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William Elisha Bowen

William Elisha Bowen served in the Civil War, enlisting with Company G of the 31st Miss. Infantry. Company G was supposedly organized at Pontotoc, Miss. I found William E. Bowen's service records at the National Archives and have copies of William E. Bowen's service records, and they are summarized below. William Elisha Bowen was the son of James D. Bowen who is buried at Bethel Cemetery in Pontotoc County. The Bowens were originally from South Carolina. William Elisha Bowen married Harriet Amandaville Reid, daughter of Joseph Reid and Delphia Littlejohn, also South Carolinians who moved to Pontotoc County.

Following the war, William Elisha moved his family to Itawamba County. William's grave marker at Mt. Vernon Cemetery in Itawamba County indicates that he served in {Co. "C" in I. Johnstone's Miss. Inf.}. His great grandson, Marquis Owens, indicated in his notes about William's war service: "W. E. Bowen - Johnston's Confederate group, Pvt Co C., 1st Regt, Miss. Vol. enlisted Oct 31, 1861 to April 15, 1862, at Poplar Springs, Miss." It may be that William enlisted FIRST in the volunteer group in 1861, the first wave of soldiers in 1861 were volunteers, serving for the duration of one year. Then, William probably enlisted again, this time for three years or the duration of the war, as usually noted. Note that the discharge date is April 15, 1862 above and the enlistment date below is April 25, 1862.

William E. Bowen Co. G 31 Mississippi Inf. Private Enlisted when: April 25, 1862 Enlisted where: variously given as "Saltillo, Miss." or "Pontotoc County, Miss." Enlisted by whom: Col. J. A. Orr Period: 3 years

Muster Roll dated Mch 8 to Sept. 1, 1862 Present Last paid by whom: never paid [Timeline: Siege of Corinth, retreat to Tupelo, Baton Rouge, Jackson, Holly Springs]

Muster Roll dated Nov. & Dec., 1862 Present Last paid by whom: S. S. Bolling thru Aug. 31, 1862 Remarks: Appointed 5th Sergt Nov. 1, 1862 [Timeline: post-Battle of Corinth, Holly Springs, Water Valley]

Muster Roll dated Jan. & Feb., 1863 Present Last paid by whom: Maj. Cargle thru Oct. 31, 1862 Remarks: Appointed 5th Sergt Nov 1, 1862. Reduced to ranks Feb. 10, 1863 [Timeline: Rolling Fork, Deer Creek]

Muster Roll dated Mch & Apl, and May & June, 1863 Present Last paid by whom: Capt. Fitzpatrick thru Dec. 31, 1862 Remarks: Appointed 5th Sgt. Nov. 1, 1862, reduced to ranks Feb. 10, 1863 [Timeline: Grenada, Fort Pemberton, Port Gibson, Champions Hill]

Muster Roll dated July & Aug, 1863 Present Last paid by whom: Capt. Fitzpatrick thru June 30, 1863 Remarks: none [Timeline: surrender of Jackson, July 4th]

Muster Roll dated Sept. & Oct, 1863 Present Last paid by whom: Capt. Fitzpatrick thru Aug. 31, 1863 Remarks: none

Muster Roll dated Nov. & Dec., 1863 Present Last paid by whom: Capt. Fitzpatrick thru Oct. 31, 1863 Remarks: none

Muster Roll dated Mch & Apl, 1864 Absent Last paid by whom: Capt. Fitzpatrick thru Oct. 31, 1863 Remarks: Left sick near Old Town, Miss. on the march from Cayton [Morton?] to Demopolis Feb. 15, 1864. Lost one mess kit, cartridge box, cap pouch, waist belt, shoulder strap, 37 cartridges, 41 caps [Timeline: Sherman march from Vicksburg to Meridian]

Abstract of Payments made by Capt. B. F. Fitzpatrick, A.Q.M., 31st Miss Reg't for the months of Jan. to June, 1863 W. E. Bowen, Private Date of payment- July 28, 1863 Commencement - from Nov. 1, 1861 Expiration to - April 25, 1862 Pay $63.80 Commutation for clothing $5.00 Amount - $68.80 Remakrs: Paid on descrptive roll.

I certify that I have endorsed this payment on the descriptive roll of Capt. G. W. L. Fortune Commanding Co. (C) 1st miss. Regiment. B. F. Fitzpatrick, Capt. & A.Q.M. 31st Miss. Regiment

Received at camp near Morton, Miss. July 28, 1863 of Capt. B. F. Fitzpatrick, A.Q.M., Sixty-eight and 80/100 dollars in full of the above account. Signed W. E. Bowen Witness: John McCullough

* * * From the National Park Services website:

31st Infantry Regiment was organized in March, 1862, using the 6th (Orr's) Mississippi Infantry Battalion as its nucleus. The unit served in Rust's, L. Hebert's, and Featherston's Brigade, Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana. It was part of the garrison at Vicksburg, then fought at Baton Rouge and Jackson. Later it continued the fight under General Featherson in the Army of Tennessee. The 31st was active throughout the Atlanta Campaign, endured Hood's winter operations in Tennessee, and saw action in North Carolina. It lost 10 killed and 37 wounded at Baton Rouge, and of the 215 engaged at Peach Tree Creek, seventy-six percent were disabled. In December, 1864, there were 86 men present for duty, and only a handful surrendered in April, 1865. The field officers were Colonels J.A. Orr and Marcus D.L. Stephens, Lieutenant Colonels John W. Balfour and James W. Drane, and Majors Francis M. Gillespie and H.E. Topp.

Companies A G and K were organized at Pontotoc.

Submitted by: Mona Mills

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