Oliver Edwards Biography

Oliver Edwards (January 30, 1835 – April 28, 1904) was a machine company executive, an inventor, and a volunteer officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

Raised in Springfield, Massachusetts, Edwards moved to Illinois as a young man to pursue a career as a manager of manufacturing. At the start of the Civil War, he became adjutant of the 10th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry and later aide-de-camp to Brigadier General Darius N. Couch. In the fall of 1862, he took command of the 37th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry as colonel and led that unit through numerous major battles including the Battle of Gettysburg. Just after Gettysburg, in July 1863, he was placed in command of a provisional brigade sent to assist in quelling the New York Draft Riots. During the Overland Campaign in the spring of 1864, he was placed in command of a brigade and, during the Valley Campaigns of 1864 he was briefly placed in command of a division of the VI Corps. For his service during these campaigns, Edwards was awarded the honorary rank of brevet brigadier general and later promoted to full grade brigadier general United States Volunteers. In 1866 he was awarded the honorary rank of brevet major general, United States Volunteers, to rank from April 5, 1865, for his service during the Appomattox Campaign.

After the war, Edwards returned to a career in manufacturing, most notably as manager of the Florence Machine Company in Northampton, Massachusetts and the Gardner Machine and Gun Company in England.