Robert Brown Potter

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Robert Brown Potter
Robert Brown Potter
Born July 16, 1829 (1829-07-16)
Schenectady, New York
Died February 19, 1887 (1887-02-20) (aged 57)
Newport, Rhode Island
Place of burial Woodlawn Cemetery, The Bronx, New York
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Union Army
Rank Union Army major general rank insignia.svg Major General
Battles/wars American Civil War

Robert Brown Potter (July 16, 1829 – February 19, 1887) was a United States lawyer and a Union Army general in the American Civil War.

Early life[edit]

Potter was born in Schenectady, New York. His father was Alonzo Potter (1800–1865), American bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church of Pennsylvania. Potter served as an attorney in New York City prior to the outbreak of the Civil War.

Civil War[edit]

At the start of the Civil War, Potter enlisted as a private in the New York militia, was promoted to lieutenant, and then commissioned as a major on October 14, 1861. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel on November 1 of that year. He was wounded at the Battle of New Bern on March 14, 1862, while serving under Brig. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside. Potter commanded the 51st New York Volunteer Infantry in IX Corps at Second Bull Run. Promoted to the rank of colonel on September 10, he led the regiment at the Battle of Antietam. Potter was wounded at Antietam while participating in Burnside's attack on the Confederate right flank.

Potter was promoted to the rank of brigadier general on March 13, 1863. He led 2nd Division, IX Corps, in the Siege of Vicksburg. He next commanded IX Corps in the Knoxville Campaign. After serving on recruiting duty in New York state, he was assigned in 1864 command of the 2nd Division of IX Corps under Burnside. Potter led the division in the Overland Campaign and at the Siege of Petersburg. He was wounded in an assault on the Confederate works following the Battle of Fort Stedman, and he missed the closing campaigns of the war.

Upon his recovery he was given command of the Rhode Island and Connecticut district of the Department of the East.

Family and later life[edit]

General Potter was married on September 20, 1865, to Abby, daughter of John Austin Stevens, and on his wedding day was given his commission as full major general of volunteers.

He was honorably mustered out of the volunteer service, January 15, 1866, and was then for three years receiver of the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad. He moved to England in 1869, but returned to Rhode Island in 1873.

Potter died in Newport, Rhode Island. He was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York City.

Potter had at eight brothers and a sister:

See also[edit]


  • Eicher, John H., and Eicher, David J., Civil War High Commands, Stanford University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.
  • The Union Army; A History of Military Affairs in the Loyal States, 1861–65 — Records of the Regiments in the Union Army — Cyclopedia of Battles — Memoirs of Commanders and Soldiers, Federal Publishing Company (Madison, Wisconsin), 1908 (reprinted by Broadfoot Publishing, 1997).
  • Warner, Ezra J., Generals in Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders, Louisiana State University Press, 1964, ISBN 0-8071-0822-7.
  • Potter, Frank, The Alonzo Potter Family, The Rumford Press, 1923, (Concord, New Hampshire).
  • Potter, Charles Edward, Editor, Genealogies of the Potter Families and Their Descendants to the Present Generation with Historical and Biographical Sketches, Alfred Mudge and Sons (Boston, Massachusetts), 1888
  • Philip B.K.Potter, Nephew of the Late Bishop Potter Succumbs in Brussels, New York Times (New York, New York) Dec. 17, 1936

External links[edit]