My great grandfather is an enigma to me. I grew up thinking that his father was Samuel Bowman who married Elizabeth Greene, however he is not mentioned in the will. His son James Wiley is the only one mentioned. It was only when I became interested in genealogy that I began to question this because the dates didn’t add up. I asked myself, did they only have one child? If he is not connected to him how did he end up here in Knoxville, TN living right in the mist of all the Bowman’s? Could he have been disowned? Questions, questions, questions. So I began to dig and found that he was quite a mystery. When he was in the Civil War he enlisted as Charles Bowman and then took the alias Giles Davis. He stated on his military records that he was born in Franklin, Virginia, I can find no evidence of that. I can find Giles Davis born in Franklin Virginia. Giles Davis did serve in the Civil War but in Virginia. On Charles’s war records he enlisted as Charles Bowman. He is buried as Charles Bowman. Growing up I was always told that he changed his name because he went to the confederate from the union. I cannot find anywhere in my research for that to be true. So I can’t prove that he is Charles Bowman or Giles Davis. All his military records show him both ways using his alias after he first enlisted.
My great grandfather appears to be a rather slippery fellow. Charles Bowman was actually born Giles W. Davis, in Franklin Virginia, sometime between August 6, 1837 and August 5, 1838 . It is unclear why he changed his name but I believe he might have been a bounty jumper. He served in: 1: Co L, 4th Cavalry “Regular Army” (5ft. 11 inch; dark hair; black eyes ; dark completion). 2: 18th Ohio Infantry, Co A. Mustered in for three years service on November 4, 1861. GILES WAS ON DETACHED DUTY TIL JAN 1865 when records said that he was killed. He was not killed; he was serving in two units at the same time. 3: Sgt., K Company, 13th TN Cavalry (USA). Born Franklin, Virginia, Enlisted 24 August 1863 Louisville, Ky. In other records, Charles is found “alias Giles Davis”. The first official record of Charles ” Bowman” was when he married Mary Jane Rackard in 1864. The parents of Giles Davis aka Charles Bowman were Jonathan Davis and Sarah Parcell. It is unclear if he is related to the Davis family in the area.
Another time I was searching the internet I came upon this blog about Charles Bowman aka Giles Davis.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
A Bit of a scoundrel?
One of my great-great grandfather’s fellow sergeants in the 13th Tennessee Cavalry, USA, was a man by the name of Charles Bowman.
Only Charles Bowman was not his real name.
His real name was Giles Davis, and when he enlisted in the 13th Tennessee Cavalry on August 24, 1863, he had deserted from the 4th US Infantry a mere eight days before.
Why desert only to re-enlist under an assumed name? I don’t know, although he is not the only soldier I have run across who did this, merely the only one who did so in such short order. Perhaps he had a falling out with a commanding officer, or “irreconcilable differences” with a fellow soldier, but still wanted to do his duty.
According to his pension record, Giles W. Davis also served with the 18th Ohio Infantry, Company A- and sure enough there was a Giles W. Davis in that regiment and company. This Davis enlisted on May 20, 1864 and died of wounds in January, 1865. How could this be? Charles Bowman survived the war and was never AWOL on his military record. How could he be two places at once, and live to receive a pension?
Checking the “miscellaneous” military records gives us the answer- he was on detached duty “recruiting” until January 1865- the same time that Giles Davis was killed.
Unfortunately at this time I do not have access to his full military records, but I am sure there is more to this tale. It’s one of those times that I lived near Washington, DC and could run to the National Archives at the hat.
In the meantime, this tale will stay on the back burner until I have more information available to me.
Posted by Kate Hallerson
Well I have all the military records and it is still a mystery. All I know is that he must have been one tough soldier to serve three years as a Sargent in the Civil War. And only he knew who he really was.
Mary Jane Rackard and Charles were married on January 20th, 1864 and had nine children together.
John Albert Bowman b. 1865-1953.
Elbert Bowman b. 1867-.
Sara Josephine Bowman b. 1868-1929 Married Robert Wilson.
Eliza Cordelia Bowman b. 1871-1955 Married John Henry Nelson.
Lucy Bowman b. 1875-1954 Married Daniel “Ellick” Sayne.
James D. Bowman b. 1876-1961 Married Flora Sayne.
Cynthia F. Bowman b. 1882-1960 Married Claude Monday.
Oscar T. Bowman b. 1882-1960 Married Rebecca Stanton. ******Oscar is our ancestor.
Oscar and Cynthia were twins and they both died the same year.