BOWDEN, JOHN T. (1844~1907)John Bowden was born near Salisbury, Hardeman County, Tennessee in 1844 to Thomas Bowden and Elizabeth Z. McKinnie. Thomas Bowden was born in Salsbury, North Carolina, and Elizabeth McKinnie was born in Tennessee; they were married on March 8, 1843, in Hardeman County.
John Bowden enlisted in the Harris Guards, 22nd Tennessee Infantry on July 18, 1861, at Camp Trenton, Tennessee. On June 16, 1862, the 22nd Tennessee Infantry became the 12th Tennessee Consolidated Infantry Regiment. Mr. Bowden was wounded at Murfreesboro and was in the hospital until September 1863. While John Bowden was away fighting, the Union army went to his father?s home and arrested him on December 10, 1862, for being disloyal to the United States. Thomas Bowden was sent to prison at Alton, Illinois, and was released on December 31, 1862.
John T. Bowden wrote about his experience getting home following the War in the magazine Confederate Veteran. At the end of the Civil War, he belonged to Company E, 12th Tennessee Infantry and the 22nd and 47th Regiments being consolidated together. He was paroled on May 1, 1865, near Greensboro, North Carolina, and managed to pick up a mule and a bag of feed so he could ride home to Hardeman County, Tennessee. The morning he was to leave, his mule was stolen, and he was stranded. The Federal Government issued transportation and rations to paroled soldiers from Lee?s army, but when Bowden tried to receive his share, he was told they were no longer issuing any more rations and transportation passes. John Bowden was over one thousand miles from home and had nothing to his name except for his uniform he was wearing. Luckily, a Union soldier passed by Bowden and spoke to him about his condition and was appalled to hear that he was being treated so poorly. The Union soldier, Jim Sands, part of the 36th Kentucky Federal, invited Bowden to tag along with his regiment to Louisville, Kentucky. Once Bowden was at the camp, Sands shared his rations and tent with Bowden. On the train, when the conductor noticed Bowden wearing grey, he asked if Bowden belonged on the train. Bowden replied, ?I do not,? but his new friend came to his rescue. Jim Sands said, ? I asked him to come and go as far as Louisville with me, and I am dividing my rations with him; and if he is put off, then you will have to put me off, too.? The conductor never bothered them again.
Upon arrival in Louisville, Kentucky, Bowden began to look for acquaintances to help him get home to Tennessee. Jim Sands offered to lend him some money if he could not locate anybody to help him. Bowden found a steamer that was headed to Memphis and persuaded the captain to help him get home. Once in Memphis, Bowden tried to pay the captain, but the crusty old captain refused payment. John Bowden finally got home on July 15, 1865, the day after his youngest sister was buried.
Bowden came to Texas in 1874 and lived in Rice, Navarro County, Texas, and became a farmer. He was admitted to the Confederate Men?s home on July 22, 1898, and was discharged on August 31, 1899. He was readmitted on July 1, 1902, and was discharged on October 31, 1904. He was admitted again on March 29, 1905, and was discharged on April 29, 1905.
During the Civil War, he suffered eight wounds including a disabling wound on the spine. John T. Bowden passed away on October 21, 1907.
Information provided by Benjamin McGee.