Joshua Thomas Owen

Joshua Thomas Owen, nicknamed "Paddy" despite his birth in Caermarthen, Wales, on March 29, 1821, was brought to the United States by his parents at the age of nine. In 1845 he was graduated from Jefferson College in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania; he then engaged in teaching with his brother in the Chestnut Hill Academy and in the practice of law. He was a member of the Pennsylvania legislature from 1857 until 1859 and of the militia as a private in the 1st City Troop of Philadelphia. On May 8, 1861, he became colonel of the 24th Pennsylvania Volunteers—a ninety-day organization which was mustered into Federal service and stationed on the Potomac during the campaign of First Bull Run. He became colonel of the 69th Pennsylvania upon the muster-out of the 24th Pennsylvania and then "served in all the battles of the Army of the Potomac from Fair Oaks to Cold Harbor, commanding a brigade part of the time and winning by gallant and meritorious conduct at Glendale promotion to the rank of brigadier general of volunteers, November 29, 1862." That Owen took part in all the fights embraced by this eulogistic account is beyond cavil; however, the records exhibit that he was placed in arrest while the army was en route to Pennsylvania, that his appointment as brigadier general on November 29, 1862, expired for want of confirmation, and that his failure to support the brigade on his right at Cold Harbor in June, 1864, resulted in charges being placed against him for "disobedience of orders" by his division commander, John Gibbon. In any event the affair was closed when he was honorably mustered out of service a month later. He returned to his home in Philadelphia, resumed his law practice, and acted as recorder of deeds there until 1871. In this year he founded the New York Daily Register, a law journal which became the official publication of the New York courts in 1873. He served as a member of the journal's editorial staff until his death at his home in Chestnut Hill (Philadelphia) on November 7, 1887. General Owen was buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery.

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