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J.C. Bates

J.C. Bates

Federal (USA)


John Coalter Bates

(1842 - 1919)

Home State: Missouri

Education: Washington University (St. Louis)

Command Billet: Company Commander

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 11th United States Infantry, First Battalion

Before Antietam

He was a student at Washington University at the start of the war and was commissioned First Lieutenant, 11th United States Infantry to date from 14 May 1861.

On the Campaign

He commanded Company E, 11th US Infantry on the Maryland Campaign.

The rest of the War

He was promoted to Captain on 1 May 1863, appointed to General George Meade's staff in June, and was with the General at Gettysburg and through to the end of the war. He was awarded brevets to Major 1 August 1864 for field service and to Lieutenant Colonel 9 April 1865 for operations around Richmond and to the surrender at Appomattox.

After the War

He remained in the Regular Army as Captain and transferred to the 20th US Infantry on 21 September 1866 at the Army reorganization. He was promoted to Major of the 5th US Infantry on 6 May 1882 and to Lieutenant Colonel of the 13th on 19 October 1886. He went back to the 20th Infantry on 10 December 1890 and was made Colonel of the 2nd US Infantry on 25 April 1892. During the Spanish-American War (1898-1901) he was Brigadier and Major General of Volunteers. He was appointed Brigadier General, USA on 2 February 1901 and Major General on 15 July 1902. He was made Army Chief of Staff and Lieutenant General in January 1906 and retired in April 1906.

He had been active in the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS) since 1887 and was elected Commander-in-Chief in October 1909.

References & notes

Military service dates from Heitman1. His command at Antietam from Reese.2 Personal details from his obituary in the New York Tribune of 6 February 1919. His gravesite is on Findagrave.

His father was Edward Bates (1793-1869), US Congressman and President Lincoln's first Attorney General. John was one of 17 children. He never married.

More on the Web

His formal portrait as Chief of Staff is online from the Museum of the US Army. An 1865 group portrait of General Meade and his staff, source of his picture here, is in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery.

For much more about his role in the Spanish-American War, see his bio sketch in Benjamin R. Beede's encyclopedic The War of 1898 and U.S. Interventions (1994) [via GoogleBooks].


08/26/1842; St. Charles County, MO


02/04/1919; San Diego, CA; burial in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA


1   Heitman, Francis Bernard, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army 1789-1903, 2 volumes, Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1903, Vol. 1, pg. 199  [AotW citation 21482]

2   Reese, Timothy J., Sykes' Regular Infantry Division, 1861-1864: A History of Regular United States Infantry Operations in the Civil War's Eastern Theater, Jefferson (NC): McFarland&Company, Inc., 1990  [AotW citation 21483]