremont, Ohio) External Link
Background
John E. Bowers, of Earl Township, Lancaster County, Pa., served with Company G, 148th Pennsylvania Volunteers. He saw action at Bull Run, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg.
Contents
Letters and notes from Bowers to his family providing insight into the life of a Union soldier. Includes list of sutler's prices and outlines in minute detail of preparations for a march and the execution of several deserters, for which he includes a sketch. Subjects include his wartime experiences, bodies on the Bull Run battlefield, plundering of homes, and trade with Confederate soldiers.
The letters also track the rise and fall of Bowers' morale and enthusiasm for the war. At some points he "likes soldiering first-rate" and at others he believes the war's only purpose is to make officers rich. These well-preserved letters are legible and written in a clear hand. It is unknown if the doodles, sketches, and practice handwriting appearing on many of the letters were the work of Bowers or perhaps a family member. In a letter (May 7, 1863) written to his mother and father a few days after the battle of Chancellorsville, Bowers notes:

“I tele you I know what it is to be in a fight now the ground was laying full of dead men and wounded some their arms off and heads and legs and most every place you can think we lost out of our Regiment 130 killed and wounded and missing but I am safe throug there was one ball struck me on the foot but it did not hurt the skin and I am glad off it to but I might cech it in the next one but I thought I never would get through when I was in it as the bullets were flying thick around my head and I can not see how they all missed me..."

(See the NUCMC catalog record)

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 Home    Documentary Heritage of the Civil War    (Part 2, 2012: "Gone to be a Soldier")    John E. Bowers Civil War letters, January 2, 1862-August 20, 1864
  The Library of Congress >> Cataloging, Acquisitions
   January 3, 2012
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