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Letter explaining action of Josiah B. Bowman, Fairfax, VA, before Battle of First Manassas. November 24, 1861.

FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA., November 24, 1861.

Maj. H. W. THOMAS.

DEAR SIR: At the request of Mrs. Bowman I write to you to make some effort to have Josiah B. Bowman released from prison who is now held in Richmond by the Southern Confederacy on a charge of piloting the Federal army to Bull Run last summer, which was not the case. The evidence against him was taken from a Northern paper thanking him for his attention to them. The fact was this as I understood it: On Sunday morning of the Bull Run fight while the troops were at Vienna two reporters for Northern papers and a chaplain in the army wanted a conveyance to go to Centerville. They told Bowman that they must have his wagon whether he went or not, and he did go to Centerville to bring his horses and wagon back. He did what I would have done under similar circumstances.

I know three Virginians that were pressed to carry the tired-out soldiers down on their retreat from Bull Run; still no arrest made. I have always found Bowman to be a very quiet man on the war question, taking no part either way. I think I know him and know him to be a good citizen. He has a wife and five children depending on him for a support. The citizens in the neighborhood think it a very hard case that he should be held a prisoner so long, he being arrested about the 1st of August. Go and see Bowman and have him released if possible so he can come home to his family. The Federal troops have taken Bowman's two teams and the most of his cattle. His wife will have to depend on her neighbors to haul her wood. Doctor Hunter has been released by the Federal army. They still hold A. B. Williams, George Gunnell, Hugh Adams, Withers Smith, John McDaniel and Sam Anderson, Doctor Hunter thinks for the want of some one to bring their cases up before the authorities at Washington. The Federal army have made no advance yet. The troops scout up this far but seldom leave the big road.

Yours, very respectfully,


SOURCE: Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 2, pg. 1398

Related document:

Memoranda on arrest of J. B. Bowman, Fairfax, Virginia. 1862

Memoranda on J. B. Bowman, Virginia, circa 1861-1862

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