The Biographical Dictionary of America/Adams, Charles Francis (soldier)

ADAMS, Charles Francis, soldier, was born in Boston, May 27, 1835, second son of Charles Francis and Abigail (Brooks) Adams. He was graduated from Harvard college in the class of 1856, and then studied law in the office of Richard H. Dana, Jr., and was admitted to the bar in 1858. On the breaking out of the civil war, in 1861, he obtained a commission as first lieutenant in the 1st Massachusetts Cavalry, and afterwards served in that regiment in South Carolina and Virginia, obtaining the rank of captain in 1862. He served as chief of squadron through the Gettysburg campaign and in the advance of Gen. Grant upon Richmond in 1864. In the autumn of that year he was transferred to the 5th Massachusetts Cavalry (colored) as lieutenant-colonel. He remained with that regiment at Point Lookout, Md., until January, 1865, when he was ordered home because of his failing health. While at home he was offered the position of assistant inspector-general on the staff of Maj.-Gen. A. A. Humphreys, then assuming command of the Second army corps, but declined the appointment, as at the same time he was promoted to the colonelcy of the 5th Massachusetts cavalry and considered himself under an obligation to remain with his regiment. He entered Richmond at its head, and in command of an independent detachment, on April 9, 1865, but shortly afterwards resigned, his health being wholly broken down. He was mustered out of service in July, 1865, receiving subsequently the brevet of brigadier-general. In November, 1865, he married Mary Hone, daughter of Edward and Caroline Callender Ogden, of Newport, R. I. In 1869 he was appointed a member of the board of railroad commissioners of Massachusetts, and served upon it, by successive re-appointments, until 1879 — seven years as chairman of the board — when he declined further service. In 1879 he was selected as a member of the board of arbitration of the Trunk Line railroad organization, and served as either chairman of the board or as sole arbitrator until June, 1884, when he was made president of the Union Pacific railway, of which he had in 1877 been a government director. He held this position until 1890. In 1892 he was appointed a member, and served as chairman of the advisory commission which planned the Massachusetts metropolitan park system; and a year later was appointed on the permanent commission which carried that system into effect. He was chairman of the board until his resignation in June, 1895. He was chosen to the board of overseers of Harvard college in 1882, and served until 1894, being re-elected to that office in 1895. He has contributed largely to periodical literature through the North American Review, the Forum, and the Nation. In 1883 he delivered the Phi Beta Kappa oration at Cambridge. In conjunction with his brother, Henry Adams, he, in 1871, published "Chapters of Erie, and other Essays." In 1871 he published "Railroads: their Origin and Problems," and in 1879 "Notes on Railroad Accidents." In 1890 he published a biography of "Richard Henry Dana;" in 1892, "Three Episodes of Massachusetts History," and in 1893, "Massachusetts; its Historians and its History," "Life of Charles Francis Adams" (1900); "A College Fetich" (1873) and "Lee at Appomattox and Other Papers" (1902). He became vice-president of the Massachusetts Historical society in 1890 and president in 1895; received the degree LL.D. from Harvard in 1895, and represented the public on the board of arbitration in the industrial department of the National Civic Confederation in New York city, Dec. 17, 1901.