BOWERS, Theodore S., soldier, born in Pennsylvania, 10 October, 1832;
killed at Garrison's Station, New York, 6 March, 1866.
When very young he removed to Mount Carmel, Illinois, and there learned
the printer's trade. When the civil war began he was editor of the
"Register," a local democratic journal.
After the defeat of the national forces in the first battle of Bull
Run, he raised a company of volunteers for the 48th Illinois infantry,
declined its captaincy because of the taunts of his former political
associates, and went to the front as a private. He was soon sent home
on recruiting service, and on his return to his regiment was detailed
as a clerical assistant at Brig.-General Grant's headquarters (25
In this capacity he went through the campaigns of Forts Henry and
Donelson. He was again offered the captaincy of his old company, but
declined on the ground that the first lieutenant deserved the place. He
was, however, commissioned first lieutenant, 24 March, 1862, and on 26
April following was detached as aide-de-camp to General Grant.
He acted as Maj. Rawlins's assistant in the adjutant's office. On 1
November, 1862, he received the regular staff appointment of captain
and aide-de-camp, and was left in charge of department headquarters
while the army was absent on the Tallahatchie expedition.
The confederates under Van Dorn seized the opportunity to make a raid
to the rear of the federal advance, and captured the department
headquarters at Holly Springs at early dawn of 20 December, 1862. Capt.
Bowers had but a few moments' warning; but, acting with great presence
of mind, he made a bonfire of all the department records, and when the
raiders burst into his quarters everything of value to them was
destroyed. Capt. Bowers refused to give his parole, and succeeded in
making his escape the same evening. The officer commanding the
rear-guard was severely censured by General Grant, while Capt. Bowers
was highly complimented, and was presented with a sword in
acknowledgment of his services.
He was appointed judge advocate for the department of Tennessee, with
rank of major, 19 February, 1863. After the fall of Vicksburg he was
assistant adjutant-general in place of Col. Rawlins, promoted.
His services had become so valuable that General Grant procured his
appointment as captain and quartermaster on the regular staff (29 July,
1864), and assistant adjutant-general, with the rank of major, United
States army, 6 January, 1865. His promotions as brevet lieutenant
colonel and colonel, United States army, are dated 13 March, 1865.
He was with General Grant in the field until the surrender of the
confederate forces, and was retained on his personal staff after the
close of the war.
He was instantly killed while attempting to board a moving train on the
Hudson River railroad.
His military career is remarkable since he rose by sheer force of
character, having no family influence or special training, from a
private of volunteers to one of the highest staff appointments within
the staff of the commanding general.