Biography of General John Adams

Ancestry US

General John Adams was born in Giles county, Tennessee, in 1825 and died on the battlefield of Franklin, November 30, 1864. He was graduated from West Point and served in the Mexican War. He enlisted immediately upon the outbreak of the War between the States. It is a remarkable tribute to General Adams that he was the only general of the Confederacy whose body and horse were both found on the breastworks of the enemy, both shot to death in the very presence of the Union forces. The Federal officer who observed his fall said: 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 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 nearby and made him a pillow. The general gallantly thanked him, 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. He is one of the five general officers of Tennessee selected to be honored with a statue on Stone Mountain, Georgia.


Moore, John Trotwood; Foster, Austin P.; S. J. Clarke Publishing Company; Tennessee, the volunteer state, 1769-1923, vols. 1-4; Chicago, Nashville : The S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1923.

Ancestry US

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