Douglass Fowler: “The best military man in the regiment”

In Oliver’s letter of February 27, 1862, he mentions a Capt. Fowler of the 8th CVI.

Capt. Douglass Fowler of Norwalk, Connecticut originally enlisted in the 3rd Connecticut Infantry, a three-month regiment, as the commander of Company A on May 14, 1861. He served alongside future 8th CVI regimental commander Edward Harland during the First Battle of Bull Run and was honorably discharged on August 12, 1861.

Fowler returned to service with the 8th CVI as Commander of Company H on September 23, 1861. The records for the 8th CVI indicate that he resigned on January 20, 1862. Oliver Case’s (Company A, 8th CVI) letter dated February 27, 1862 relates that Capt. Fowler’s resignation had recently been returned as accepted from Washington and he would be heading home soon. Case gives the reason for his resignation as well:

Capt. Fowler got into a fuss with the Lieut. Col. at Annapolis and sent in his resignation. It just came back from Washington accepted and he is going home. I think he would be glad to stay as his company think everything of him. He was the best military man in the regiment and should have been Maj. Instead of Capt. Appleton. The only thing I know against him is that he did not come from Norwich.

It seems that Douglass Fowler joined the 17th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry as the commanding officer of Company A on July 14, 1862. He participated in the Battle of Chancellorsville and was promoted to Lieut. Col. after the wounding and death of the regimental commander and Lieut. Col. Fowler was in command of the 17th on the first day of Gettysburg. He was killed leading his regiment into action on Blocher’s Knoll. As Lieut. Col. Fowler rode forward on a white horse encouraging his men by his fearless example, he told the soldiers to “Dodge the big ones Boys” as the Confederate artillery reigned in on their position. Only moments after his words of encouragement, Fowler decapitated by a Confederate solid shot. His remains were never recovered, but he is memorialized in the Gettysburg National Cemetery.














Lieut. Col. Douglass Fowler, 17th CVI                                                             

Photo courtesy of Bobby Dobbins/



Lieut.-Col. Douglass Fowler of Norwalk was shot dead during the first day’s fight. He had been in the war from the beginning ; having led a company in the Third Regiment through the three-months’ service, and afterwards raised a company for the Eighth. When he resigned his commission in the latter, he recruited a company for the Seventeenth. He was sick before the battle of Chancellorsville, and was borne to the fight in an ambulance ; but he afterwards fought with great endurance, being among the last to retreat. He was by nature a true soldier, brave and skillful ; and his genial temper, generous disposition, and buoyant spirits, united with a fervent interest in the loyal cause, had won for him an enthusiastic regard ; and the men followed him willingly into the deadly strife. He was struck down while leading them in a charge ; and still he sleeps in his unknown grave upon the battle-field of Gettysburg.

Additional info on Douglass Fowler can be found at:

17th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry

The American Civil War: Battle of Gettysburg (17th CVI page)


3 thoughts on “Douglass Fowler: “The best military man in the regiment”

  1. Pingback: Hurry Up and Wait 150 Years Ago « Oliver Cromwell Case

    • No, I don’t. Obviously, he recovered to fight heroically at Gettysburg so it would be interesting to know the charge against him.

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