Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Ames, Adelbert

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AMES, Adelbert, soldier, b. in Rockland, Me., 31 Oct., 1835. He was graduated at West Point in 1861, and assigned to the 5th artillery. He was wounded at the battle of Bull Run and brevetted for gallantry in that action, and was present at the siege of Yorktown, and the battles of Gaines's Mills, Malvern Hill, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Antietam, and Gettysburg, besides many of the minor engagements in Virginia throughout the civil war. He was brevetted colonel for gallantry, and commanded a brigade, and at times a division in the army of the Potomac, and in the operation before Petersburg in 1864. He was brevetted major-general of volunteers for his conduct at the capture of Fort Fisher, 13 March, 1865, and brevetted major-general, U. S. army, for “gallant and meritorious conduct in the field during the rebellion,” and on 30 April, 1866, mustered out of the volunteer service. On 28 July, 1866, he was promoted to the full rank of lieutenant-colonel, 24th infantry. On 15 July, 1868, he was appointed provisional governor of Mississippi, under acts of congress providing for such temporary government, and on 17 March, 1869, his command extended to include the 4th military district. The lately insurrectionary states were at the time divided into five such districts, each with a general officer in command, and a military force at his disposal. Mississippi was among the last of the states to comply with the conditions of reconstruction, and in the interval the community drifted into a state bordering upon anarchy, the provisional governor at times interfering in the interest of order. Under his direction an election was held 30 Nov., 1869, and on 11 Jan., 1870, the legislature was convened by his direction. Gen. Ames was elected U. S. senator for the unexpired term from 4 March, 1869. In 1873 he was chosen governor of Mississippi by a popular vote, and resigned his seat in the senate. His administration was so repugnant to the democrats — or, in other words, to the white population — that between them and the republicans, mostly blacks, a feeling of hostility arose, so bitter that it culminated in a serious riot in Vicksburg, 7 Dec., 1873, and this was followed by atrocities all over the state, consisting for the most part in the punishment, often in the murder, of obnoxious republicans, white and black. The civil officers were unable to enforce the laws, and Gov. Ames appealed to the general government for aid. Upon this, despatches of the most contradictory character were forwarded to Washington by the opposing parties, and, pending an investigation by congress, affairs were in a deplorable state of disorganization. An election held in November resulted in a general defeat of the republicans, both branches of the legislature becoming distinctly democratic. Gov. Ames held that this election was largely carried by intimidation and fraud, and vainly sought to secure congressional interference. Soon after the legislature convened in January, 1876, articles of impeachment were prepared against all the executive officers, and, pending the trials, the machinery of state government was nearly at a standstill. Gov. Ames, seeing that conviction was inevitable, offered through his counsel to resign, provided the articles of impeachment were withdrawn. This was done, and he resigned at once and settled in Minnesota. Later he removed to Lowell, Mass.