Edward Elmer Potter

Edward Elmer Potter was born in New York City on June 21, 1823. He was educated in the local schools, was graduated from Columbia in 1842, and then studied law. After a trip to California he returned to New York and turned his attention to farming. On February 3, 1862, he was commissioned a captain in the commissary department and accompanied Ambrose E. Burnside's expedition to the Carolina coast as chief commissary of John G. Foster's brigade. In May, 1862, Burnside authorized Potter to recruit the 1st North Carolina (Union) Infantry from disaffected citizens living in and about Washington, North Carolina, and appointed him acting colonel. He subsequently was confirmed as lieutenant colonel of the regiment and on December 24, 1862, was appointed brigadier general of volunteers, ranking from November 29. He served under Foster during the balance of the war, sometimes as post and district commander but primarily as the latter's chief of staff. When Foster, now a major general, was assigned to the command of the Department of the Ohio in December, 1863, Potter accompanied him to the Western theater. When John M. Schofield superseded Foster in command of the department in February, 1864, due to an injury to the latter, Potter remained on inspection duty until he was transferred to the Charleston area to take part in the siege. Thereafter General Potter occupied various regional commands in the Department of the South, again under General Foster. At this time operations in the department consisted principally of establishing and maintaining liaison with W. T. Sherman's advancing legions and harassing the retreating Confederates, whose ultimate destination would be their place of parole at Greensboro, North Carolina. Potter was brevetted major general to rank from March 13, 1865, in the omnibus promotions which marked the war's end, and on July 24, 1865, resigned his commission. He then alternated his residence between New York City and Madison, New Jersey. Having never married, he died of pneumonia alone in a boarding house on 21st Street, New York City, on June 1, 1889, and was buried in Marble Cemetery, at 2nd Avenue and 2nd Street on the lower end of Manhattan.

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Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.