G.A.R. Post: John Buford Post #89 Everett, WA
17th WISCONSIN VOLUNTEER INFANTRY
Organized: 3/15/62 Camp Randall, Madison, WI
Mustered Out: 7/14/65 Louisville, KY
The 57th, a three year eastern theater unit, was the second raised in Massachusetts under the same circumstances as the 56th, i.e., a majority of its members must have had at least nine months honorable service in another unit. Most recruits came from the western part of the state.
In April, 1864 the regiment moved to Maryland and then to Washington City where it was reviewed by President Lincoln and Union Gen. Ambrose Burnside. That completed, it crossed the Potomac River and camped near Arlington, VA.
Moving southward, the 57th arrived at Rappahannock Station on 5/3/64. The following day it crossed that river and arrived at Germanna Ford on the Rapidan, VA. There they remained bivouacked until the morning of the 6th, the ears of the men being deafened by the continuous roar from the nearby Battle of The Wilderness which was already in progress. During fighting later that day the regiment lost 47 killed, 161 wounded and 43 missing.
Following the Wilderness action, the unit moved southward towards Spotsylvania where it suffered 13 killed, 55 wounded and 4 missing. As Union Gen. Grant's southward movements continued, the 57th moved to the North Anna River. Crossing over that waterway it was outflanked at Ox Ford and driven back with a loss of 10 killed, 13 wounded and 4 missing. In the action at Cold Harbor which followed, the 57th was not heavily engaged and suffered only slight losses.
Crossing the James River the regiment arrived before the Confederate entrenchments surrounding Petersburg. During an assault there more losses were suffered. Those subtractions were 11 killed, 30 wounded and 3 missing. That action completed, during the latter part of June and the month of July, the regiment did duty in the trenches losing more killed, wounded and missing. As July drew to a close, the 57th was one of the first regiments to enter "The Crater". Already a skeleton of a unit, more losses were suffered which resulted in one lieutenant and 46 enlisted men remaining of this veteran regiment. Still, the killing and wounding continued and the already decimated ranks of the 57th continued to shrink.
During the fall of 1864 and into the winter of '65 the 57th remained in the Petersburg trenches. While so occupied regimental numbers increased by new recruits, returned convalescents, etc. By the latter part of March, 1865 their ranks had swelled to 11 officers and 206 enlisted men.
Thus manned, the 57th was in action during the early morning hours of 3/28/65 at Ft. Stedman. For a time the Confederates captured and held the fort. Initially driven back, the regiment was active in the Union counterattack which recaptured the earthwork. Again, regimental losses were severe.
In the general Federal assault on the Rebel lines which took place on 4/2/65, the 57th was not engaged. However, the following morning it was one of the first units to enter the abandoned city of Petersburg. It was then assigned to guard the Southside Railroad. It was while performing this duty that new was received of Confederate. Gen. R.E. Lee's 4/9 surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia to U.S. Grant at Appomattox Court House.
From Virginia the 57th moved northward to Washington, D.C. and encamped for a time near Tennallytown. There it was joined by remnants of the 59th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. It was this consolidated unit - designated the 57th - that was subsequently mustered out of the service and sent towards their home state. After a few days of rest at Readville, on 8/9/65 regimental members were paid off and discharged.
Regimental losses: 10 officers killed or mortally wounded; 0 officers died of disease, accidents, etc.; 191 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded and 86 enlisted men died of disease, accidents, etc.
Residence: New London, WI Age: 17.7 yrs.
Enlisted/Enrolled: 2/17/62 Rank: Pvt.
Mustered In: 3/28/62 to date 3/14/62 Benton Barracks, St. Louis, MO
Mustered Out: 7/14/65 Louisville, KY
Highest Rank: Pvt.
NOTE: According to available military documents George D. Bowe was 18.8 years of age when he entered the U.S. Army in 1864. While there are some discrepancies regarding his birth year, most available documentation points to his having been born in 1845. As such, it is this birth year that is being followed herein.
George D. Bowe was born July 18, 1845 in New Hartford, Connecticut. His parents were Jabez (b. 1797/'98 or 1801 VT) and Ruth A. (no nee b. 1822 MA) Bowe. Jabez, noted in the U.S. Census of 1850 for Richmond, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts as a painter, had served in the U.S. Army for 93 days during the War of 1812. Beyond George having one older brother, Benjamin (b. 1843 MA) nothing further is known about Jabez's family.
George cannot be located in the census for 1860. His next sighting comes from March 26, 1864 when, in Pittsfield, MA, he enlisted in the U.S. Army for three years. With his residence noted as Pittsfield, Berkshire County, eighteen year old George's vital statistics were as follows: Height - 5'4"; Eyes - blue; Hair - dark and Complexion - light. His occupation was listed as "student." For signing up to serve his civil war ravaged county he received a $300 enlistment bonus or "bounty," $25 of which was paid up front with the balance to be doled out in later increments. At enlistment Private Bowe also received one month's advance pay of $13. Young George was one of only a few members of his regiment that did not have prior military service. Perhaps his father's War of 1812 service had some impact on his being received into the "veteran laden" 57th at a relatively young age.
Unfortunately, as has been found to have been the case with many young enlistees during the American Civil War, their bodies were often not able to withstand the rigors and privations of service in the field. As such, the majority of George's military tenure can be summed up in two words - absent, sick. As early as March 10, 1864 this notation appeared on his company muster roll. That status continued throughout the month of August when, on the 21st, at City Point, Virginia near Union siege lines in front of Petersburg, he was admitted to D.F. Hospital #9. On that date his ailment was diagnosed as “chronic diarrhea." His condition obviously did not improve as two days later he was transferred to DeCamp General Hospital located on David's Island in the harbor of New York City, NY where he arrived on 8/25. From there, on September 2nd he was transferred to a general hospital located in Readville, MA. He did not return to duty until January 6, 1865, but from that date onward until being mustered out of the military, was able to serve his unit in some active capacity.
Financial accounts settled with the U.S. Government and military service behind him, George apparently did not return to Massachusetts, but chose to settle in the state of Wisconsin. Why so is not documented. Also not documented is exactly where, within Wisconsin, he put down roots. Indications are, however, that it may have been in or near the community of Hortonville/Hortania in Outagamie County in the southwestern region of the state.
On July 20, 1873 in Neenah Wisconsin, George married to Fanny/Fannie J. Carpenter (b. January, 1853, WI). Once again, exactly where the couple set up housekeeping is not clearly documented, but if George initially settled in Hortonville/Hortonia, it may have been there as that is where the census of 1880 found carpenter George, his wife and son Franklin "Frank/Frankie" (b. 12/31/78 WI). Also in the home was George's father, Jabez - then a school teacher - and a four year old child identified only as A. Carpenter. Obviously this latter individual was related to Fanny/Fannie.
Having mentioned the birth of Frank "Frankie" Bowe in 1878, it should be pointed out that George and Fanny/Fannie would subsequently produce four additional children. Beyond Franklin they were: George Barton (b. 4/6 or 8/81 WI), Gertrude (b. 3/31/85 WI), Mary Allison (b. 6/15/88 ND), and Flora (b. 10/27/89 or '90).
As noted by where the Bowe children were born, in the 1880s the Bowe family quitted Wisconsin for the wilds of the Dakota Territory. That move was apparently made in March, 1882 when George, who around that time was employed as a foreman in an Appleton, Wisconsin mill, took his family to Adrian in the Dakota Territory where, on 5/22/82 they settled on homestead property. Living nearby that location at the time were Chas and Andrew Carpenter, likely brothers of Fanny/Fannie. Perhaps the Carpenters convinced the Bowes to move westward and join in that new "land of opportunity."
On January 25, 1885 George, who then listed his address as Saratoga - the post office was later moved to Dickey, LaMoure Co., Dakota Territory - visited the Fargo land office and paid $18 to formally register a claim on his 160 acre homestead. That claim became official in June of 1887 when George received a patent (deed) on his property. During the five years since his settlement he had made the following improvements to the terrain: He first built a 12' x 14' wood frame house which was later expanded to 12' x 30'. The dwelling featured three rooms, four doors, four windows and a double matched floor. Furnishings of the home consisted of two beds with bedding, a table, chairs, a sewing machine, a cupboard, one stove plus dishes, washtubs, etc. In addition to the house itself, also constructed was a 12' x 30' stable and an 8' x 10' milk house which apparently featured a cement floor. George had dug three wells, one being to 63 feet, the second to 35 feet and the third to 32 feet. All were said to have been lined with two inch boards. Livestock included one yoke of oxen, one cow, two young head of cattle, six hogs, twenty five hens and one cat. On this location he had raised crops - wheat and oats - for six seasons and, as of '87 had 43 acres in crops, ten additional acres of ground broken for planting and seven acres in summer fallow. According to one neighbor's affidavit, "He, his wife and children live there permanently all year around. They were always there except for two weeks in the winter of '84 when visiting the home of a nearby neighbor. They have always worked the land which has no trees. He has been helped with harvesting by a neighbor."
The Bowes apparently remained on the homesteaded land until August, 1889 when they removed from Adrian to Cooperstown, ND. Although there is no census data from 1890, at some point they left that location and resumed farming in Banner, Le Moure Co, ND. It was there the census for 1900 found George, his wife and, by this time, five children.
In September, 1904 the Bowes again moved within the state of North Dakota. This time the change of domicile was reportedly from Cooperstown - (Had the family returned to that community after being in Banner? Documents are unclear on this matter) - to Binford in Griggs County. Again, family's movements become cloudy as a documental notation from August 16, 1907 - the date when George began receiving a $12 per month U.S. Government disability stipend based on ailments which traced back to his days of Civil War soldiering - indicates they were at that time residing in Cooperstown, Griggs County, while another with the same date says the Bowe residence was in Binford, Then, again, a third dated September 17 mentions both Cooperstown AND Binford .( As of this September, 1907 date George was reported as being employed as the manager of a farmers' (grain) elevator company.) In May, 1912 the Bowe family address was listed as Binford, Griggs Co., North Dakota.
1918. This was said to the last year George worked as a farmer/rancher. June of the following year was highlighted by his pension being upped from $12 to $35 per month.
In 1920 the Bowes were census tallied as residing in Finey, Steele Co., North Dakota. With George and Fanny/Fannie was son Frank and his wife, Mary. This location and family configuration would continue at least to 1925, but by 1930 the four, plus Frank and Mary's fourteen year old son, had moved westward to the Snohomish County, Washington community of Marysville. Exactly when and why this move was made is not known.
In 1931 George suffered a cerebral hemorrhage which apparently resulted in paralysis of his right side. Then pensioned at $75 per month, a mid- October letter from that year noting that he old soldier required the regular care and attendance of another, resulted in that stipend being raised to a princely $100.
A Veterans Administration (Note: During the late 1920s the newly created VA had taken over the management of pensions for surviving Civil War veterans.) living conditions investigative report conducted on April 22, 1936 read as follows: "The veteran lives with his son and daughter in law at Marysville, Washington. There are no other members of the household He will be 88 years of age in July of this year. He has a daughter Gertrude Gilmer at 3724 Rucker Avenue in Everett and a son, George in Great Falls, Montana.
His pension payments are made directly to him and he handles his own funds and business affairs. He helps his son and daughter (in law) financially in the home. He is physically and mentally able to handle his funds without appointment of a guardian. He owns a house and lot in Finley, North Dakota from which the income is not sufficient to cover its expenses. He has no other property or income aside from his pension.
He is sufficiently and properly clothed. The condition of the home and nature of the environment is very good and the house is specially arranged for the convenience of the veteran. He has been confined to a wheel chair since 1931 on account of a stroke. He requires help in dressing and undressing and moving from his chair to his bed. His son remains at the home or near the home constantly in order to care for the veteran. The veteran does not desire hospitalization or care in a soldier’s home at the present time and does not appear to be necessary or advisable."
After having been attended by a physician from February 12th to the 25th, 1937, 88 year old Civil War soldier George D. Bowes died at two a.m. in the morning on February 22nd., . Cause of death was listed as cirrhosis (not specifically alcohol related) of the liver with nephritis contributing. His place of residence at passing was 9th and Beach in Marysville. Burial was in the Marysville community cemetery. A $100 funeral/burial grant was thereafter granted his surviving family by the U.S. Government.
Note: At death George was noted as widower. However, documents are silent as to when Fanny/Fannie died and her final resting place.
Buried at Marysville Cemetery
Robert D. Huson
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