Robert Cowdin (Coudin)

Robert Cowdin was born in Jamaica, Vermont, on September 18, 1805. After receiving an education in his hometown, he moved to Boston at the age of twenty to engage in the lumber business. He was a member of the 2nd Massachusetts militia regiment and was its colonel at the outbreak of the Civil War. On May 25, 1861, Cow-din was mustered into Federal service as colonel of the 1st Massachusetts Infantry, the first volunteer regiment to be enlisted in the state for three-year service. The regiment took part with I. B. Richardson's brigade of Tyler's 1st Division in the battle of First Manassas (Bull Run), where Cowdin's horse was killed. In the spring of 1862, Cowdin participated in the Peninsular campaign, fighting at Williamsburg, Fair Oaks (Seven Pines), Glendale, and Malvern Hill. For bravery at Williamsburg, he was recommended for promotion by his brigade commander General Joseph Hooker. He was appointed brigadier general of volunteers to rank from September 26, 1862. During the fall and winter of 1862, General Cowdin commanded a brigade of John J. Abercrombie's division in the defenses of Washington. Perhaps because of his age, the Senate failed to confirm Cowdin to the grade of brigadier during the session in which he was nominated; accordingly, on March 4, 1863, the appointment expired. On March 30 he was relieved from duty and returned home. At the close of the war he became captain of the "Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company" of Boston. Both before and after his war service he directed various public institutions, serving ten terms on the council and board of aldermen. General Cowdin died in Boston, July 9, 1874, and was buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge.

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