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Capt Robert James Bowen
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Birth: 1834
Death: 1894

The following was provided by Caroline Passmore:

Posted: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 12:57 pm

Marker placed at Confederate captain's grave By ADAM NORTHAM, DAILY LEADER Staff Writer The Daily Leader

He left Brookhaven in 1861 with 100 men and fought the Yankees on land and sea, but the Confederate captain never got his honor in death, lying in an unmarked grave for more than a century.

Recently, Capt. Robert James Bowen's 116-year companionship with anonymity ended when a veterans' headstone was erected over his final resting place in Jackson's notable Greenwood Cemetery on April 4. Placing the 215-pound marble marker in time for Confederate History Month required time, research and muscle from a local member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

"It's a part of our history and I think it should be remembered," said Monticello's Wilson Farnham, 55. "We should remember the past and learn from it."

Farnham, a member of the Lincoln County Historical and Genealogical Society, began seeking out local veterans and placing markers on their graves in 2001 and has succeeded in procuring 12 military headstones so far.

He is planning to research and procure more markers in the future for Brookhaven's Capt. A. Odom Cox, a military commander, railroad agent and county sheriff; and Pharaoh Oatis, a black servant in the Confederate army.

Being an observer of history and embracing his Confederate heritage, such projects come naturally to Farnham.

"Being in Sons of Confederate Veterans, you just want to research a little about the local soldiers," he said.

Farnham made contact with James Beverly Bowen, of Plano, Texas, who is a direct descendant of the Civil War captain. With genealogy provided by the descendant, he next turned to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History to obtain the captain's military records, later locating Bowen's burial site by researching at the Lawrence County Public Library.

With all the pieces falling into place, Farnham next turned to Greenwood Cemetery's historian, Peter Miazza, to locate Bowen's exact burial site and obtain permission to place the marker from the cemetery association. When everything was ready, he applied for the marker through the Veterans Administration.

Now, the captain can be remembered and properly honored for his service.

Capt. Robert James Bowen was born in Lawrence County in 1834 and was pursuing a military career early in his life. He entered the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1850 and served aboard the U.S.S. Portsmouth in the Pacific. He resigned from the Navy in 1855 and attended law school, eventually practicing law in Lawrence County with his father, Edward L. Bowen, Sr.

When the South seceded and the Civil War began, Bowen was ready to fight for the Confederate States of America. He formed the Lawrence Rifles in Brookhaven on May 10, 1861, and was named the company's captain. It was soon designated Company C, 12th Regiment, Mississippi Volunteers.

Bowen led the Lawrence Rifles to Camp Clark in Corinth, and from there was ordered to Union City, Tenn., to participate in the campaign against St. Louis. The rifles didn't get a chance to commit to the fight before new orders had them marching for Lynchburg, Va., to fight in the First Battle of Manassas, known in the North as the First Battle of Bull Run. The company didn't make it in time for the battle, but fought several engagement against Union troops over the next six months.

In February, 1862, petitioned the Confederacy for reassignment to the navy, feeling his prior naval skills would allow him to better serve the South on one of the new iron gunboats being built in New Orleans. His request was approved, and on April 5 Lt. Robert James Bowen was assigned to the C.S.S. Louisiana.

The Louisiana fired on Bowen's first ship - the U.S.S. Portsmouth - but soon the poorly-crafted vessel began breaking down with Union strength in the area growing. Bowen was ordered to Charleston, S.C., for service aboard the C.S.S. Palmetto State, and the Louisiana was blown up to keep it out of Union hands.

Bowen served aboard the Palmetto State until early 1865 when the ship was wrecked. He and other sailors and marines formed an infantry unit and fought at Sayler's Creek on April 6, 1865, in one of the last engagements before Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court House on April 9, ending the Civil War.

At Sayler's Creek, Bowen and his comrades engaged Union troops in savage, hand-to-hand fighting beginning around 5:30 p.m. The Rebels fought off several Union charges and held out in the woods until after dark, but the rest of the Confederate corps was overrun and surrendered. Bowen's stubborn naval detachment finally surrendered later that night once it learned it was surrounded and without backup.

Bowen was released from captivity on June 18, 1865, and returned to Brookhaven to resume practicing law. On March 21, 1867, he married Virginia Marie Garland in Hinds County.
Family links: 
  Virginia Marie Garland Bowen (1847 - 1906)
Greenwood Cemetery
Hinds County
Mississippi, USA
Created by: NatalieMaynor
Record added: Dec 30, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 63506818
Capt Robert James Bowen
Added by: NatalieMaynor
Capt Robert James Bowen
Cemetery Photo
Added by: NatalieMaynor
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- John Rogers
 Added: May. 10, 2014

- Rubbings
 Added: Jul. 16, 2012

- Caroline Passmore
 Added: May. 6, 2012
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