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Bowman, Edward Carson
EDWARD CARSON BOWMAN.. Acting Assistant Paymaster United States Navy, September, 1862; died, at New Orleans, La., October 17, 1864, of disease contracted in the service. EDWARD CARSON BOWMAN was born at Dadeville, Alabama, March 20, 1841. His father, who was of Southern birth and a man of culture, died while Edward was in his infancy, in consequence of which event his mother removed with him, when he was little more than two years old, to Massachusetts, her native State. In 1846, upon the second marriage of his mother, to Mr. Charles C. Bowman, Edward assumed the name of his step-father. He remained for a time in Massachusetts, receiving instruction at home. In his autobiography in the Class-Book he gives the following sketch of his early life: - "( I was educated at home until about ten years old, when my father, having considerable interests in San Francisco, sent for us to join him there. I sailed from New York in June, 1851, in the clipper ship Flying Cloud, and made the trip to San Francisco in eighty-nine days (by way of Cape Horn), being the shortest time on record to the present day. The voyage was to me a period of unmixed pleasure and enjoyment; and the same is to be said of my stay among the beautiful scenes-and under the genial skies of California. I then went to the school of Rev. Mr. Prevaux, who, though I believe a well-educated man, was much impeded by the instability which at that time educational systems shared in common with many other, social arrangements in San Francisco. I learned, therefore, little from text-books; but I had early acquired the habit of reading good books, and the building, in four years, of a great and beautiful city, by all the nations of the earth, would hardly be witnessed without affording at least a valuable complement to mere book knowledge. " My parents had always intended sending me to Harvard, and now thought it important that I should be fitted in Boston. In 1855, accordingly, I accompanied my mother to the Atlantic States, by way of Panama. On setting out, many circumstances conspired to promise us an unusually pleasant and speedy voyage; but in passing through a channel near the island of Quibo (two hundred and twenty miles from Panama, the nearest port), the Golden Age struck heavily on a sunken rock, and filled so rapidly that she was only saved by beaching. This event, though attended with no loss of life, was a thrilling one, and one that I shall not forget. After lying three days on an uninhabited island in the tropics, we were taken off by the steamship John L. Stephens, and carried to Panama, whence we succeeded in crossing by railroad to Aspinwall in eleven hours, the distance being forty-eight miles. On the voyage up nothing of interest occurred excepting a few hours' stay at Kingston, Jamaica, where we took in coal. " After some months of pleasant travel, visiting Niagara, &c., I entered (in October, 1855) Chauncy-Hall School, Boston, then under the guidance of Mr. G. F. Thayer, but soon after under that of his colleague, Mr. Cushing. I applied myself closely to study, and was fortunate enough to obtain two gold medals, and to enter Harvard University in 1858, without condition. At the beginning of my Sophomore year I received a 'detur,' and was elected into the Institute. I have also belonged to the Chapel Choir, and been a member of the Harvard Glee-Club. " In my Freshman winter vacation I made my first visit to Washington, little anticipating, as I drove around its environs, that the year 1862 would transform them into the parade-ground for a nation of soldiers. " I have always wished and intended to follow the profession of the law; but the advice of friends has tended of late rather to dissuade me from this, so that it is at present somewhat doubtful what course I shall pursue." Throughout four years of college life Bowman maintained an unblemished reputation, both among his classmates and with the Faculty. His dislike for routine study and inclination for general reading interfered with his rank, during most of his course; but during the Senior year he rose to a position among the very highest in the Class, especially in the departments of Mental and Moral Philosophy, Logic, and Political Economy. Being finally among the twenty-two who obtained Commencement honors, he chose for the subject of his essay John Stuart Mill, who was his favorite among all the writers of the day; but partial sickness and the pressing emergencies of the career which he had just chosen led to his being excused from the performance of his part. When the Class of 1862 graduated, the war between the North and South was at its height. In common with most young men connected with the University, Bowman felt the strongest desire to give all his energies to the cause of the Federal government. From the moment hostilities began, he had earnestly wished to enlist in any capacity in which he might be useful to the cause of the Union, and only the urgent solicitations of his mother and the advice of his instructors prevailed upon him to forego his intention. But upon graduation, having obtained the reluctant consent of his parents, he determined to carry into execution the plan which he had long before formed. His own wish was to enter the land service; but this inclination he also waived in deference to the entreaties of his dearest friend, and so applied for admission into the navy, where it seemed his position would be one of less danger to himself, and perhaps of equal benefit to the cause which he espoused. Accordingly, upon the recommendation of Hon. A. H. Rice, a Representative in Congress from Massachusetts, and a personal friend and relative, he was appointed to the post of Acting Assistant Paymaster in the navy, and was shipped in the steam sloop-of-war Kittatinny in September, 1862, for service in the Gulf of Mexico. From the time he entered the service until his death, two years after, he was almost constantly on duty, and always proved himself efficient. He was respected by all who knew him, and beloved by all his friends. Though his position in the service was not conspicuous, yet he never was found wanting when physical courage was required. In the autumn of 1863 he was in many notable engagements. He took part in the movements at Brazos Santiago and on the Rio Grande; in the capture of the works at Aranzas Pass and those of Port Cavallo on Matagorda Bay; and, later, in the attacks upon Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines in Mobile Bay. It was shortly before the time of these engagements, I believe, that he was removed from the Kittatinny to the sloop-of-war Virginia. The spring and summer of 1864 wore away without the opportunity being presented to the Squadron of the Gulf for any great achievements. The-convulsive efforts made at that time by the Rebellion to strengthen itself in Virginia drew from the States bordering on the Gulf all their warlike supplies, which would at best have been inadequate to cope with the overwhelming superiority of their formidable foe. As it was, save the capture of an occasional blockade-runner, or an often repeated onset upon the works at Mobile, the Gulf Squadron during the last months of the war was almost inactive. But cheery news came to them from time to time of the great work that was doing in Virginia by the army of Grant, and in the South by the army of Sherman. None- looked forward to the happy termination more eagerly than did Bowman. Called into the service by the voice of duty only, and compelled by that mandate to leave behind him a mother dearer to him than his own life, desiring ardently to begin the studies which should fit him for an honorable and useful professional career, he eagerly awaited the hour of his discharge., That hour came sooner than he expected. The squadron to which his ship was attached was lying off New Orleans in the autumn of 1864, at a time when the yellowfever was prevalent in the city. The malady got among the ships, and Bowman was one of its first victims. He died after an illness of a very few days. Fortunately, a college classmate connected with the army was in New Orleans at the time, and was able to attend to the last sad rites of burial., His remains still rest in that city. He died at the age of twenty-three. Tall and well formed in person, with brilliant hazel eyes and a most genial aspect, he had also great mental strength and activity, and a firm and independent will. He was fond of study, but it must be pursued in his own way, and his opinions be formed without bias from those who were around him. This might make him seem at times unsocial, but the solitude he sought was that of an earnest and truth-seeking mind. Of unbroken Puritan ancestry on his mother's side, he showed the vigorous traits of Puritan character, though born in Alabama. Yet his favorite authors - Bentham and Mill in philosophy, Gibbon and Buckle in history-gave him a bias to liberal if not towards sceptical opinions, in religious and social matters. Exceedingly generous in his sympathies, and generous almost to a fault with his purse, he had also an even temper and much patience and forbearance. He carried these traits into his naval career, and did not die too soon to bequeath an example of self-devotion.