BOWERS FAMILY PAPERS, 1861-1974 (bulk 1861)
Vault A45, Bowers, Unit 1
EXTENT: .42 linear feet (1 container).
ORGANIZATION: Two series. I: Correspondence, 1861, and military documents (undated); II: Narratives and obituaries, 1926-1974.
Captain Charles Bowers (1812-1895) was born and died in Concord, Massachusetts. He married Lydia E. Hadlock on
William Bowers, the son of Captain Charles and Lydia Bowers, was born in Concord, Massachusetts in 1840. He was apprenticed as a printer before entering the newspaper business, working for the Boston Post and then the Boston Herald in 1859. He was the night editor at the Boston Herald and was later promoted to day editor, becoming a prominent member of Boston’s newspaper community and a member of the Press Club. At the beginning of the Civil War he went out with the Fifth Massachusetts Volunteer Militia and was in the first battle of Bull Run. In 1867 William Bowers married Ellen F. Staples of Concord, the daughter of Sam Staples, who was legendary as the man who jailed Thoreau for non-payment of his poll tax.
Charles E. Bowers, the son of Captain Charles and Lydia Bowers, was born in Concord, Massachusetts in 1844. He enlisted for military duty at the age of eighteen, serving for most of the duration of the war. Severely wounded at the Devil’s Den during the Battle of Gettysburg, he wrote an account of his experiences during the fight. He was later employed in the wholesale boot and shoe business.
Charles Bowers: 3rd Lieutenant, Company G, Fifth Massachusetts Volunteer Militia, (This company, the Concord Artillery, was the first to go from [Concord] to the Civil War. Left Concord
William Bowers: Private, Forty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteer Militia, Company K, Fifth Massachusetts Volunteer Militia; discharged for disability
C harles E. Bowers: 1st Sergeant and 2nd Lieutenant, Company B, Thirty-second Massachusetts Volunteers; wounded at Gettysburg July 2, 1863; 1st Lieutenant, 2nd Lieutenant, 26th New York Cavalry; 1st Lieutenant, Third Regiment of Cavalry, Massachusetts Volunteers (formerly Forty-first Massachusetts Volunteers); declined commission; discharged for disability 25 October 1864 as 2nd Lieutenant.
SCOPE AND CONTENT: Series I includes letters written in the earliest days of the Civil War from Captain Charles Bowers to his sons William Bowers and Charles E. Bowers. Captain Bowers was at that time a 3rd Lieutenant with the Fifth Massachusetts Volunteer Militia, encamped at Washington, D.C. The letters contain narratives of military and camp life, troop movements, and personal observations. People mentioned include Colonel George Lincoln Prescott and President Abraham Lincoln; places include Harpers Ferry and Alexandria, Virginia. The last letter to William is dated
SOURCE OF ACQUISITION: Series I : Source undiscovered; Series II : Maria Augusta Hadlock Bowers French materials given by her granddaughters, Dorothea Yust Smith and Augusta Hume, 1974.
NOTES / COMMENTS: Correspondence, roster, and “Orders of the Day” transferred from Letter File, former Letter File numbers B-7 to B-30; other materials transferred from genealogical files.
ASSOCIATED MATERIALS: Massachusetts Historical Society: Charles Bowers and Charles E. Bowers letters, 1835-1864; (bulk 1861-1863).
PROCESSED BY: C. Manoli-Skocay, December 2005; finding aid completed December 2005.
Series I. Correspondence, 1861, and military documents (undated):
Folder 1 Letters from Captain Charles Bowers to William Bowers and Charles E. Bowers (all 1861): 26 April, 29 April, 6 May, 9 May, 11 May, 15
May (2), 20 May, 21 May, 22 May.
Folder 2 Letters from Captain Charles Bowers to Charles E. Bowers (all 1861): 24 May (2), 16 June, 24 June, 25 June, 1 July, 5 July, 8 July, 11 July, 13 July, 14 July.
Folder 3 Military roster, 32nd Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers (undated); “Orders of the Day” (undated).
Folder 4 Lieut. Charles E. Bowers, The Battle of Gettysburg, undated.
Folder 5 Maria Augusta Hadlock Bowers French, Letter to Grandchildren,
1926 (photocopy and typescript, 1974), accompanied by two ALS, Augusta Hume to Marcia Moss, 28 August and
Folder 6 Photocopies of newspaper clippings (obituaries) related to Captain Charles Bowers, William Bowers, and Charles E. Bowers, 1893 and undated.
c2005 Concord Free Public Library, Concord, Mass.
Not to be reproduced in any form without permission of the Curator of Special Collections, Concord Free Public Library.
Mounted 7th January 2006. rcwh.