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Robert Cowdin
Personal Information
Born: September 18, 1805(1805-09-18)
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Died: July 9, 1874 (aged 68)
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Other Information
Allegiance: United States of America
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Branch: Union Army
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Rank: Brigadier General
Service number : {{{servicenumber}}}
Battles: American Civil War
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Robert Cowdin (September 18, 1805 – July 9, 1874) was a businessman, general in the Union Army, and a politician.


Cowdin was born in Jamaica, Vermont, the son of Angier and Abiah (Carter) Cowdin. He moved to Boston at age 20 to engage in the lumber business. He served in various organizations in the state militia from 1838 until the start of the Civil War. He also served on the Common Council of Boston for eight years, and various elected positions in the city's correctional system.

Civil War[]

Cowdin was colonel of the 2nd Massachusetts Militia Regiment at the start of the war, and was appointed colonel of the 1st Massachusetts Infantry on May 25, 1861. He led his regiment at the battle of Blackburn's Ford on July 18, 1861, was part of Israel B. Richardson's brigade of Daniel Tyler's Division at the First Battle of Bull Run, where his horse was killed. He also saw action at Williamsburg, Fair Oaks, Glendale, Malvern Hill and Chantilly.

On September 26, 1862, based on a recommendation by General Joseph Hooker, he was appointed Brigadier General, Volunteers, and commanded the 1st Brigade, Abercrombie's Division, Defenses of Washington (later called the XXII Corps), from October 1862 to February 1863, then the 2nd Brigade until the end of March. On March 4, Congress adjourned without approving his commission, and he was relieved of duty on March 30, and returned to Massachusetts.

Postwar life[]

During the next 11 years, Cowdin served 10 terms on the Common Council and Board of Aldermen in Boston, and served as Captain of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts. He died in Boston, Massachusetts, and is buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

  • Boatner, Mark M., The Civil War Dictionary, New York: Vintage Books, 1991, p. 205.
  • Dean, Dudley, editor, 'Officers of our Union army and navy : their lives, their portraits ..., Boston: L. Prang & Co., 1862; modern reprint from UMI microfilm.
  • Warner, Ezra J., Generals In Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1964, 1992, pp. 96–97.

See also[]

32x28px United States Army portal
32x28px American Civil War portal

Further reading[]

Cowdin, Robert. "Gen. Cowdin and the First Massachusetts Regiment of Volunteers." Boston: J. E. Farwell and Co., printers, 1864.

External links[]