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Greensborough Patriot

Greensborough Patriot

November 6, 1862

Page 1


                                                         For the Patriot

                                                Captain William Adams

            “Don’t give up the ship,” has long been a motto for the brave.  These noble words were spoken by a dying hero, while his shattered ship was staggering before the tempest of battle.  They have added glory to a nation’s history, and rendered the name of Lawrence immortal.

            As noble words were spoken by a dying young Captain on the bloody field of Sharpsburg.  When the conflict was raging, and the issue was doubtful, an order was given to charge the lines and batteries of the enemy.  Promptly and nobly was the order executed.  Capt. William Adams and his Guilford Grays were in that terrific charge, when he received his death-wound.  When he fell, some of his gallant comrades wished to bear him from the field.  The last utterance of his noble spirit was, “Leave me and fight on.  A nation’s fame and a people’s gratitude should not allow the names, the words and the deeds of our heroes to die.

            There is no greater evidence of the intelligence, sensibility, and high civilization of the ancient Greeks than the respect they paid to the memory of those who died for their country.  They seemed to think that the blood of the brave made their land more holy, and they rekindled the fires of their patriotism at the funeral-pyres of their heroes.  Their valour, patriotism and genius has made immortal in history and song the ancient land of Freedom, and left us many examples worthy of imitation, and many lessons of the highest wisdom.

            This revolution has produced numberless examples of a devotion to country, and a sublime moral and physical courage, which have never been equalled in the annals of history, and our people will be shamefully recreant to a sacred duty, if they honor not our noble dead.

            Capt. William Adams was the son of Peter and Sarah Adams, and was born in Greensborough, N. C., on the 18th of February, 1836.  The affectionate liberality of his worthy father gave him the advantages of a good education, and he never forgot the moral teachings of his patriotic and Christian mother.  His love for his mother was the strongest feeling of his life.  His ardent and sometimes fiery nature could always be subdued to gentleness by that voice which sang the cradle-songs of his childhood.  His impulsive temperament never made him unjust or ungenerous, and in his heart malice had no hiding place.  His sprightly and cheerful disposition was the charm of the social circle.  He always looked on the bright side of the pictures of life and they were “things of beauty” to him.  I am confident he never felt the sense of fear, and daily only called forth the energy and fervor of his pure heart.

            Capt. Adams graduated at University in June 185?.  He chose the profession of law, and was admitted to the bar in February, 1860.  With high intellect, and many noble virtues, he entered the stadium to contend for the prizes of life.  His ardent spirit was eager for the contest and the triumph, but he never reached the goal to which his young ambition pointed.

The proclamation, the cause of war and all our woes, was issued on the 15th of April, 1861; and on the 23rd, the Guilford Grays were on their way to Fort Macon.  A nobler band of boys never entered their country’s service, and William Adams was then their first Lieutenant.  For more than sixteen months he endured the toils and privations of army life. His affectionate heart was every day longing for home, but duty kept him in the camp.  He soon became Captain of his company, and his comrades say he was a brave and accomplished officer.  He promptly obeyed the orders of his superiors in command, and while he was firm in discipline, he was kind and generous to his men.

            He commanded his company at the battle of Newbern, and did all that courage could do, to prevent that disaster.  He was with his company in a reserved corps during the seven days battle before Richmond, and he went with the army in the expedition into Maryland.  He fought his last battle at Sharpsburg, and there at the post of duty and of danger, he offered up his life as a sacrifice to the freedom of the South.

            At Shepherdstown his sad and weary comrades laid him in a quiet grave, which they hallowed with the tears of affection.  He sleeps now on the confines of his country, by the banks of the beautiful Potomac, and the blue mountains of the land he loved, stand guard beside his tomb.  He could have no prouder resting place, for the noble river that rushes by, for more than sixty years, has flowed near the grave and sighed the dirge of Washington.

            --R. P. D.-- 


[Transcribed by Sharon Strout]

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