Adalbert Ames MOH

b. 31/10/1835 Rockland, Maine. d. 13/04/1933 Ormond Beach, Florida.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 21/07/1861 Bull Run, Virginia.

Adalbert Ames MOH

Adelbert Ames was born in 1835 in the town of Rockland, located in Knox County, Maine. He was the son of a sea captain named Jesse Ames. Adelbert Ames also grew up to be a sailor, becoming a mate on a clipper ship, and also served briefly as a merchant seaman on his own father’s ship.

On July 1, 1856, he entered the United States Military Academy at West Point, and was still there when the American Civil War began in 1861.

Ames graduated from the United States Military Academy on May 6, 1861, standing fifth in his class of 45. On that same date he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the 2nd U.S. Artillery. Eight days later he was promoted to first lieutenant and was assigned to the 5th U.S. Artillery. During the First Battle of Bull Run that July, Ames was badly wounded in the right thigh but refused to leave his guns. He was brevetted to the rank of major on July 21 for his actions during Bull Run. In 1893 Ames would also receive the Medal of Honor for his performance there.

Returning to duty the following spring, Ames was part of the defenses of Washington, D.C. He then fought in the Peninsula Campaign, and saw action at the Battle of Yorktown from April 5 to May 4, the Battle of Gaines’ Mill on June 27, and the Battle of Malvern Hill that July. Ames was commended for his conduct at Malvern Hill by Col. Henry J. Hunt, chief of the artillery of the Army of the Potomac, and he received a brevet promotion to lieutenant colonel on July 1.

In 1868, Ames was appointed by Congress to be provisional Governor of Mississippi. His command soon extended to the Fourth Military District, which consisted of Mississippi and Arkansas. The Mississippi Legislature elected Ames to the U.S. Senate after the readmission of Mississippi to the Union; he served from February 24, 1870 to January 10, 1874, as a Republican. In Washington, Ames met and married Blanche Butler, daughter of his former commander, and now U.S. Representative, Benjamin Butler, on July 21, 1870. They had six children including Adelbert Ames Jr. and Butler Ames. As a Senator, Ames became a talented public speaker to the point where even some of his Democratic opponents acknowledged his ability

After leaving office, Ames settled briefly in Northfield, Minnesota, where he joined his father and brother in their flour-milling business. During his residence there, in September 1876, Jesse James and his gang of former Confederate guerrillas raided the town’s bank, largely because of Ames’s (and controversial Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler’s) investment in it, but their attempt to rob it ended in catastrophic failure. Ames next headed to New York City, then later settled in Tewksbury, Massachusetts as an executive in a flour mill, along with other business interests in the nearby city of Lowell.

In 1898, he was appointed brigadier general of volunteers in the Spanish–American War and fought in Cuba. During the battle of San Juan Hill the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Division suffered particularly high casualties with its brigade commander killed and the next two ranking regimental commanders wounded. General Ames was assigned to command the brigade during the Siege of Santiago. He was in command of the 1st Division at the time the V Corps was mustered out in New York.

Ames died in 1933 at the age of 97 in his winter home, located in Ormond Beach. At the time of his death, Ames was the last surviving full-rank general who had served in the Civil War.



Remained upon the field in command of a section of Griffin’s Battery, directing its fire after being severely wounded and refusing to leave the field until too weak to sit upon the caisson where he had been placed by men of his command.