CIVIL WAR LETTERS OF ISAAC S. BOWEN



The following letters, written during the civil war by Isaac S. Bowen, member of the 100th NY Regiment, Co F, to his parents and sister back home, were generously contributed by Lorie VanBuskirk.  Lorie writes, "that the families lived in the Oswego County (Albion, Altmar, Sand Bank & Pineville) area, and that she has several letters from Isaac Bowen (Camp 100, Morris Island, NC) to his family in Sand Bank, including a letter informing his family of his death."   In transcribing the original letters, Lorie says the handwriting is very difficult for me to read (all curvy and fancy). 

Included with the letters Isaac wrote home is a very touching composition, written by his grieving daughter Alice.

A little background here:  Isaac was not a willing participant in the war.  The family story is that during the civil war you could get money by taking another persons place, and his wife did just that! After she got the money, she left their daughter, Alice, with Isaac's father and took off.  Another story is that she paid the local draft board to draft him. I don't know which one is true, but the end was the same in both cases.   Lorie VanBuskirk, < lkv75248 at yahoo dot com >.

Lorie is researching the following surnames in Oswego County:Bowen, Wade, Cole, and Thorp.


Letter #1

Letter from Isaac S. Bowen to his parents, Anon Bowen and Calsadana (Cole) Bowen

 

Nov. 22ed, 63
Morris Island South Carolina

Dear Parents I take this time to write a few lines and let you know where I am.  I am well in boddily health but my mind o my god I can not express it, I suppose that Pardon has written to you about my comeing away and the circumstances that I am under if it was not for Alice I would not care for life any longer but if I live to do something for her I shal be glad. O this this trouble is a going to make an old man of me to think that my wife should take the course that she has if it had not been for her I should not been in this god d---- ----- war.  Father I am thankful that you have not done anything to send you sons to this cussed  ------- army be a Democrat as long as you have your senses tell James and Luther that if they want to be democrats to come where I am for they are a making them every day, give the poor soldiers a chance to vote next fall if you want a democrat presedent if you could see what a place I am in there is nothing but sand here there is not a green thing to be seen nor a house nothing but tents. O my mind is in so bad a state that I am all most crasy I hardly know what will become of me some times.  I swear and sometimes I cry but it does no good this is for all of my friends to read if they can and when they read it think that it is from a poor heart broken boy that never ment no one any harm.  I want you should all write to me for I am so lonesum here there is not but one man on this island that I ever see before I have written to Pardon twice but have not received any thing from him yet all of you write as soon as you get this direct to Morris Island South Carolina 100th regiment Co F from your poor unfortunite unhappy Son

       I. S. Bowen
Don’t forgit to write
Good by



Letter #2

Letter from Isaac S. Bowen to his sister Elizabeth C. (Bowen) Wade with lines to his nephew George H. Wade

Morris Island, SC
Camp 100th
Mch. 29th 1864

Dear Brother and Sister and the whole family I sit down to visit with you all, as this is the only way that I can visit with you, the present time and perhaps ever.  First, I received a letter from you and Lucy and it was a welcome letter to.  I should have written to you before but I have had so mutch duty to do.  out of nineteen nights I have only had two in my camp, it is pritty hard to be out so mutch nights, but aside of being tired out my health is good and I am fat as a hog, my belly is all most as large as old Tredways.  That would lay it to whiskey if I was at home, but I do not get any here.  The Officers have all that they want and get drunk and abuse the poor privates, when if we could have a little when we are out on picket in the cold storm it would do us good, but the officers do not care a dam for us only to finish all that they can for some trifiling little thing.  I can look out from my tent over to the guard house and see three men tied up now but I have had no trouble yet and I hope I shant.  O if I could only keep home out of my mind so mutch I should feel better but I glad that Alice is to Fathers and I wish I could send him more money than I can, but I can not live on what the government gives us.  I should be sick if I eat their soups.  I would like to know where Luther is for I have not heard from him since I have been.  I have written to him long ago but he has not answered it maybe he has gone to Canada to get rid of the draft.

 Now a few lines to George,
George do you remember the last time you see me and how I felt at that time and the treatment that I got in my own house.  I do if you don’t, but enough of that what I want to say is this to never be indused to enlist in this damd war let others say and do what they will do not hear to them they may say that your Country call you but it is not so it is the cursed ------ and it is the ruination of any young man to come here and remember that one dear uncle of yours has left his dear remains in this far off war with no one to visit his place of rest.  O that I could visit it myself, and George you have another uncle here that has got some feelings left yet but life has not the charms for him that it once had but I have an aged Father and Mother and child to live for what good I am to them will be all the joy that is in store for me.  George the reason that I write this to you is that you may look to the many faults of your poor uncle and profit by it, and remember that you have a kind Father and Mother that may some day need a helping hand from you and I trust that they will find it in  you.  Write to me and I will to you.  This from your uncle I.S. Bowen.

Dear friends I must bid you all good bye.  I want you to write often all of  you.  I wish you would tell Luther to write to me.  I will put a dollar in here for Alice to give to Father, the reason I do so is to send a little at a time if the letter does not get there I shal not lose so mutch.  Tell Alice to be a good girl.

  I.S. Bowen


Letter #3

Letter from George W. Cadwell to Parden Bowen

June 1st 1864 
Camp of the One Hundredth Regh N.Y. Vol.
Neare Bermuda Hundred Va.

Mr. Parden Bowen Dear Sir

I wish to inform you that your Brother I. S. Bowen is dead and buried.  He fell on the night of the 14th and I suppose shot dead.  On the Saturday before the first brush we had in charging on the R.R. he received a scratch on his face & I also one from a shell and from that time we were on a move day and night – laying in mud and water and with little to eat – in a brush every day.  On Friday of the 13th eve we made a charge and took their first fortification and held them under gap and canister all day Saturday and on Saturday our regh was ordered to relieve our skirmish line.  We had just got them relieved when Jonny Rebs made a charge on us and we were obliged to fall back on the reserve and in doing so we had to cross a plowed field about forty rods & our men went in all directions and at nine o’ck our roll was called and 35 men was missing.  So in the morning no more came in so I went and tried to get a pass to look for them and by begging and almost praying I got one at noon.  I did not wait for dinner but started and soon saw men burring some.  I gave them a discription of him and they told me the 55th boys burried him in the morning and they had gone to the rear and they took me to where the dead guns were and sure enough I found it.  They told me he was shot through the head and lay on his back, arms stretched out with gun under him.  His watch and money was either taken by the Rebs that night or by the men that buried him.  His watch was worth $35.00 Dollars and he had about $20.00 dollars in money.  You can’t imagine how I miss him.  We have tented together ever since we left Elmira and ner a cross word passed between us and we always managed to keep together until that night.  I could not miss my own brother more than him.  He is buried on Durys (Drewry’s) Bluff under an oak tree that the Rebs now hold when they made us leave on Monday on short notice.  I rec’d a wound by a shell but can do duty now.  Our loss was 291 men.  We now number 346 men for duty.  Guess this is all for this time.  I am from Verona Village Oneida Co. N.Y. and am known by many in Utica and by some in your place.  Am well acquainted with Golburt writing teacher.  You doubtless have seen my father Geo. C. Cadwell.  You can write me direct to Co. F 100th Regt. N.Y. Vol. via Fortress Monroe Va.  I think we will stay here for the present.

      Respectfully Yours,
      George W. Cadwell

Batllian may sta  ____ it is very pleasant to day Friday


Composition penned by Alice Elizabeth Bowen, Daughter of Isaac S. Bowen, Circa 1864

Composition   No (Nov.) 1st

Sweet is a home there is a place it was once my home but now my father is gone fore ever and ever and my mother has strayed a way and that lovly home has gone for ever  there is many a home thats lonely now for there is many a sole has gone for ever and ever  there is many orphan children ther Father has gone where they cant see them any more  there is Uncle and Cousins Nephews and brothers and Fathers has gone to this cruel war to be s(h)ot down on this b(l)oody battle field there is many a mourners for these poor soldiers  excuse my short visit I call again   good by     Alice Elizabeth Bowen



Back to Oswego Military Page

Back to Oswego County GenWeb

Copyright © 1999, 2008  Lorie VanBuskirk
All Rights Reserved