The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Ames, Adelbert

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AMES, Adelbert, American soldier: b. Rockland, Me., 31 Oct. 1835. Graduating at West Point in 1861 he was assigned to the artillery and served through the Civil War with distinction; was wounded at Bull Run and brevetted for gallantry there; took part in nearly all the battles of the Peninsular campaign, in Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Antietam, Gettysburg and before Petersburg; was brevetted colonel, was brevetted major-general of volunteers for conduct at the capture of Fort Fisher and major-general in the regular army for general conduct in the war. From 1868 to 1876 he was in the thick of the “carpet-bag” troubles; upheld by United States troops, the negro vote and recent immigrants, and bitterly fought by the mass of the white inhabitants, Mississippi was among the last of the revolted States to accept Reconstruction or the War Amendments as fixed facts and the preponderant negro population made the race problem more acute there than anywhere else in the South. The elements at Ames' disposal were unfit to base even a decent civilized structure upon, and the State soon went into anarchy tempered by local vigilance committees. In 1873 he was elected governor of Mississippi. His governorship was charged with sacrificing the civilized interests of the State to the blacks, and on 7 December there was a sanguinary race riot at Vicksburg, followed by others throughout the State. Ames sent to Washington for more troops to maintain order, the white party countered with fresh charges, a congressional investigating committee was appointed and for two years the State had — like several Southern States through this period — a formal government perfectly powerless, and a real government consisting of the rough consensus of interest among the larger white landowners. The legislature which met in January 1874 impeached Ames and all his executive officers; the State administration was paralyzed; the national administration tired of upholding impossible local governments; and Ames finally agreed to resign if the impeachment were withdrawn. He at once removed to New York; later to Lowell, Mass. In the Spanish-American War he was a brigadier-general of volunteers.