Sunday, July 15, 2018

Civil War Record of John W. Rowan

A few weeks ago I told the story of my search for which of my paternal ancestors, based on a family story, had served in the Civil War.  (See blog posts  Who Was the Civil War Veteran? and Is it the right John W. Rowan, Civil War Veteran?.) After an extensive search I obtained Civil War Pension records for my paternal great-great grandfather John W. Rowan.  With thanks to my cousin Craig for reviewing and transcribing some of the original records and helping me with researching the Regiments John was in.  

civil war cannon

From John’s Application for an Invalid Pension and additional research we have put together a better picture of what we believe happened to John during the Civil War:
21st day of August 1862 - John W. Rowan enrolled at New York City in Company “D” 145th Regiment of New York Volunteers, to ‘serve 3 years or during the war’.

emblem worn on the Civil War cap

11th day of Sept, 1862 - John mustered into service as a ‘Private’ at Camp New York, Staten Island, in Co “D”, 145th Regiment of New York Volunteers. 
From the National Park Service Battle Unit Details I was able to learn the following about the 145th Regiment:
  • Regiment left New York in September for Washington, D.C.
  • Duty at Bolivar Heights, Maryland until Dec. 1862. 
  • Skirmishes at Charlestown and Berryville Dec 2-6. 
  • March to Fairfax Station, Virginia Dec 10-14.  Remained until 19 January 1863
  • Burnside’s 2nd Campaign, “Mud March” January 20-24.
  • At Stafford Court House until 27 April.
  • Chancellorsville Campaign 27 April until 6 May.  Including Battle of Chancellorsville May 1-5.  At the battle 5 enlisted men and 1 officer were killed, 28 men wounded.  2 officers and 50 men were reported missing after the battle.
26 June 1863 -  Reported ‘deserted’ on the roll for Sept & Oct 1863, reports him ‘straggled’ while on the March from Stafford, Virginia to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  June 26, 1863 he returned to his company for duty.  In researching the term “stragglers” I learned they were generally thought to have been men who informally took time off to recover from fatigue or illness.  This seemed to have been a problem since men were not granted leaves during this time period.  I wonder if John had been injured and was hospitalized during this time period or was one of the 50 men reported missing after the Battle of Chancellorsville? 
  • Gettysburg, Pa Campaign June 11-July 24.  Including Battle of Gettysburg July 1-3.  For the Battle of Gettysburg the Regiment brought 245 men.  1 man was killed and 9 were wounded.
photo from The Battle of Gettysburg (click on image to enlarge)
  • Pursuit of Lee July 5-24. 
  • At Racoon Ford, Virginia until Sept.
  • To Stevenson, Alabama Sept 24- Oct 4.
  • Duty along Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad until December.
  • The regiment disbanded 9 December 1863.  Men were transferred to 107th, 123rd and 150th Regiments.
12 Jan 1864 - John is reported transferred to Co “H” 150 New York Vols. 
  • Guard duty on line of the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad until April, 1864.
      Atlanta campaign:
  • Demonstration on Rocky Faced Ridge May 8-11.
  • Battle of Resaca May 14-15.
  • Near Cassville May 19.
  • Advance on Dallas May 22-25.
  • New Hope Church May 25.
  • Battles about Dallas, New Hope Church and Allatoona Hills May 26–June 5.
  • Operations about Marietta and against Kenesaw Mountain June 10–July 2.
  • Pine Hill June 11-14.
  • Lost Mountain June 15-17.
  • Gilgal or Golgotha Church June 15.
  • Muddy Creek June 17.
  • Noyes Creek June 19.
  • Kolb’s Farm June 22.
  • Assault on Kenesaw June 27.
  • Ruff’s Station,
  • Smyrna Camp Ground, July 4.
  • Chattahoochie River July 5-17.
  • Peach Tree Creek July 19-20.
20 July 1864 John was wounded in action.  (More to follow on the battle he was injured in and his injuries in a future post.)
9 April 1865 - Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox
14 April 1865 - assassination of President Abraham Lincoln
8 June 1865 - John mustered out of Co H 150th Regiment New York Volunteers. 

28 June 1865 - John was honorably discharged at Washington, D.C.

I have not been able to verify yet all the battles John actually fought in that are listed above but it gives me an idea of what the Regiments went through during the Civil War.  Reminder, this was the first national draft in history.  I can’t imagine what it was like for this young man so far away from home and in the middle of War for so many battles.

The family story was that John enlisted at 14 and had a neighbor sign saying he was able to enlist.  Based on the records above it appears that John was 16 years old when he enlisted and 19 years old when he was discharged.  Still under the age of 18 which was the enlistment age.  I did find a listing that showed John W. Rowan and an aka James Rowan.  I would also like to investigate that name and see if that was the name he originally enlisted under since he was underage.

 If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,


  1. I like the history of the regiment and the cap emblem. I would love to see some actual pages from that old Civil War Pension file.

    1. Thanks Diane! I will add some pages in the next edition of posts.

  2. When I stopped by from Sepia Saturday, I noticed this post. I also had a Union Army ancestor, although mine was older -- in his late twenties with a wife and three children -- when he enlisted. I am currently writing about his widow, who filed for a pension after he passed in 1890. Your ancestor was so young! I look forward to reading some of your posts on John Rowan -- I hope you will post some of them as part of Sepia Saturday.

  3. Wow! Great research. Thanks for sharing!