J.B. Cowan was a surgeon during the American Civil War. He served on the staff of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, and was in fact the first cousin of Forrest's wife, and thus probably knew Forrest about as well as anyone in the regiment. This in turn allowed a bit of informality in the two men's relationship. For example, Cowan won some money off of Captain Charles W. Anderson, who'd foolishly believed that General Forrest would simply sit put in Jackson, Tennesee while his subordinates took Fort Pillow.
The day after the battle, Cowan met Forrest in Brownsville, where Cowan gently chastised Forrest for pushing himself so hard. He then asked about Major William Bradford, the commander of Fort Pillow, who'd escaped after the battle. Forrest indicated he wasn't sure what had happened to Bradford.