|Birth: ||May 21, 1839|
|Death: ||Jun. 3, 1864|
Robert J. Cowdin was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Gen. Robert and Sarah (Dana) Cowdin. He attended the public schools, the Quincy, and the Latin school. He was then a cadet at Norwich University (Norwich, Vermont), for three years. Prior to the Civil War, he worked as a bookkeeper and served under his father in the 2nd Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia.
Four months after the outbreak of the Civil War, on August 13, 1861, he enlisted as a private in Company A, 1st Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, while his father was already Colonel of that regiment. On November 30, 1861, he was discharged for promotion and appointed a second lieutenant in the 31st New York Infantry Regiment. He was promoted first lieutenant on May 3, 1862, and captain on October 4, 1862, both promotions for bravery. He was mustered out with that regiment on June 4, 1863. On December 10, 1863, he was commissioned Captain, Company E, 56th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, and mustered in on January 12, 1864. He was killed in action at the battle of Cold Harbor, Virginia, on June 3, 1864, "while in command of the division pickets. As the Confederates held the ground for several days his body was never recovered." An officer of General Early's command left Cowdin's sword at a home, and the homeowner returned the sword to the Cowdin family ten years later. The sword, as well as a portrait of Captain Cowdin, were preserved at the Boston Latin School as of 1898.
Sources - NORWICH UNIVERISTY: HER HISTORY, HER GRADUATES, HER ROLL OF HONOR compiled by William A. Ellis (Concord, N.H., 1898), p. 378; MASS. SOLDIERS..., 1:5; 4:785; 6:661.
Body lost or destroyed
Specifically: Killed in action at Cold Harbor, Virginia. If ever buried, it was not marked by name.
Created by: Leon Edmund Basile
Record added: Jul 17, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 28342015