John W. Ames was a Union soldier during the Civil War and Colonel of the 6th U.S. Colored Troops. (All officers were white.) He also temporarily commanded Draper's brigade of the 5th, 36th, and 38th U.S. Colored troops when Draper was wounded and also commanded Samuel A. Duncan's men when he was a casualty. During the attack on Fort Harrison, disgusted to see another officer cowering behind the barricades, Ames jumped up on the breastworks, ignoring the shells and bullets, and ran back and forth in front of his men in a successful attempt to put heart into them.