(1819 - 1897)
Home State: South Carolina
Education: South Carolina College, Class of 1841
Command Billet: [on medical leave]
Branch of Service: Infantry
see his Battle Report
After graduating from college, he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1842. He became recognized as a popular politician and advocate.McGowan served for thirteen years as a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives. His civil career was interrupted by the Mexican War. In 1846 he entered the Palmetto Regiment as a private, rose to the rank of Captain, Staff. He was cited for gallantry in action near Mexico City.
McGowan was elected a Major-General of the South Carolina Militia and in 1861 commanded a brigade that captured Fort Sumter in April. He then served as aide-de-camp to Brigadier-General Milledge Bonham at First Manassas.
In 1862 he was commissioned as Colonel, 14th South Carolina Infantry. He fought in the Seven Days' Campaign of June 25-July 1, and at Gaines' Mill, on June 27, McGowan was wounded but remained with his regiment.
At Second Manassas he was severely wounded and missed the Sharpsburg Campaign.
The rest of the War
After the death at Fredericksburg of General Gregg, McGowan was promoted over two senior colonels to Brigadier-General, to rank from January 17, 1863, and took command of the brigade until the surrender at Appomattox.
After the War
McGowan was a member of the state convention of 1865 and elected to Congress that year, only to be denied a seat by the Republican majority. He was again elected to the State Legislature in 1878, and in 1879 was elected an Associate Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court, a post he held until 1893.
References & notes
Source: Heitman, Francis Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army 1789-1903, Washington, US Government Printing Office, 1903.
More on the Web
See more biograpical detail at the Aztec Club site, source of some of the material used here.
10/9/1819; Laurens District, SC
8/9/1897; Abbeville, SC; burial in Long Cane Cemetery, Abbeville, SC