A farmer living in Rutherford County, Tennessee, Lowe enlisted in Murfreesboro on 16 July 1861. He was wounded at Shiloh, said to have been "wounded by a cannon ball". No mention is made of the nature or severity of his wound, but in this post war picture it appears it must have resulted in the loss of his hand. In the image, his hand appears to be missing rather than just hidden by clothing down by his side. Lowe was given a medical discharge from the military in early May 1862. Returning home, the story goes that in the spring of 1863, his wife Minerva was killed by foraging Union soldiers when she was seven months pregnant. His prematurely born daughter Martha died three days after her mother. Calvin was arrested and forced to take the Oath, but survived and later remarried.