Oliver Edwards was born in Springfield Massachusetts, on January 30, 1835, and was graduated from high school there in 1852. Four years later he moved to Warsaw, Illinois, where he became a partner in a foundry. With the outbreak of the Civil War, Edwards returned to Massachusetts, where he was mustered into the army as first lieutenant and adjutant of the 10th Massachusetts Infantry. General Darius N. Couch selected him as his aide-de-camp and in this capacity Edwards rendered gallant service during the Peninsular campaign. On September 4, 1862, he was commissioned colonel of the 37th Massachusetts and with it took part in the campaigns of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg, in John Newton's division of the VI Corps. After duty in New York City quelling the draft riots, Edwards and his unit were returned to the Army of the Potomac. In the course of U. S. Grant's Overland campaign of 1864, Edwards was advanced to command of a brigade and at the battle of Spotsylvania Court House is said to have held the "Bloody Angle" for twenty-four continuous hours of fighting while in command of twenty-one Union regiments. He was with Philip Sheridan in the Shenandoah and was brevetted brigadier general of volunteers for gallantry at Spotsylvania and at the battle of Winchester. At this juncture Sheridan offered him the post of provost marshal general of the Middle Military Division, which he declined, preferring field command. In the final assault on the Petersburg lines in April, 1865, Edwards' brigade was in the forefront and he personally received the city's surrender. At Sayler's creek, on the road to Appomattox, Edwards captured Lieutenant General Richard S. Ew-ell, Major General Custis Lee, and an entire brigade of Confederates, for which he was brevetted major general to rank from April 5, 1865. On May 19, 1865, he received the full rank of brigadier general of volunteers. After the war, he served as postmaster of Warsaw for a time and then became superintendent of a manufacturing company in Northampton, Massachusetts, where he patented several inventions. About 1875 he returned to Warsaw which was his home for the rest of his life, except for two or three years spent in England. Three times mayor of Warsaw, he died there on April 28, 1904, and was buried in Oakland Cemetery.
Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.