Joseph Haydn Potter

Joseph Haydn Potter, a career officer for nearly half a century, was born October 12, 1822, in Concord, New Hampshire. He was appointed to West Point, where he was ranked immediately below U. S. Grant in the graduating class of 1843. Potter was wounded during the Mexican War at the battle of Monterey in 1846, meanwhile winning a brevet for gallantry. Subsequently he was employed on recruiting service and garrison duty until he accompanied his regiment, the 7th Infantry, on the Utah expedition. At the beginning of the Civil War he was stationed in New Mexico and was involved, although innocently, in the disgraceful surrender of Regulars at San Augustine Pass on July 27, 1861.  After his exchange a year later, he was appointed colonel of the 12th New Hampshire Infantry. At the battle of Fredericksburg in December, 1862, Potter's regiment was unattached and sustained nominal losses; however, at Chancellorsville, his command in Whipple's division of Sickles' corps lost heavily and Potter himself was again wounded and captured and not formally exchanged until autumn. The following year Potter served as assistant provost marshal general of Ohio until, in September, he was assigned to the command of a brigade of the XVIII Corps, Army of the James, on the Bermuda Hundred line. Soon after, he was given a brigade of the XXIV Corps, which he commanded until January, 1865, when he became chief of staff of the corps; he remained in this capacity until the end of the war. Potter had been promoted major in the regular service in 1863, and he was rewarded with the full commission of brigadier general of volunteers on May 1, 1865, and the brevet of brigadier general, U. S. Army, to rank from March 13, 1865. For the next twenty-five years General Potter, a veteran of many Indian outposts, served on the western frontier as lieutenant colonel of the 30th Infantry and 4th Infantry and as colonel of the 24th Infantry. He was also governor of the Washington Soldiers' Home for four years. On April 1, 1886, he was promoted to brigadier general in the Regular Army, a rare distinction in that era, and the following October 12 was retired for age. General Potter died in Columbus, Ohio, December 1, 1892, and was buried there in Greenlawn Cemetery.

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