Reminiscences of an ex-Confederate Soldier by Thornton H. Bowman, Wirt Adams Cavalry

I have recently been reading Reminiscences of an ex-Confederate Soldier: or, Forty years on Crutches by Thornton Hardie Bowman who served in Company A of Wirt Adams Regiment of Mississippi Cavalry. It was somewhat disappointing, as Bowman really does not go into much detail about his service during the war. One thing I did like, however, was the book’s dedication:

This book is affectionately dedicated to the few who survive of the six hundred thousand Confederate Soldiers, who fought as few men have ever done; who suffered and sacrificed as few men have ever done; who, with sublime courage in the midst of distress and poverty, rose from the ashes of ruined homes and desolate hearthstones, left in the track of the mightiest war of the century, as no men have ever done.

Thornton H. Bowman enlisted in the “Tensas Cavalry” from Tensas Parish, Louisiana, on February 28, 1862. This unit crossed the Mississippi River and became Company A of Wirt Adams Regiment of Mississippi Cavalry. In his book Bowman summed up his personal service to the Confederacy in one long paragraph:

I was a private soldier in Company A, Wirt Adams’ regiment of Mississippi Cavalry, in the army of Tennessee. I was with my command on the retreat from Kentucky and Tennessee to Corinth, under Albert Sydney Johnston; was with them in all the cavalry engagements about Iuka; was with them at the battle of Shiloh; was with Forrest in his daring attack on Sherman’s division on the retreat from Shiloh; rode with my command down Britain’s lane, in Tennessee. Here I fell beneath my horse, almost in touch of the heroic Montgomery, Briscoe, Swayse and others lying dead at the cannon’s mouth. I was made a prisoner, and after my exchange, was transferred to Cameron’s battery. Was with the battery, in all its fights, until promoted to a lieutenantcy in McNeil’s cavalry. I was disabled by a fall of my horse, which resulted in entire disuse of my right leg, forcing me to leave the army in the summer of 1864. I know, comrades, all about the weary ride, the scant rations, and the lonely picket post. I am acquainted with the ping of the minnie ball, the shriek of the shell, and the boom of the cannon. 

Photograph of Thornton H. Bowman from REMINISCENCES OF AN EX-CONFEDERATE SOLDIER

Bowman had a very distinguished post-war career. He moved with his wife and children to Texas in 1871 where he soon got involved in politics. In 1874 he became a clerk in the Department of State. From 1881 to 1883, Bowman served as secretary of state in the administration of Texas governor Oran M. Roberts. In the 1890s he was twice elected county judge of Howard County, Texas, and in 1899 he was appointed superintendent of the State Orphan’s Home in Corsicana, Texas.  He died on November 24, 1905, and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Austin, Texas.

Postwar photograph of Bowman from REMINISCENCES OF AN EX-CONFEDERATE SOLDIER

This engraving of Bowman and brief biography appeared in the DALLAS MORNING NEWS, April 11, 1896

For anyone interested in reading Bowman’s book, it is available for free download on Google Books.

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