Page Added for the Skirmish at Bowman’s Place

I almost wrote this one off. For a long time, I questioned whether the Skirmish at Bowman’s Place, which is listed in The War of the Rebellion, Series I, Vol. II and elsewhere by simply a name and date, even happened. The usual sources revealed few other details besides the Union regiments involved and a vague location.

Since it was the only skirmish I haven’t been able to create a page for, I decided to take one more crack at it before I threw in the towel. I’m glad I did! Slowly but surely, details emerged. It’s a satisfying feeling when a mystery you’ve been wracking your brain over finally starts to unravel. Every clue leads to another piece of information that helps solve the puzzle.

First I found a few newspaper articles mentioning the name of a Union casualty: N. O. Smith of Company H, 15th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. From there, I discovered Southern newspaper accounts naming a Confederate lieutenant killed: Robert McChesney of the Second Rockbridge Dragoons.

Finally, I had the names of two casualties, and through that, was able to confirm the specific units involved. It turns out there actually is a lot of information about this skirmish–you just have to know where to look! Though newspaper reports from the time period are often unreliable, two histories of Tucker County, West Virginia (where the skirmish took place), one published in 1884 and the other in 1962, yielded a great deal of information.

The page is not quite complete, but I have some specific details on casualties and transcribed nine newspaper articles on the skirmish. Much more to follow.

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