Civil War Union Brigadier General. A citizen soldier from Vermont, he migrated to Massachusetts and became employed in the lumber trade. When dissension between Northern and Southern states culminated into Civil War in 1861, he was a Colonel in a Massachusetts militia regiment which was configured into the first 3 year enlistment regiment from the Old Bay State, the 1st Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. Cowdin, remaining at the rank of Colonel, retained the role of commander when the 1st Massachusetts Volunteers were mustered into Union service in May 1861. He and the regiment were introduced to the realities of war in the battle of 1st Manassas, Virginia in July, 1861. Displaying a trait of bravery, he had a horse shot from under him during the action. Positioned on Virginia’s Peninsula in 1862 and forming an element of the Army of the Potomac, he was active in the engagements of Malvern Hill, Seven Pines and Williamsburg during General George McClellan’s attempt to capture Richmond, the Confederacy’s capital. Awarding the gallantry he shown during the battle at Williamsburg, his superior officer offered for confirmation, his nomination to Brigadier General, United States Volunteers to rank from September 26, 1862. While assigned to the defense garrisons surrounding the nation’s capital, notice was received that the Senate adjourned before acting on his nomination to Brigadier General. Hence, on March 30, 1863, with his appointment expired, he was reduced to leave the service. Returning to Boston, Massachusetts to anew his life, he involved himself in local politics and civic affairs.
Bio by: Stonewall