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This Day in Georgia History

July 13, 1863

John Stevens Bowen Died

Shortly after the surrender of Vicksburg, Confederate Maj. Gen. John Stevens Bowen died from dysentery in Raymond, Miss. Born in Savannah on Oct. 30, 1829, Bowen attended school in Milledgeville before obtaining an appointment to West Point at age 18. After graduation and a tour of duty in Texas, Bowen resigned his commission and returned to Georgia to become an architect. When that didn’t work out, he returned to St. Louis, where he had been stationed before going to Texas. By 1859, he had a comfortable life, also serving as a lieutenant colonel in the Missouri Volunteer Militia. In 1860, the militia was called out in response to raids by Kansas abolitionists. After the secession of southern states, Bowen began recruiting Missourians for Confederate service. He assembled ten companies from eastern Missouri and took them to Richmond, Va., where he was commissioned as a colonel, and his regiment of volunteers was designated the First Missouri Infantry. In March 1862, Bowen was promoted to brigadier general. He was later wounded at the Battle of Shiloh, but he rejoined his brigade in Corinth, Miss. in early April. In the spring of 1863, Bowen’s brigade took part in the defense of Vicksburg. During the siege, Bowen was promoted to major general, but also caught dysentery. His health declined rapidly after the surrender, and he died days later on July 13.