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James L. Bates
Born August 11, 1820
Weymouth, Massachusetts
Died November 11, 1875
Weymouth, Massachusetts
Allegiance United States United States of America
Service/branch United States United States Army
Flag of the United States of America (1863-1865).svg Union Army
Years of service 1861–1864
Rank Union Army colonel rank insignia.png Colonel
Union Army brigadier general rank insignia.svg Brevet Brigadier General
Commands held 12th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry
2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, V Corps
Battles/wars American Civil War

James Lawrence Bates (August 11, 1820–November 11, 1875) was a colonel in the Union Army during the American Civil War who was awarded the honorary grade of brevet brigadier general after the war. He was born in Weymouth, Massachusetts and, in civilian life, was a merchant in the leather trade.

Civil War

On June 26, 1861, Bates was commissioned captain of Company H, 12th Massachusetts. He was promoted to major on August 6, 1862 and transferred to the 33rd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. His old regiment, the 12th Massachusetts, suffered terrible casualties during the Battle of Antietam, including the loss of its colonel, Fletcher Webster. Bates was therefore promoted to colonel on September 19, 1862 and placed in command of the 12th Massachusetts to replace Webster. While commanding the 12th, Bates was wounded during the Battle of Gettysburg.

During May and June 1864, Bates commanded the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division of the V Corps. In this capacity, after the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, Bates intercepted intelligence which ultimately affected the movement of the Army of the Potomac during the Overland Campaign for which he received the thanks of Lt. Gen. Ulysses Grant.

Bates was mustered out on July 8, 1864 in Boston, Massachusetts. After the war, in 1868, Congress awarded him the honorary grade of brevet brigadier general for "gallant and meritorious service."

Post war

Bates served as commander of the Department of Massachusetts of the Grand Army of the Republic, a fraternal organization for veterans of the Union Army.

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