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John G. B. Adams

John Gregory Bishop Adams, born October 6, 1841, in Groveland, MA, fought in several major battles after enlisting as a private in Major Ben Perley Poore’s Rifle Battalion, later part of the 19th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment.

He served in the Peninsula Campaign and at Antietam, and in the Battle of Fredericksburg, where he was one of 18 men who earned the Medal of Honor. Promoted to captain, Adams commanded Company I at Chancellorsville and at Gettysburg, where he was severely wounded. He returned after a short convalescence to fight at the Battle of the Wilderness, Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, and the Battle of Cold Harbor, where his entire regiment was captured.

Adams was held for a total of nine months in prisons in Richmond, VA, Macon, GA, and Charleston, SC. He and other officers were used as human shields on Morris Island, SC, to stop naval bombardment by the Union. He and a fellow prisoner escaped from a prison in Columbia, SC, but were recaptured. 

After the war, he worked for a Lynn, MA, shoe company for 10 years as a foreman and, later, as a customs inspector, postmaster and deputy warden.

In the 1868 presidential election, he was an elector for Massachusetts and, in 1885, was elected Sergeant at Arms for the Massachusetts legislature, where he managed a staff of 40 and earned $3,000 per year.

Adams was a member of Columbian Lodge in Boston, and the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). He was a delegate to the national GAR convention 12 times and elected Commander-in-Chief in 1893. He was president of the Association of the Survivors of Rebel Prisons for seven years and a member of the Massachusetts Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States.

His memoir of the war, Reminiscences of the Nineteenth Massachusetts Regiment, was published in 1899. He died in 1900 and is buried in Pine Grove Cemetery in Lynn, MA.

Citation: 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.