Patrick Rael
Associate Professor | Department of History | Bowdoin College
9900 College Station | Brunswick, ME 04011-8499

email |
vox 207.725.3775 | fax 207.725.3929
Site navigator:

Bowdoin Alumni in the Civil War

This list of alumni and students of Bowdoin College who served the U. S. A. and the C. S. A. during the Civil War was transcribed and cross-referenced in May 1998 by Sarah M. Grossman '98 and Andrew C. Sigfridson '98. In-depth biographies and further information concerning the alumni in this document is provided in the special collections at Bowdoin College in "Bowdoin in the War" prepared by Adjutant General Hodsdon, as well as in General Catalogue of Bowdoin College 1794-1950.

Bowdoin Graduates Who Served with the Union
Bowdoin Graduates Who Served with the Confederacy



The following document is a composition of the alumni of Bowdoin College who served in the Civil War on the side of the Union as well as for the Confederacy. The majority of these names are memorialized on bronze plaques in Memorial Hall at Bowdoin College. However, since the plaques were created, nine more students have been recognized as having served in the Union. The names of these alumni as well as their various ranks held while in service, were cross-referenced and are included in this document. (1) This investigation also uncovered one additional student, that had never been included in any documentation regarding Bowdoin and the Civil War. (2)

The data collected for this document supports the argument made by Edgar O. Achorn in his 1910 article entitled "Bowdoin's Record in the Civil War." In his essay Achorn refuted Dartmouth's claim that they had the highest percentage of men from a northern college to serve in the Union during the Civil War. Achorn believed Bowdoin held that honor and compiled records which supported his belief. After assessing the records he found that 25.02% of Bowdoin's living students and alumni in 1867, served during the war. He discovered that only 22.82% of Dartmouth students and alumni contributed their efforts. Achorn investigated deeper and discovered that Bowdoin had 228 commissioned officers, to Dartmouth's 243, making the Bowdoin percentage of commissioned officers 79.7%, and the Dartmouth percentage 67.33%. The following document lists the ranks and regiments of the Bowdoin men who fought in the war. It is clear from the provided list that the majority of Bowdoin men to serve in the war held officer positions. This list will hopefully provide a basis for further research and comparisons like Achorn's study.

This document was modeled after the "Provisional List of Students and Alumni of Bowdoin College who Served in the War for the Union." Further information was gathered from the plaques in Memorial Hall, "Bowdoin in the War", and "Bowdoin's Record in the Civil War." This information was then cross-referenced with the General Catalogue of Bowdoin College 1794-1950 which provides a list of every alumni. The creators of this resource decided to separate the names of those who fought in the Confederacy from those who fought for the Union. This was done to emphasize that there was in fact a small percentage of Bowdoin Graduates who fought for the Confederacy.

1. The last names of these alumni were handwritten on the Provisional List: Nathaniel Lord Upham, William Osborne Fox, William Robinson Pattengall, Joseph Wesley Pressey, Charles Augustus Ring, Davis True Timberlake, James Franklin Chaney, and Charles Peter Clark.

2. The additional student was Oscar Lewis Billings, Class of 1871.