C.S.A. Brig-Gen. John Adams,

I am Rosalie Adams Cox, and I’m the great-granddaughter of Gen. John Adams. For many years we’ve been working on our genealogy and I was fortunate to “meet” cousins through the South, a lot of good people.  We were born in Mansfield, OH and I now live in Shelby, OH  so we didn’t grow up with Southern traditions, and my Dad, Oliver Buel Adams, grandson of the General, didn’t talk much about the past.

Rose Cox


Adams’s Brigade
BG John Adams (k)
Col Robert Lowry

  • 6th Mississippi
  • 14th Mississippi
  • 15th Mississippi
  • 20th Mississippi
  • 23d Mississippi


Brigadier General John Adams, a gallant soldier was born at Nashville, July 1, 1825.  His father afterward located at Pulaski, and it was from that place that young Adams entered West Point as a cadet, where he was graduated in June, 1846.

On his graduation he was commissioned second lieutenant of the First Dragoons, then serving under Gen. Philip Kearny.  At Santa Cruz de Rosales, Mexico, March 16, 1848, he was brevetted first lieutenant for gallantry, and on October 9, 1851, he was commissioned first lieutenant.

In 1853 he acted as aide to the governor of Minnesota with the rank of lieutenant colonel of State forces, this position, however, not affecting his rank in the regular service.  He was promoted in his regiment to the rank of captain, November; 1856.

May 27, 1861, on the secession of his State, he resigned his commission in the United States army and tendered his services to the Southern Confederacy.  He was first made captain of cavalry and placed in command of the post at Memphis, whence he was ordered to western Kentucky and thence to Jackson, Miss.

In 1862 he was commissioned colonel, and on December 29th was promoted to brigadier-general.  On the death of Brig.-Gen. Lloyd Tilghman, May 16, 1863, Adams was placed by General Johnston in command of that officer’s brigade, comprising the Sixth, Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Twentieth, Twenty-third and Forty-third Mississippi regiments of infantry.

He was in Gen. J. E. Johnston’s campaign for the relief of Vicksburg, in the fighting around Jackson, Miss., and afterward served under Polk in that State and marched with that general from Meridian, Miss., to Demopolis, Ala., thence to Rome, GA, and forward to Resaca, where he joined the army of Tennessee.

He served with distinction in the various battles of the campaign from Dalton to Atlanta, he and his gallant brigade winning fresh laurels in the fierce battles around the “Gate City. ”  After the fall of Atlanta, when Hood set out from Palmetto for his march into north Georgia in the gallant effort to force Sherman to return northward, Adams’ brigade was much of the time in advance, doing splendid service, and at Dalton capturing many prisoners.

It was the fate of General Adams, as it was of his friend and classmate at West Point, Gen. Geo. E. Pickett, to reach the height of his fame leading his men in a brilliant and desperate, but unsuccessful, charge.  But he did not come off so well as Pickett; for in the terrific assault at Franklin, Adams lost his life.

Though wounded severely in his right arm near the shoulder early in the fight and urged to leave the fields he said: “No; I am going to see my men through.”  He fell on the enemy’s works, pierced with nine bullets.  His brigade lost on that day over 450 in killed and wounded, among them many field and line officers.

Lieut.-Col. Edward Adams Baker, of the Sixty-fifth Indiana infantry, who witnessed the death of General Adams at Franklin, obtained the address of Mrs. Adams many years after the war and wrote to her from Webb City, Mo.  This letter appeared in the Confederate Veteran of June, 1897, an excellent magazine of information on Confederate affairs, and is here quoted:

“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 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.”

The wife of General Adams was Miss Georgia McDougal, daughter of a distinguished surgeon of the United States army.  She was in every way worthy to be the wife of so gallant a man.  Though left a widow with four sons and two daughters, she reared them, under all the severe trials of that sad period, to be useful men and women.
Source:  Confederate Military History, vol. X, p. 285

This entry was posted in Adam's Brigade, Direct descendant, Franklin casualty, Killed at Franklin, Photo exists of soldier. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to C.S.A. Brig-Gen. John Adams,

  1. Lawrence Joseph Adams says:

    I am also a great grandson of Brig. Gen. John Adams. My father was your father’s youngest brother, Charles Thomas Adams. I knew his grandfather was a general of some kind since there was a picture of him in uniform at my grandmother’s (Ida Belle Kinsella Adams) house. After her death, I lost all contact until I was in college. My parents were divorced when I was small and didn’t see my father until I got in college and he attended some of my basketball games. My mother was Dorothy Green Adams. I am the only child. I didn’t know why my dad never saw me, but she later confided to me that her mother told my dad to stay away from me. My mother died last November at age 92, and I found some information about my dad’s family and some of his family letters as we cleaned out her home. I found Ann Gulbreson’s (sp?) web site about the Adams’ families and even visited the battle scene at Franklin, TN. I am very interested in knowing more about my family.

    I would like to hear from you and any other cousins I may have. I’m 72, live in Florissant, MO, and married to Nancy Gates Adams and have three children, Maureen Dorothy Adams Becker, Lawrence Michael Adams, and Mark John Adams. We have three grandsons and two grandaughters.

  2. Jeff Jones says:

    Mrs.cox i am very proud how you were able to trace your roots well done:)

  3. Pete Campbell says:

    My paternal grandfather was Fountain Buel Adams and his father was a Capt. John Adams according to by Aunt Ruth Baldwin (Fountain Buel Adams’ sister). I know very little except that Aunt Ruth said the family was related to President John Adams. There may be Tennessee, Arkansas and Oklahoma connections for the family. I am Fontaine Buel Campbell, Jr. My father had his name changed to Campbell in that his maternal grandmother, Julia Gardner Campbell from Paul’s Valley, Oklahoma raised him after his mother Elizabeth Campbell Adams died when my father was an infant. I do not know if there is a connection between some of my relatives and any of yours. It is interesting to note that Rosalie Cox Adams father was Oliver Buel Adams. I would love to hear from each of you. Thanks! Fontaine Buel (Pete) Campbell, Jr.

  4. Mike Cowles says:

    I am the great grandson x 3 of General Adams. My grandmother was Mary Adams daughter of Francis Edward Adams and Patsy Cooper Adams. She was born at Hazelwood Farm in Shelby County TN near Arlington and our family is the second oldest family from that community and I was the 5th generation to farm Hazelwood. She later married James R. Cowles of Oklahoma and died in Tulsa a few years back. She and my great aunts use to talk about General Adams when I was growing up and as I got older they said I resembled his likeness. That is when I got interested in him and actually joined our local SCV camp because of him.

  5. William Hays Adams says:

    My name is william H. Adams from Columbia, SC. My father was Thomas Patton Adams. His father was John Crockett Adams and his father (my ggrandfather) was also named Thos. Patton Adams who was the brother of Brig. Gen. John Adams.

    • Mrs. John S. White (Monica K. White) says:

      Hello William, my name is Monica White. I’m married to John Sterling White of Haywood County, Tennessee. John’s maternal great-grandmother was an Adams. John and I actually met your father, Patton Adams, more than 30 years ago at a football game in Atlanta. We were all there to watch another Adams “cousin” Erik Kramer quarterback for North Carolina State in the Peach Bowl. Hope all of you are doing well! We keep up with Erik but lost touch with your father. We recently moved home to Tennessee and live in Nashville. The Battle of Franklin Trust has an article re Brigadier General John Adams in their 2017 Summer edition of the Battlefield Dispatch. There’s a picture of the Adams reunion from 2014 and I’m sure your Dad was instrumental in getting the family together. We would have loved to have been there! Please let your Dad know we wish him well and would enjoy getting back in touch with him. All the Best to you all, Monica and John White

      • William Hays Adams says:

        Hi Monica,
        Very good to hear from you. I remember the Peach Bowl game in Atlanta betweem NC State and West Va. Eric Kramer was the quarterback for NC State. I am Thos. Patton Adams’ brother, though, not his father. Both his family and my family attended the descendants reunion in Franklin three years ago. Patton was indeed instrumental in organizing the reunion. My wife, Jenny was there along with our son, William Hays Adams and our daughter, Lucy’s family.
        Our great grandfather was Gen Adams’ brother. Our Great Greatfather was Major Thomas Patton Adams and served as his brother’s adjutant. My brother Patton and I live in Columbia, SC and are doing well.

        The Adams connection spreads far and wide surrounding the general. Hope your family is doing well.

  6. Scott Bell says:

    The 43rd Missisippi served in Adams Brigade

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