Civil War Veterans Buried In Washington State - Nathan Fowler

Nathan B. Fowler

Representing: Union

G.A.R Post

  • E. M. Stanton Post #86 Arlington (Haller City), Snohomish Co. WA

Unit History

  • 23rd New York Infantry K

See full unit history

Nathan Fowler
Full Unit History

Organized: Spring/Summer, 1861 Elmira, NY
Mustered In: 7/2/61 Elmira, NY
Mustered Out: 5/22/63 Elmira, NY

Regimental History


  Known as the "Southern Tier Regiment" the 23rd New York, this two year eastern theater unit, was composed of three companies from Steuben County, two from Tioga, two from Chemung, one from Alleghany, one from Cortland and one from Schuyler. Mustered into Federal service it left the state for Washington City on the fifth of May, 1861. Its first encounters with the enemy were at Fall's Church (6/1/1861), Ball's Crossroads (10/21/1861) and Munson Hill (10/2/1861) all of which were in Virginia.  Losses in these engagements were one man killed and seven wounded.

  On 3/10/62 the regiment moved to Centerville, VA, but returned after five days to Upton's Hill when it then proceeded to Bristoe Station and Falmouth. From the latter place it undertook several expeditions. 

  Being attached to Union Gen. Pope's Army of Virginia in late June, 1862, the 23rd participated in actions at the Rappahannock (11/7/1863), Sulphur Springs (9/1/1863), Gainesville (8/17/1864) and Second Bull Run (8/28-30/1862).  In September, as part of the Army of the Potomac it fought at South Mountain and Antietam/Sharpsburg, Maryland. In the latter battle it lost 42 killed, wounded and missing.

  The regiment remained at Sharpsburg/Antietam until October, 20th when it moved toward Fredericksburg, VA where it was closely engaged during the December (11-15/1862) battle for that city. It then went into winter quarters at Belle Plain, VA.

  On January 9, 1863 the 23rd was transferred to a provost (military police) brigade within the Army of the Potomac. It was to remain assigned there until the expiration of its term of service.

  Regimental losses: 2 officers died of disease, accidents, etc.; enlisted men killed or mortally wounded: 17; enlisted men died of disease, accidents, etc.: 53. 

Soldier History

Residence: Elmira, NY   Age: 29.1 yrs.
Enlisted/Enrolled: 5/16/61 Elmira   Rank: Capt.
Mustered In: Inf. Not Avail.
Mustered Out: 5/22/63 (U.S. mil. rcds) Elmira, NY or 5/26/63 New York, NY (regimental history)
Highest Rank: Capt.

Family History


  The Fowler lineage goes back to the dawn of our county. As of 1790 Jacob Fowler was noted as residing in Beekman, Duchess County, New York. This was Civil War veteran Nathan Fowler's grandfather.    

  While no census information is available for either 1800 or 1810, U.S. tallies for 1820 and 1830 note one Jacob Fowler residing in Union Vale, Duchess County, New York. This, again, could have been Nathan's grandfather, but more than likely it was his father Jacob D.

  As of 1832 this large Quaker family was noted as still residing in Duchess County, but by then in or near the community of Verbank. The 1840 U.S. Census for Pleasant Valley, NY listed the household as follows: Jacob D. Fowler (b. 1783 Duchess Co., NY), Ruth (nee Klapp b. 1793 Duchess Co., NY) and children - Jessie (b. 1811 NY), George W. (b. 1812 NY), Isaac (b.  1816 NY), Harvey Klapp (b. 1818 NY), Susan (b. 1820 NY), Jane (b. 1822 NY), Phebe (b. 1824 NY), Joe W. (b. 1826 NY), Hettie M. (b. 1828 NY), Gilbert (b. 1830 NY), Nathan B. (b .[April],1832 Union Vale, NY) and Jacob Duncan (b. 1837 Verbank, NY). As evidenced by the birth locations of Nathan and younger brother Jacob, the Fowler family apparently made an inter-state move from Union Vale to Verbank after the birth of Nathan and before the birth of Jacob .Perhaps the move from one community to the other was made more than once.  Why, is not known, but of note is the documental notation that the Fowler patriarch was a hotel keeper in Duchess County most of his life. Perhaps he kept moving where the hotel business was best........Here, too, it should be noted that there was likely a child birthed between Nathan and Jacob that did not survive and is not named.

  During the calendar year 1849 both Jacob D. and his wife Ruth died in Duchess County. Why is not known. Jacob, still a hotel keeper, died in Union Vale while Ruth apparently passed on in the community of Freedom.  Son George W. assumed the role of hotel keeper upon his father's passing.

  1850. Another census in New York. In this tally Nathan is found on his own. As the decade of the 1850s opened he was in the city of Albany, Ward County, New York residing under the roof of A.C. Joslin, a hotel keeper, and his wife Pamela. Nathan was noted as employed as a hotel clerk. Seven years later he was found in the southern New York City of Elmira located in Chemung County. There he was listed in the city directory as a partner in "Wines, Fowler & Co." a business venture that also sold crockery, etc.

  As of 1859, likely while still in Elmira; Nathan was 1st Lieutenant in a military unit known as the Southern Tier Rifles. This was a volunteer militia unit based in Chemung County. This experience would lay the foundation for his soon-to-be Civil War service in the U.S. Army.

  On 5/1/61 Nathan enlisted in the U.S. Army for two years. His prior military leadership experience paid off handsomely as he entered the service as a commissioned officer.  While two sources note that he enrolled as a 2nd lieutenant and was not long thereafter promoted to the rank of captain, military service records show him as "captain in - captain out." His unit was the 23rd New York Infantry Company "K". As far as his service experience, it was personally benign in terms of injury or illness. While company muster rolls are not available for some months and on others his present/absent status is "not stated", on all other rolls he is listed as present for duty.

  His military career behind him, Nathan returned to Elmira, New York. However what his occupation was upon his return to civilian life is not documented.

  By the time of the 1870 census Nathan had made a quantum leap in terms of his living locale. No longer in New York, he was three thousand miles away to the west residing in Snohomish, Snohomish County, Washington Territory. To gain some understanding of this momentous move we must jump backwards ten or so years courtesy of the Mukilteo Historical Society.

  "During the winter of 1858/59 an enterprising young man named Jacob Fowler (1837-1892) found his way to Port Townsend, Jefferson County, Washington Territory and became employed as a news dealer. He had come there from Duchess County, New York. Like another person (named Morris Frost) he traveled by way of Chicago. Fowler and Frost may have had some linking them to Duchess County, but if so, that connection is not known."

  "Before long, with Frost's encouragement Fowler had relocated to Ebey's Landing on Whidbey Island to manage a hotel. This occupation did not prove successful and in 1860 Fowler was given a graceful exit from his situation."

  "A certain attractive spot on the mainland coast (of Puget Sound) seemed to offer considerable promise for commercial development. Charted in 1841 by the Wilkes Expedition as Point Elliot, it had been the site of (Territorial) Governor Isaac    Stevens' 1855 treaty signing and for untold generations had been a favored location of the Snohomish tribe who called itself Mukilteo."

  "Morris Frost's relocation from Port Townsend to Mukilteo in 1860 politically provided the Democratic Party with a foot hold in then Republican controlled Snohomish County. When that county was officially created in 1861 Mukilteo was designated the county seat." Thus was the foundation laid for Nathan to move westward to join brother Jacob and family.


  Let us now return to 1870. That year, the Fowler brothers along with Frost paid $200 for a Mr. Elwell's land claim at the location that one day would become the heart of today's City Of Edmonds, Snohomish County, WA. However, rather than developing the site, one year later, in 1872, the claim was resold to George Brockett for $650. Brockett would go on to found Edmonds.

  As for the Nathan and Jacob Fowler, their ties - both familial and economically - were soon severed forever. On 1/28/73 Nathan drowned in Puget Sound off of Edmonds while trying to save his boat during a storm. Never married and without children the (ca.) 40.8 year old was buried on a bluff above Puget Sound in what is now the Edmonds Pioneer Cemetery.


  July 19, 2009. Over a century after his tragic passing, through the efforts of the late Jim Shipman and Diane Tinsley of the Mukilteo Historical society, a Civil War era military headstone was obtained and dedicated at Captain Fowler's gravesite. R.I.P. 


Buried at Mukilteo Pioneer Cemetery

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Jim Shipman
Marysville, WA

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