Brig. Gen. John Adams, CSA

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John Adams

Birthdate: (39)
Death: November 30, 1864 (39) (killed at the Second Battle of Franklin )
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas Patton Adams and Anne Adams
Husband of Georgina Adams
Father of Charles McDougal Adams; Thomas Patton Adams; John Adams; Francis Joseph Adams and Georgina McDougall Pallen
Brother of Nathan Adams, (A); Maj. Nathan Adams; William Stothart Adams; Martha Eldridge; Thomas Adams, (A) and 4 others

Managed by: Martin Severin Eriksen
Last Updated:

About Brig. Gen. John Adams, CSA

John Adams (July 1, 1825 – November 30, 1864) was an officer in the United States Army. With the onset of the American Civil War, he resigned his commission and joined the Confederate States Army, rising to the rank of brigadier general before being killed in action.

Early life and career

Adams was born in Nashville, Tennessee, to Irish immigrant parents. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1846, ranking 25th in his class. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the 1st Dragoons, serving under Capt. Philip Kearny. Adams was brevetted for gallantry during the Mexican-American War at the Battle of Santa Cruz de Rosales. After the war, Adams served on the western frontier, primarily in California. He was subsequently promoted to first lieutenant and captain. As a lieutenant colonel in the state militia, he was aide-de-camp to the Governor of Minnesota in 1853.

Civil War Career

With the secession of Tennessee, Adams resigned his commission in the United States Army in early 1861 and joined the Confederate Army not long afterward as a captain in the cavalry. He was commissioned a colonel in 1862, and a brigadier general in December of that same year, replacing the late Lloyd Tilghman in charge of his brigade of infantry. Adams served entirely in the Western Theater and was commended in several official reports for his leadership. He was particularly conspicuous during the Atlanta Campaign, where he again displayed personal bravery as well as a talent for battlefield tactics. His brigade was selected to lead the advance of John Bell Hood's army into Tennessee.

Adams was killed at the Second Battle of Franklin in 1864, one of six Confederate generals to perish in the defeat. An Indiana colonel who witnessed his death later wrote:

General Adams rode up to our works and, cheering his men, made an attempt to leap his horse over them. The horse fell upon the top of the embankment and the general was caught under him, pierced with [nine] bullets. As soon as the charge was repulsed, our men sprang over the works and lifted the horse, while others dragged the general from under him. He was perfectly conscious and knew his fate. He asked for water, as all dying men do in battle as the life-blood drips from the body. One of my men gave him a canteen of water, while another brought an armful of cotton from an old gin near by and made him a pillow. The general gallantly thanked them, and in answer to our expressions of sorrow at his sad fate, he said, 'It is the fate of a soldier to die for his country,' and expired. — Confederate Veteran, June 1897.

Adams left a widow with four sons and two daughters.

rig. General John Adams was born on 1 July 1825 in Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee.1,2 He was the son of Thomas Patton Adams and Anne Tennant.1,2 Brig. General John Adams married Georgiana McDougall, daughter of Dr Charles McDougall and Maria Griffith Hanson, on 4 May 1854 in Fort Snelling, Minnesota Territory, now Saint Paul. John was Aide-de-Camp to Gov. William Gorman.3,1,4 Brig. General John Adams died on 30 November 1864 in Franklin, Williamson County, Tennessee, at age 39.1,2 He was buried in Maplewood Cemetery, Pulaski, Giles County, Tennessee, Find A Grave Memorial# 10814.5

    He graduated from United States Military Academy, West Point, Orange County, New York, in 1846.2 He and Georgiana McDougall appeared on the 1860 Federal census of Millville, Shasta County, California, enumerated 14 July 1860. Their children John, Francis Joseph, Charles McDougal and Thomas Patton were listed as living with them. His occupation was listed as "Captain, 1st Dragoons"; this census lists Georgiana's birthplace as Arkansas.

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Brig. Gen. John Adams, CSA's Timeline

July 1, 1825
April 9, 1855
Age 29
November 9, 1856
Age 31
May 15, 1858
Age 32
December 16, 1859
Age 34
December 16, 1861
Age 36
November 30, 1864
Age 39