CDV of Lieutenant Nathaniel Bowditch, 1st Massachusetts Cavalry - Mortally Wounded at Kelly's Ford - Mathew Brady Backmark

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CDV of Lieutenant Nathaniel Bowditch, 1st Massachusetts Cavalry - Mortally Wounded at Kelly's Ford - Mathew Brady Backmark

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Item No. 7344430

Here is a nice Mathew Brady-marked CDV of Lieutenant Nathaniel Bowditch of the 1st Massachusetts Cavalry. Bowditch was commissioned in November 1861 and was the regiment’s adjutant. He was mortally wounded in the Charge at Kelly’s Ford on March 17, 1863, and died two days later.

The CDV carries the backmark of Brady’s Washington, DC studio. It is about 2 1/4” x 4” and is in very good condition. Small portion clipped from one of the upper corners, as shown.

The following account of Bowditch’s death appeared in “Memorial [of Nathaniel Bowditch, Lieutenant, First Massachusetts Cavalry, 1839-1863]”:

Death of Young Bowditch.—We are permitted to publish the following extracts from a private letter from an officer of the First Massachusetts Cavalry:—

“Our regiment was not engaged at Kellyville, and did not cross the river. All day we guarded the approaches to the ford on this side, and listened to the distant fight, anxiously expecting an attack on ourselves from the direction of Warrenton. Three only of our officers were engaged, and those three were the recipients of five bullets and one saber-cut. Chamberlain, early in the day, was badly wounded in the face by two bullets, while crossing the ford; and, in one of the early charges, Bowditch was mortally wounded, and died in camp thirty-six hours later. We were all very find of him, and his death cast a deep gloom over our return and the camp.

“Still his death cannot be wholly lamented, except for his family and friends; for, in its kind, it was perfect. Young, universally a favorite, with no enemies, and no past to be ashamed of,—full of life, pluck, and strength, he went down in the heat of battle, far in front of his friends, and fighting to the last; while the death-wound itself did not make the bloody sword drop from his grasp. His brother-officers may regret him,—and, indeed, all who knew him must mourn him,—but we shall always be proud of him.

“The impression is, that, after one of our charges, he found himself surrounded by the enemy, and tried to cut his way out, refusing to surrender; but his horse was shot, and he was cut over the head with a saber, and brought to the ground, and his money and watch were demanded of him. He refused to give them up, and at the same instant was shot through the shoulder and abdomen. The return of our troops then put the enemy to flight, and he was rescued, stripped only of his hat, his pistol, and sabre-scabbard; for his saber was still in his hand. It is hard for the family and friends of such a man; and his kindly, generous, affectionate nature must have made him many friends, and makes his loss doubly hard to bear: but for him it is glory enough. In his little circle he is henceforth a hero; and no act or misfortune of future years can displace him from his pedestal, won by a blameless life and a heroic death. I wish I had his sword: his family have cause to preserve it.”

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