THREE-QUARTER SEATED VIEW OF CAPTAIN ANDREW COWAN OF 1ST NEW YORK LIGHT ARTILLERY

$250.00 SOLD

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Item Code: 801-271

Image shows Cowan seated with his right arm resting on the back of the chair. He sports a goatee and wears a dark frock coat with Captains shoulder straps and matching dark trousers.

The image has good clarity and contrast but has light to moderate surface dirt throughout.

Reverse has a photographer’s imprint for J. F. VAIL, PALMYRA, N.Y. Reverse shows a crease running diagonally across the bottom third of the image but this is not visible on the front. There is also a faint inscription in pencil that reads in part “… N. Y. INDEPENDENT ARTILLERY, 6TH CORPS, ARTILLERY BRIGADE.”

Andrew Cowan was born in Ayrshire, Scotland on September 29, 1841 and migrated to the United States as a child.

On the outbreak of the Civil War the 19 year old Cowan enlisted at Elmira, New York as a 1st Sergeant in Battery B, 3rd New York Light Artillery on May 22, 1861. He was discharged for promotion on November 15, 1861 and a week later was commissioned a 1st Lieutenant in the 1st New York Light Artillery.

The 1st New York Battery was recruited by Capt. Terrance J. Kennedy in October of 1861. The battery was organized at Auburn, New York and was mustered into the service as a volunteer unit for a term of three years on November 23, 1861.

The battery joined the 4th Corps in March of 1862 and later became part of the 6th Corps, Army of the Potomac, joining that organization in May and seeing service in the Peninsula Campaign with Lt Cowan now in command.

The battery served at Yorktown, Williamsburg, the Seven Days Battles, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg where on July 3, 1863 it was placed just south of the copse of trees on Cemetery Ridge in time to resist Pickett's Charge. The guns of the battery filled a gap in the infantry line that was created when a regiment left the front. Cowan ordered his men to fire double canister on a body of Confederates trying to penetrate the Union line, and their fire broke up that threat. A newspaper account reported that Captain Cowan served in a gun crew at the height of the assault.

In the autumn of 1863, the battery served at Bristoe Station, Rappahannock Station, Mine Run, and in 1864 as part of Grant’s Overland Campaign. It then served with the Army of the Shenandoah with Cowan being wounded at Third Winchester and his battery seeing particularly hard service at the Battle of Cedar Creek.

The1st New York served briefly in 22nd Corps from December 1864 until it rejoined the Army of the Potomac on January 25, 1865. Most of the men in the battery reenlisted permitting the organization to continue in service with Cowan receiving a brevet promotion to Major and serving as head of the 6th Corps artillery during the Appomattox Campaign and left the Army as a brevet Lieutenant Colonel on June 23, 1865.

After the war in 1876 Cowan married his second wife, Anna Gilbert, (his first wife having died in child birth.) Cowan moved to Louisville, Kentucky and became a leather merchant. He also headed a printing company for the blind and was a park commissioner. Cowan served on the committee that raised funds for the erection of the Statue of Liberty and in 1900 he was a member of a Kentucky delegation that visited the White House to discuss problems in the state with President William McKinley.

Cowan also was active in veterans' affairs. On July 3, 1887 he took a leading part in the dedication of the monument to his battery at Gettysburg. He also returned to veterans of Pickett's division a sword that had fallen into his hands at the Battle of Gettysburg. Cowan was also close with Confederate survivors in Kentucky who named him an honorary member of their Orphan Brigade in 1912. In 1915 the colonel proposed to hold a Confederate reunion in Washington. Later that year he gave an address at the dedication of a statue of Brigadier General Alexander S. Webb who had commanded the Philadelphia Brigade at Gettysburg. When a Confederate reunion was held in 1917 Colonel Cowan and President Woodrow Wilson were among the participants. Cowan also served a term as president of the Society of the Army of the Potomac. He died in Louisville on August 23, 1919 at the age of 78.    [ad]

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