Confederate Brigadier General John Adams was one of six Confederate officers killed November 30th 1864 during the Battle of Franklin.
John Adams was born July 1st 1825 in Nashville, Tennessee, the son of Irish immigrants. He received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point, and graduated in 1846 ranked 25th in the class. Adams’ first posting was under Captain Philip Kearny in the United States 1st Dragoons. He served in the Mexican American War, and was brevetted for action during the Battle of Santa Cruz de Rosales. After which he served mostly in the western frontier, reaching the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1853 when he served as the aide-de-camp for the Governor of Minnesota.
When Tennessee seceded in 1861 Adams resigned his commission and joined the Confederacy. He was commissioned Colonel in 1862 and in December of that year became Brigadier General taking command of the late Confederate Brigadier General Lloyd Tilghman’s Mississippi brigade. Adams’ service was entirely preformed in the Western Theater of the war.
When Confederate John Bell Hood broke off from Union General William T Sherman and the Atlanta Campaign, Adams’ brigade led the advance into Tennessee. During the Battle of Franklin on November 30th 1864 Adams was killed while at the head of his men. His death was described in June 1897 by an Indiana Colonel, who witnessed the action, “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.”
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