Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
Delevan Bates Bowley
Commander-in-Chief 1928 / 1929


Delevan Bates Bowley was born December 28, 1873 , the second son of Flora and Captain Freeman Sparks Bowley.

During the Civil War, Captain Bowley was 1 st Lieutenant of the 30 th United States Color Troops and was captured as a POW during the Battle of Petersburg, VA in July of 1864. His memoirs were published later as “A Boy Lieutenant-Memoirs of Freeman S. Bowley-30th United States Colored Troops Officer” with an Introduction by Ronald R. Seagrave and Edited by Pia Seija Seagrave, Ph.D. Delevan was named after his father’s commanding officer, Colonel Delevan Bates who was appointed Bvt. Brigadier General and awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor after being shot in the face while leading the 30 th USCT at the Battle of Petersburg. After the war, Captain Bowley was stationed at the Presidio in San Francisco where he and his wife Flora raised 5 children, 4 boys and a girl.

While Delevan did not join the military, two of his brothers, Lt Col. Freeman W. Bowley and Lt. General Al bert J. Bowley graduated from West Point and served with distinction for many years with Al bert becoming Commander of the Ninth Army. However, Delevan did not shirk from his duty, but followed in the family footsteps serving in the Patriotic Societies working his way up to Commander of the Loyal Legion of California (MOLLUS)in 1924, Commander -in-Chief of the Sons of the Union Veterans of

the Civil War (SUVCW) in 1928-1929 and finally, President of the Federated Patriotic Societies of California in 1935-1936.

During his many years of patriotic service, he worked closely with his mother who served for 70 years in the Woman’s Relief Corp,Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) and was affectionately known as “Mother Bowley” for her tireless care of the sick and wounded from both the Spanish American War and WWI. She died in 1936 at the age of 93. His father, Freeman S. Bowley was an original companion in the Military Order of the Loyal Legion and died of Small Pox in 1903 at the age of 56.

Delevan passed on January 20, 1947 at the age of 74. In addition to his patriotic many memberships, Delevan was a Master Mason , Seaport Lodge #550, San Francisco and a member of Sons of the Gold en West, Mission Parlor #38 also of San Francisco .

During his Civil War service, Captain Bowley met President Lincoln at the Executive Mansion while stationed in Washington, but his mother knew Mr. Lincoln quite well, frequently recalling many first hand incidents during the stirring times of 1861-1865. At the end of his term as Commander -in-Chief of the Sons of Union Veterans, Delevan was presented a framed portrait of Abraham Lincoln as a gift with the following inscription on the back:

Rough Diamonds.
God sends great souls into the world
Clothed oftentimes in curious attire.
And one misses much good fellowship
Who thinks that from what men seem to be
He can determine what they are.

Thank you to Brother Dan Bunnell, PDC (Dept. of CA) for supplying us with this information.


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KGH