Sep 19, 2014

Heroes: John G.B. Adams

John G.B. Adams
John Gregory Bishop Adams (1841-1900), born in Groveland, Massachusetts, enlisted as a private when the Civil War started in the 19th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment. When the unit departed he obtained the rank of corporal in Company A. He served with the 19th in the Peninsula Campaign and the Battle of Antietam. He was given a field commission as Second Lieutenant in Company I and one of 18 soldiers who received the Medal of Honor for valor at the Battle of Fredericksburg. 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. He was one of seven soldiers of the 19th Regiment to receive the Medal of Honor during the war.
Later, promoted to Captain, Adams commanded Company I at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, where he was severely wounded on July 2, 1863. After a brief convalescence, he returned and fought at The Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and 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. When he was moved to Columbia, he and a comrade attempted to escape, but were captured. He was a prisoner of war for nine months.
After the war, Adams was a foreman for ten years at B.F. Doak & Company shoe factory in Lynn, Massachusetts. He left that job 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 forty and earning a salary of $3,000 per year.
Adams was a Freemason and member of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). In 1899 he published a memoir of his war service entitled Reminiscences of the Nineteenth Massachusetts Regiment.
He died on October 19, 1900 and buried in Pine Grove Cemetery, Lynn, Massachusetts.
His Medal of Honor Citation reads:
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.
Reeanactment video of the Battle of Fredericksburg ...

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