Monday, May 31, 2010


Alfred Bowers in the Civil War

Enlisting with many other men from his community, Alfred joined the Union Army of New York with other volunteers from Sullivan County in August 1862. He was around 24 or 25 years old.

The son of Levi and Sofia Bowers, Alfred was born in 1837. He had two half brothers, James and William, and two sisters, Clarissa and Louisa. It is not known if his brothers also enlisted in the war. He was a Private in Company C of the 143rd Regiment. Another private, Herman Bowers may or may not have been a relative.

Horace Greeley, a well known public figure, actively advanced anti- slavery opinions in his news paper the New York Tribune, while opposing secession of the Southern States from the Union. He was a supporter of Lincoln.

The history of Company C is detailed in a document kept by Ava, Alfred's grand daughter. It lists the men, including Alfred Bowers, a private, and officers in the company, and was written during the course of the War Between the States: "THIS Company was enlisted in Sullivan County, New York between the 6th and 22d of August 1862, and was organized at Fallsburgh, Aug. 28, 1862, With James C.French as Captain, Nathaniel C Clark as 1st, and Dwight Devine as 2d Lieutenants. It went into camp at Pleasant Pond, near Monticello, Sept. 1, 1862 and was mustered into the United States service October 8, 1862, by Lient. Crolley, 5th U.S. Infantry, as Company C, 143d New York Volunteer Infantry."

"THE Regiment left camp on the 10th of October, 1862, under Col.D.P. DeWitt, and reached Washington D. C. on the 16th. Remained at Camp Chase, Va. until the 19th. Moved .............on Hill where were brigaded with the 127th, 142d and 44th New York, and picketed and drilled.

" Feb. 12, moved camp to Cloud's Mills, Va. Ap. 15, 1863 shipped at Alexandria and reached Norfolk on the 17th, and Suffolk the 18th. Skirmished with Longstreet, Sunday, May 3. Sunday night the enemy withdrew. May 5th, embarked at Norfolk, and landed at West Point on the 7th. Re-embarked at midnight, May 31, landed and camped at Yorktown, June 1. Moved up the Peninsula, under Keyes, June 8th, camping at Williamsburg, Airy Plains, Roper's Church, Cumberland Landing, and reaching White House, June 27th. Marched back from White House July 8, and embarked at Yorktown on the 10th and by rail, from Washington DC., reached Frederick City, Md., July 12th. Joined the 11th Corps of the Army of the Potomac, at Funkstown, July 14th, on which night Lee re-crossed the Potomac at Williamsport. Same day marched to Williamsport, thence, via Berlin, Lovettsville, Upperville, Mounts -ville and New Baltimore, to Warrenton Junction, Va., arriving on the 25th. Picketed and patrolled from Bealton Station to Dumfries until Sept. 25th, when the Regiment took cars at Manassas, passing over the B. & O. R.R. and through Bellair Columbus, Indianapolis, Louisville, Nashville, and reached Bridgeport, Ala, Sept. 31st. Scouted and picketed until Oct. 27th, when with the balance of Hooker's force, marched to Lookout Valley, and being attacked on the night of the 28th by Longstreet, drove him back to Lookout Mountain and "opened the cracker-road to Chattanooga,___!
" Nov. 22, moved to Chattanooga, and the next three days took part in the battles before Chattanooga. Nov. 26th, pursued the enemy to Ring Gold. Nov. 29th, marched via Cleveland, Athens, and London, to Louisville, near Knoxville, arriving Dec. 5th. Longstreet raised the siege of Knoxville the previous night, and on the 7th we returned, reaching our old camp in Lookout Valley on the 17th. During this time we marched 240 miles - in the words of General Sherman's congratulatory order: "Without tents, without rations, with insufficient clothing, almost without shoes, in mid-winter."

"Remained in winter quarters in Lookout Valley, until January 25, 1864; then moved to Bridgeport Alabama."

"Original strength: 8 officers, and 98 enlisted men - total 101. Lost by death, 18; by transfer to Invalid Corps, 4; by discharge, 14; by desertion, 8; by promotion, 1; by resignation, 2. Gained by promotion, 1. Present strength, 65."

Grant moved troops rapidly by rail, to various locations where they were most needed. Company C. was one of those moved across the country, and back, as described in the above history.

In 1861, the country had just over 30,000 miles of railroad tracks. Nearly three fourths of that was located in Union territory, both in the north and the west. Federal railways linked the Atlantic with the Mississippi Valley, and were used to move troops and supplies anywhere they were needed. This strategic rail network continued to be expanded. Tracks were laid, and engines and rolloing stock were built, including hospital cars.

The South was at a disadvantage because rails, locomotives and cars were built and repaired in the Northern states. Even though the Confederacy attempted to use its railway system as much as possible, its deteriorating equipment placed the Rebels at a disadvantage. Due to this and a lack of resources, the South made no new railways during the war, or if reinforced, was done so at the expense of equivalent track somewhere else. Often it bacame a war of attrition.

Because of the obvious military importance, railroads on both sides became military targets. Locomotives, bridges and tracks were destroyed in raids, and rails heated and twisted, to render them unusable to the enemy.

The battle at Chattanooga and Lookout Mountain, one of the locations where Alfred Bowers experienced action, is described in Great Battles of the Civil War, page 124, by John MacDonald.

People at home read the news papers anxiously hoping for news of the war and their loved ones who served, as letters were delivered from the military encampments irregularly. The New York Herald also contained news of the war and Ava kept two historic pages about the war. Accounts of the death of Lincoln were included on one.

This information was researched and written by Ruth Zachary©. The Soldier's Record came from the Ava Babcock collection, and was photographed and enhanced by Ruth Zachary©. All rights reserved.

Sunday, May 30, 2010


The Bowers Family Biographical Pages.


The first post of the Biographical Pages of the Bowers Family was posted on March 24, 2010, and will now resume. The Starr Lineage pre-dated information I have on the Bowers Family, so I posted those Biographical Pages to begin a sequential order of the remaining pages. Hopefully the dates will help readers put the information into the correct sequence. - Ruth Zachary.

Writing and Page Layouts of Biological Pages shown here are the Copyright of Ruth Zachary.

Sunday, May 23, 2010



I Never Knew Rosella Ruth 1902


I have two likenesses of her, and a letter

written to her parents, just after she

was married in 1902. Nearly every

other paragraph mentioned “Charlie.”


In the first photograph, her hair was pulled

severely back from her symmetrical face,

her round heavy-lidded blue–gray eyes

stared out under carefully shaped brows,

and a strong chin held her blended round

cheeks in place. Her plainly pinked lips

seemed motionless over a black

bodice lined with a white parson’s collar.

She had retouched the photo herself.

Was it the retouched woman who

willingly surrendered to death, and left

an infant and a devastated Charles behind?


Aunt Lillian’s photo of her was less formal,

less perfect than the family recollections.

A vital, direct, and hopeful gaze looked

at me openly as if curious about what kind of

granddaughter I had become. I noticed

her face was not symmetrical at all,

left ear and eye slightly lower than the right,

with a hint of blood, dark in sensuous lips.

Her mouth and chin were still determined,

but did I imagine a hint of mischief ?

And wisps of hair, escaped in wayward

streaks from that disciplined cap of hair.


She looked so familiar. That face could

have been mine, once, was the face

I saw in the mirror when I was young;

The face in the photograph shared

my features; the same round heavy eyes,

except brown, like Charlie’s, a drooping

left eye and ear like hers, nose straight

but tilting up. In the mirror

I saw that at my age now, I was like her

grandmother, instead of she being mine.


I was often told I was her namesake and

had inherited her “gift,” a rare artistic talent.

In this influence, I have lived my life

with determination to redeem the gift

we each were given at birth. I view her now,

as a mere girl of only twenty- three, scry

her face for inner strengths, and wonder at

her weaknesses, by which to measure

the lessons I have learned, that might

have fulfilled the life she didn’t get to live.


Writing and Vintage Montage are the sole Copyright © of Ruth Zachary.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Starr Family Biographies.
Laura Starr was an older sister of Arthur. Arthur stayed with Laura and Alfred Bowers when he was young. For the time being, I have no more biographies in the Starr lineage. If further research or contributions from other family branches are forthcoming, they will be added at a future time. The next lineage to be included will be the Bowers lineage.
Writing and page layouts of these family biographical pages is the Copyright © of Ruth Zachary.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Birdcalls, Spring 1950

In mid-May we move upstairs.

The living quarters expand.

My mother opens the windows

letting the spring breeze blow

musty air away. The crosswind lifts

the curtains in sheer joy before

Mama can insert the screens.

the air smells of snow soaked earth,

and is sparkled with birdsongs.

Mama listens. She knows them all,

Killdeer, Robin, Lark, and Finch.


She layers my bed with hefty quilts.

I do not complain, remembering

their cozy warmth when nights still smell

of lingering snow, blown across the fields

from the deep forbidding woods,

where coyotes and even bear may lurk,

and where I fear to go. Across the bed,

I lay looking through that window,

dreaming of summer days ahead.


Outside, my father directs the farmer

hired to plow our garden, though

much leveling must still be done

before the first planting, two weeks

hence, timed with cycles of the moon.


My room seems to open out.

The prairie grass below spreads

its golden reach to the leafless gray

of the still wintry woods,

while in our yard, the timid lilac

dreams of blooms yet to come.

My window, still open, lets in the sounds

of hatchling insects, and one bird’s serenade.

It is a voice I have never heard,

soft, mellow and melancholy.

Entranced, I whistle the tones

to remember, so I may learn its name.


Sunday is devoted to an excursion

in the woods to see the creek, a

place I have never seen. The brook

curls around a valley and a yellow house.

Whip-poor-will Haven is written

over the door, occupants unknown.

Holding my little sister’s hand,

Mama whistles the song of a bird,

She says it is the Whip-poor-will’s call.

It is my bird, the one that called to me

the night before. I feel a chill, knowing

I will remember this day forever.



Writing is the Copyright © of Ruth Zachary. Image from F. Babcock's Collection, Photographer Unknown.

Monday, May 3, 2010


The above biographical pages include photographs of members of the Starr lineage.
Click on the corner of an image to see a larger version. Not all of the original information was dated, and I do not know the photographers. The layout and written information was by Ruth Zachary. ©