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Federal (USV)


Curtis Bowne


(1841 - 1863)

Home State: New Jersey

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 13th New Jersey Infantry

Before Antietam

A printer at the Guardian in Paterson, NJ, he enlisted in Company K, 13th New Jersey Infantry on 14 August 1862 at about age 21.

On the Campaign

He was mortally wounded in the head - by buckshot to the frontal bone - in action at Antietam on 17 September 1862. At first he did not think he was really hurt:

[The evening of 17 September] I was, with some other men, sent down the road to guard some cattle that were to be killed in the morning for fresh beef. To my delight I found two other members of my company detailed on the same duty. They were Curtis Bowne and E. L. Allen, both old printing-office associates, too.

There were twelve cattle in the drove that we were to guard, under the charge of a corporal. We got them in a corner of a field, and divided ourselves up into three "reliefs," that is, one of us was to watch for two hours while the others slept, when our turns would be changed, so that each man wouldhave "two hours on and four off," according to the regular custom. We lighted a fire, cooked some coffee, and had a smoke before turning in for a rest. The conversation of course turned on the events of the day, and particularly on the death of Captain Irish. Then we began to talk about the wounded members of Company K.

"By the way," said Bowne, "I got a little dose of it myself. Look at this." He took off his cap and turned his face toward the camp fire. In the middle of his forehead there was a small round bruise, as if it had been hit with a stone. "What is it?" I asked. "I don't know. I think I must have been hit by a spent ball that just bruised the skin without entering." "You are sure that it did not go into your brains?" I remarked laughingly. I had no more of an idea of such a thing than Curt did. "No!" he answered good-naturedly. "My brains are not as soft as that." "Does it hurt?" I asked. "Not a bit," was the answer. "It is nothing - not worth talking about."

And none of us thought at the time that it was. Yet at that very moment there was a one-ounce bullet imbedded in Curt Bowne's brain that afterward caused his death. He remained with the regiment for some days and then his head began to pain him so badly that he had to be sent to the hospital. He grew worse, but very slowly, and he actually lived until the following March, when he died from the effects of the wound which was at first supposed by all to be so trivial.

The rest of the War

He was treated at a hospitals in Frederick, MD and Philadelphia. He died at Satterlee US Army General Hospital, West Philadelphia, PA on 13 March 1863 of wounds. He was buried at Philadelphia (reinterred to Cedar Lawn in Paterson in 1867 or later).

References & notes

Casualty information from Nelson1, who also has him as Curtis Brown. Details from the Record2. His gravesite is on Findagrave. The quote above from Joseph Crowell, author of The Young Volunteer: The Everyday Experiences of a Soldier Boy in the Civil War (1906), also of the 13th Regiment.




03/13/1863; Philadelphia, PA; burial in Cedar Lawn Cemetery, Paterson, NJ


1   Nelson, John H., As Grain Falls Before the Reaper: The Federal Hospital Sites and Identified Federal Casualties at Antietam, Hagerstown: John H. Nelson, 2004, pp. 138, 143  [AotW citation 16518]

2   State of New Jersey, Adjutant-General's Office, and William Scudder Stryker, Adjutant General, Record of Officers and Men of New Jersey in the Civil War, 1861-1865, 2 volumes, Trenton: John L. Murphy, Steam Book and Job Printer, 1876, Vol. 1, pg. 660  [AotW citation 16604]