John G. B. Adams

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John Gregory Bishop Adams
John G. B. Adams.jpg
John Gregory Bishop Adams
Born (1841-10-06)October 6, 1841
Groveland, Massachusetts
Died October 19, 1900(1900-10-19) (aged 59)
Place of burial Pine Grove Cemetery in Lynn, Massachusetts
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Union Army
Years of service 1861 - 1865
Rank Union army cpt rank insignia.jpg Captain
Unit 19th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment
Battles/wars American Civil War
Peninsula Campaign
Battle of Antietam
Battle of Fredericksburg
Battle of Chancellorsville
Battle of Gettysburg
Battle of the Wilderness
Battle of Spotsylvania Court House
Battle of Cold Harbor
Awards Medal of Honor

John Gregory Bishop Adams (October 6, 1841 – October 19, 1900) was an American soldier who received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the American Civil War.


Adams enlisted into military service as a private and eventually achieved the rank of captain. During his Civil War service he fought in several major battles including Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. It was during the Battle of Fredericksburg that his actions would earn him the United States military's highest decoration for valor, the Medal of Honor. During the battle of Cold Harbor his entire regiment was captured and held as prisoners in a Confederate prison camp where he was held for nine months.[1]

When he returned home after the war, he worked a series of jobs including working for a shoe company, a customs inspector, postmaster and deputy warden.

Civil War service[edit]

Adams was born October 6, 1841 in Groveland, Massachusetts[2] and when the Civil War broke out, he enlisted as a private in Major Ben Perley Poore's Rifle Battalion, a unit that was later folded into the 19th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment. When the 19th departed the state on March 1, 1861, Adams was a corporal in Company A.[3]

He served with the 19th in the Peninsula Campaign and at the Battle of Antietam. While serving as a Second Lieutenant in Company I, he was one of 18 Union soldiers who received the Medal of Honor for valor at the Battle of Fredericksburg.[4] Adams recovered the regimental and national colors as a corporal and a lieutenant carrying them fell mortally wounded. With a flag in each hand he advanced, and the regiment was reformed on him.[2] He was one of seven soldiers from the 19th Regiment who received the Medal of Honor during the war.[4]

Later promoted to captain, Adams commanded Company I at the Battle of Chancellorsville and the Battle of Gettysburg, where he was severely wounded on July 2, 1863. His convalescence was relatively brief and he was able to return and fight at Battle of the Wilderness, Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, and the Battle of Cold Harbor. He and the entire regiment were captured near Cold Harbor on June 22, 1864 and Adams was held at Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia. He was also imprisoned at Macon, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina, where he and other officers were placed on Morris Island in an attempt to stop naval bombardment by the Union. Moved to Columbia, he and a comrade attempted to escape but were eventually captured. He was held for a total of nine months.[5]

Postwar life[edit]

After the war, Adams was a foreman for ten years at the B. F. Doak & Company shoe factory in Lynn, Massachusetts. He left that post to become an inspector in the Boston Custom House and later served as the Postmaster of Lynn and Deputy Warden of the State Reformatory at Concord. He served as an elector for the state in the 1868 presidential election. In 1885 he was elected Sergeant at Arms for the Massachusetts legislature, overseeing a staff of approximately forty and earning a salary of $3,000.[3]

Adams was a Freemason as a member of Columbian Lodge A.F.&A.M. in Boston, and the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), joining as the first member of his local post.[3][6] He served as a delegate to the national GAR convention twelve times and served a year as Department Commander before being elected as Commander-in-Chief in 1893. At the time, he was elected he had been President of the Association of the Survivors of Rebel Prisons for seven years.[3] He was also a member of the Massachusetts Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States.

In 1899, he published a memoir of his war service, Reminiscences of the Nineteenth Massachusetts Regiment.[5] He died October 19, 1900 and is buried in Pine Grove Cemetery in Lynn, Massachusetts.[4][7]

Medal of Honor citation[edit]

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, Company I, 19th Massachusetts Infantry. Place and date: At Fredericksburg, Va., December 13, 1862. Birth: Groveland, Mass. Date of issue: December 16, 1896.


Seized the 2 colors from the hands of a corporal and a lieutenant as they fell mortally wounded, and with a color in each hand advanced across the field to a point where the regiment was reformed on those colors.[2]

See also[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History.
  1. ^ Who Was Who in American History - the Military. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1975. p. 3. ISBN 0837932017. 
  2. ^ a b c "Civil War Medal of Honor recipients (A-L)". United States Army Center of Military History. 6 August 2009. Retrieved June 24, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Commander in Chief Adams; Sketch of the Newly-Elected Leader of the G.A.R." (PDF). New York Times. September 8, 1893. p. 9. Retrieved December 25, 2007. 
  4. ^ a b c "John G. B. Adams". Claim to Fame: Medal of Honor recipients. Find a Grave. Retrieved December 25, 2007. 
  5. ^ a b Adams, John G. B. (1899). Reminiscences of the Nineteenth Massachusetts Regiment. Boston: Wright, Potter Printing Company. 
  6. ^ "Masonic postcard featuring Adams". Retrieved December 24, 2007. 
  7. ^ Who Was Who in American History - the Military. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1975. p. 3. ISBN 0837932017. 

External links[edit]