Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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BOWMAN, Alexander Hamilton, soldier, born in Wilkesbarre, Pennsylvania, 15 May, 1803; died there. 11 November, 1865. He was a son of Captain Samuel Bowman, of the 5[assachusetts line, who served with distinction in the revolutionary war. He was graduated at the United States military academy in 1825, standing third in his class, was promoted to second lieutenant in the corps of engineers, and became assistant professor of geography, history, and ethics. In 1826 he was appointed assistant engineer in the construction of the defenses and in the improvement of harbors and rivers on the gulf of Mexico. He was ordered, in 1834, to superintend the construction of a military road from Memphis, Tennessee, into Arkansas, and further charged with improving the navigation of Cumberland and Tennessee rivers until 1838. He was promoted first lieutenant, 21 January, 1835, and later was assigned to the charge of the fortifications for the defenses of Charleston harbor, South Carolina, where he remained until 1853. Meanwhile he had been made captain, 7 July, 1838. During 1851-'2 he was at West Point as instructor of practical military engineering, and subsequently was chief engineer of the construction bureau of the United States treasury department, and was employed in locating and constructing customhouses, post-offices, marine hospitals, and similar buildings. On 5 January, 1857, he was made major of engineers, and during the civil war he was superintendent of the United States military academy, with the local rank of colonel, serving as such from 1 March, 1861, until 8 July, 1864. He then became a member of the naval and engineering commission for selecting sites for naval establishments on the western rivers, and from 20 June, 1865, until his death, was a member of the board of engineers to improve and preserve the New England sea-coast defenses. His regular promotion as a lieutenant colonel in the corps of engineers was received 3 March, 1863.
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