Bowers was born in Maryland in 1822, and by 1854, was living in Philadelphia. He exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts from 1856 to 1860, at the Washington, D.C. Art Association in 1857, and at the Artist Fund Society in New York in 1860 and 1861. In 1861, Bowers was elected a member of the National Academy of Design in New York for his genre scenes, landscapes, and portraits.
Bowers returned to Baltimore sometime in 1860 or 1861, and was drafted into the Union Army during the Civil War in 1863. He was mustered out in 1865, returned to Baltimore, and opened a studio on the 100 block of East Monument Street. From 1865 to 1867, Bowers spent some time in Detroit. He exhibited at the Maryland Historical Society in 1868. His work is included in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.