Rank and organization: Quartermaster, U.S. Navy. Born: 1831, Ireland.
Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 11, 3 April 1863.
occupied one of the most responsible positions on the U.S.S. Varuna during
the attacks on Forts Jackson and St. Philip and in action against the rebel
ship Morgan on 24 April 1862. Although guns were raking the decks from
behind him, McGowan remained steadfast at the wheel throughout the thickest
of the fight, continuing at his station and rendering service with the
greatest courage and skill until his ship, repeatedly holed and twice rammed
by the enemy, was beached and sunk.
This data was extracted from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, U.S. Senate, Medal of Honor Recipients: 1863-1973 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1973)