Brigadier General John Alexander Kress, USA
(1839 PA-1933 DC)
Original Member of the Missouri Commandery of MOLLUS


Photo Courtesy of Jefferson Barracks (taken July 1903)

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John Alexander Kress was born Nov. 04, 1839 on a farm in north-central Pennsylvania. In 1847 he accompanied his parents westward to Indiana Territory. Then in 1858 John received an offer of an appointment to West Point.

When the Civil War started, Kress resigned, in Oct, 1861, only a few months from graduation. A West Point classmate recommended Kress to General James S. Wadsworth of the New York Volunteers. Kress served as a 1st Lt. 25th NY Infy USV and Aide-de-Campe to Wadsworth from Oct. 31, 1861, to July 9, 1862. From July 9 to Nov. 1, 1862, Kress served as a Major with the 94th NY Infy USV and until Nov. 24, 1863, as Lt. Col. of the same regiment.

Lt. Col. Kress commanded the 94th NY Infy USV at the Battle of Fredricksburg Dec. 13, 1862. For his bravery and heroism in that battle, Kress was recommended to the President of the United States for bestowal of the Medal of Honor, by surviving every officer of the Regiment. In 1925, Kress was awarded a Citation, with a Silver Star for gallantry in action at the battle. Kress was also recommended for citations for action at the Battle of Gettysburg.

John Kress was commissioned a 2nd Lt. of Ordinance in the US Army on Nov. 24, 1863. There followed regular promotions to 1st Lt., July 16, 1864; Captain, June 23, 1874; Major, Jan. 3, 1887; Lt. Col. March 5, 1900; Colonel, Aug. 17, 1903; and Brigadier General, Aug. 16, 1903. General Kress was placed on the retired list Aug. 17, 1903, with over 40 years of service. For a number of years he was in charge of Jefferson Barracks. Kress continued to make his home in St. Louis after retirement. During his early retirement Kress served as Grand Marshall of the World's Fair in 1904. His son remembers his father rode a white horse at the head of the parade.

General Kress died July 3, 1933, at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, DC, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

John Alexander Kress, BGen USA, was elected a member of the MO Commandery of MOLLUS June 02, 1900, Insignia #12915. His son Clarence Cameron Kress, Capt. USN, was elected a hereditary member of the MO Commandery of MOLLUS February 01, 1918, Insignia #17845. Clarence's MOLLUS membership medal is on display at Jefferson Barracks.

Sources:
1) Minute Books of the MO Commandery of Mollus, Circular No.601, 01May1925
2) MOLLUS membership files
3) Photo and write up on Kress from Jefferson Barracks, with information provided by Captain Clarence Cameron Kress USN and by the General's autobiography. Material supplied by Companion Jack Grothe, #A104, MO Commandery of MOLLUS.

Copyright (c) 2000 Douglas Niermeyer, MO Commandery of the MOLLUS