John C. Bates

John Coalter Bates
General John C. Bates, official portrait by Cedric Baldwin Egeli
Born (1842-08-26)August 26, 1842
St. Charles County, Missouri
Died February 4, 1919(1919-02-04) (aged 76)
San Diego County, California
Buried Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1861–1906
Rank Lieutenant General
Commands held Chief of Staff of the United States Army
1st Division, Eighth Army Corps

American Civil War

Indian Wars
Spanish–American War
Philippine–American War
Relations Edward Bates (father)

John Coalter Bates (August 26, 1842 – February 4, 1919) was a United States Army officer who served as Chief of Staff of the United States Army from January to April 1906. Along with Arthur MacArthur, Jr., Bates was one of the last American Civil War veterans still on active duty in the United States military at the time of his retirement.

Early life and education

Bates was born in St. Charles County, Missouri to congressman and future Attorney General Edward Bates and Julia Davenport Coalter. He was educated at Washington University in St. Louis. He was commissioned a first lieutenant with the 11th Infantry Regiment and later became an aide to General George G. Meade, reaching the brevet rank of lieutenant colonel for gallant and meritorious service in operations resulting in the capture of Richmond and surrender of Lee's army in April 1865.

Military career

Bates later served on the Indian Frontier for many years (being promoted to major in 1882 and to lieutenant colonel in 1886), was made a colonel of the 2nd Infantry Regiment in 1892, and in May 1898 was promoted to brigadier general of an Independent Brigade consisting of the 3rd Infantry Regiment and 20th Infantry Regiment in the Spanish–American War and commanded a division of volunteers in the Philippines in the early stages of the Philippine–American War. He was military governor of Cienfuegos in 1899, went that year to the Philippines, where he conducted the negotiations with the Sultan of Sulu. From 1900–1901, he commanded the 1st Division, Eighth Army Corps, conducted operations against insurgents in southern Luzon, and then commanded that department.

Bates commanded a provisional division in maneuvers at Fort Riley and commanded the Departments of the Missouri and the Lakes from 1901–1904 and later the Northern Division for a year before serving as Chief of Staff of the United States Army from 15 January to 13 April 1906. During this time, he was promoted to Lieutenant general. He retired from active service in April 1906 having reached the mandatory retirement age of 64. He was the last Army Chief of Staff to have served in the American Civil War.

Later life and death

Bates was a member of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States and the Grand Army of the Republic. He died in San Diego, California on 4 February 1919.

Dates of rank

First lieutenant1 May 1861Regular Army
Captain1 May 1863Regular Army
Brevet major1 August 1864Regular Army
Brevet lieutenant colonel9 April 1865Regular Army
Major6 May 1882Regular Army
Lieutenant colonel19 October 1886Regular Army
Colonel25 April 1892Regular Army
Brigadier general4 May 1898Volunteers
Major general8 July 1898Volunteers
Brigadier general2 February 1901Regular Army
Major general15 July 1902Regular Army
Lieutenant general1 January 1906Regular Army


Military offices
Preceded by
Adna Chaffee
Chief of Staff of the United States Army
January – April 1906
Succeeded by
J. Franklin Bell
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