Amos Bradley was born in Dansville, New York, to a prominent family. His father owned a paper mill and served as mayor.
On July 17, 1861, Bradley enlisted in the Union Navy, serving as a landsman on the gunboat USS Varuna. The vessel was armed with eight-inch guns.
On April 24, 1862 the USS Varuna fought the Confederate steamer CSS Governor Moore (former Charles Morgan) and was rammed by it and by the CSS Stonewall Jackson. During the battle Landsman Amos Bradley was stationed at the wheel. He remained at the wheel despite heavy gunfire raking the deck. He continued his duties while the USS Varuna fell to the ramming and repeated shell damage. The ship continued to fight as it sank.
Landsman Bradley received the Medal of Honor for his valor at the attacks at Fort Jackson and Fort St. Philip, New Orleans, and at the battle with the confederate warships.
The Medal of Honor was awarded on April 3, 1863. He was discharged on September 12, 1864.
After the War
Following the Civil War, Bradley returned home to Dansville, New York, and became a farmer. By 1870 he had moved to Deer Lodge, Montana, and worked as a stage driver with a mining company there. He moved on to San Luis Obispo, California, still driving a stage. His wife Eliza died in San Luis Obispo in 1876. He remarried there in 1880 and they moved to Shasta, California, where he went to work with a mining company driving a company stage.
In 1883 he relocated to Spokane and continued working as a stage driver. Late in life he became a "capitalist." He lived in Spokane's Ross Parks district and died on June 9, 1894. Amos Bradley was buried in Greenwood Memorial Terrace Cemetery.
Honoring a Hero
In 2009, more than 100 years later, a Department of Veterans Affairs survey of Medal of Honor burial locations discovered that his grave lacked the appropriate gravestone. The department then placed a Medal of Honor gravestone at his grave.
Amos Bradley became the fourth Medal of Honor recognized burial in the Spokane area. Also in the Greenwood Memorial Terrace Cemetery are the graves of Platoon Sergeant Bruce Grandstaff (1934-1967) and Private First Class Joe Mann (1922-1944). Located in Spokane’s Fairmont Cemetery is Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sergeant Jesse Drowley (1919-1996).