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Bill Thayer

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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1832

Vol. I

(Born Pa.)

James M. Bowman

(Ap'd Pa.)


Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, July 1, 1827, to July 1, 1832, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Bvt. Third Lieut., Mounted Rangers, July 1, 1832.

Served: on the "Black Hawk Expedition," 1832, but not at the seat of war;​a and on frontier duty at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., 1833, — Ft. Gibson,

(Bvt. Second Lieut., 1st Dragoons, Aug. 14, 1833)

I. T., and Expedition to Tow‑e‑ash Villages, 1834, — Ft. Gibson, I. T.,

(Second Lieut., 1st Dragoons, June 30, 1835)

1834, — Expedition to the Canadian River, 1835, — Ft. Gibson, I. T.,

(First Lieut., 1st Dragoons, Oct. 15, 1836)

1835‑36, — Nacogdoches, Tex., 1836 — Ft. Gibson, I. T., 1836, — and Ft. Wayne, I. T., 1839.

Died, July 21, 1839, at Ft. Wayne, I. T.: Aged 31.​b

Thayer's Notes:

a The phrase "but not at (the) seat of war" occurs frequently in the Register in connection with the Black Hawk War; the explanation in most cases is the one given in the biographical sketch of James Monroe (q.v.): like many other soldiers sent off on that expedition, he fell sick before ever getting to the front. Many died of disease; he did not.

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b I am indebted to Andrew Pesonen for the following somewhat curious information. He has found a page at Find-a‑Grave (q.v.) which at first blush appears to show James Bowman's grave near Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania: the stone, clearly twentieth-century work, records him under the name Isaac Munroe Bowman. Heitman's Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army lists him as James Monroe Bowman.

Mr. Pesonen also found, in Vol. 6 of The Historical Record of Wyoming Valley, p94, a poem by Thomas Drake "On the death of Lieut. James M. Bowman" (his brother-in‑law), originally printed in a Wilkes-Barre newspaper in the year of Lt. Bowman's death, including the lines

He rests in his dreamless bivouac,

Far, far from his own lov'd home,

In the land where first his sword gleam'd back

The light of the welkin dome.

Those lines suggest he was in fact not buried in Pennsylvania, but somewhere on the frontier where he was serving, maybe at or near the site of the ephemeral Fort Wayne in Oklahoma Territory, near the present-day Watts, OK; the marker seen at Find-a‑Grave would thus only be, at least with respect to him, a cenotaph. Stay tuned.

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Page updated: 16 Sep 20