A Civil War Biography

Joshua Thomas Owen

Owen was born 29 March 1821 in Cammarthen, Wales. At the age of nine he emigrated to the United States and settled, with his family, in Baltimore, Maryland. After graduating from Washington, Pennsylvania's Jefferson College in 1845 he studied the law and was admitted to the bar in 1852. Owen, along with his brother Robert, established the Chestnut Hill Academy for boys in Philadelphia. He also practiced law and served in the state legislature from 1857 until 1859. He also served as a private in Philadelphia's first troop, a local militia unit.

When the war erupted Owen was soon elected colonel of the 24th Pennsylvania infantry regiment. When the 24th's enlistment expired after three months he helped organize and was placed in command of the 69th Pennsylvania volunteers. He saw action at Seven Pines, during the Seven Days, and at Antietam. For gallant and meritorious service at the battle of Glendale he was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers on 29 November 1862. He commanded the 2nd brigade of the II Corps' 2nd division at Fredericksburg. Before it could be confirmed his appointment as a brigadier general expired on 4 March 1863 but he was reappointed less than four weeks later, on 30 March. He commanded the 2nd brigade, 2nd division, II Corps at Chancellorsville. During the march into Pennsylvania he was arrested and did not take part in the battle at Gettysburg. He returned to command his brigade at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor. Accused of failing to support a neighboring brigade at Cold Harbor he was mustered out of the service in July 1864.

After leaving the army Owen returned to the practice of law. In 1866 he was elected recorder of deeds of Philadelphia. In 1871 he founded the "New York Daily Register", a law journal, which became the official publication of the New York court system in 1873. Owen remained on the editorial staff of the "Register" until his death on 7 November 1887 in Philadelphia.

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