Joseph Anthony Mower

Joseph Anthony Mower was born on August 22, 1827, in Woodstock, Vermont. The family moved to Lowell, Massachusetts, however, when he was six. He was educated in the public schools of Lowell and at Norwich Academy in his native state. He worked as a carpenter for a brief time until he entered the army during the Mexican War as a private, serving until 1848. Seven years later, Mower, who had always desired a military career, was appointed a second lieutenant of the 1st U. S. Infantry. During the Civil War he made a magnificent record as regimental, brigade, divisional, and corps commander successively. Elected colonel of the 11th Missouri (Union) Infantry in May, 1862 (a state in which he had served since the beginning of the war), he was promoted to brigadier general on March 16, 1863, and to major general on August 12, 1864. By the end of the war he had been brevetted for gallantry through all grades to that of major general in the regular service. In the meantime, he fought at the battle of Iuka and at Corinth where he was wounded, captured, escaped, and recaptured. Next he directed a brigade of W. T. Sherman's XV Corps in the Vicksburg campaign. He accompanied N. P. Banks on the ill-fated campaign up Red River, led the attacking column into Fort De Russy, and commanded the rear guard at Yellow Bayou during the retreat. Soon after he was given command of a division, Sherman stated that he was "the boldest young soldier we have." At this time Sherman was forty-four, Mower thirty-six. Mower served with Sherman in Georgia and the Carolina campaign after taking part against Sterling Price in the latter's "invasion of Missouri" in the early part of 1864. After joining Sherman in November, 1864, during the "March to the Sea," Mower commanded a division; during the long march northward from Savannah, which would terminate on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, he had charge of the XX Corps, directing them with great distinction in Slorum's Army of Georgia. Upon the reorganization of the regular service in July, 1866, Mower was given command of the newly authorized 39th Regiment of colored troops and was transferred in 1869 to the 25th Infantry, another colored regiment. He died of pneumonia in New Orleans on January 6, 1870, while commanding the Department of Louisiana. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

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Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.