Sons of Men - Evansville's War Record
Gold Star Biographies
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|Cpl. Mason Potts
Co. K, 4th Infantry, 3rd Division
March 9, 1896 - July 2, 1918
Many heroic deaths in facing the enemy have been described. The death of Mason Potts is not only excruciating in detail, but is among the most heroic because alone he dared face an overwhelming number of the foe, knowing well that is would mean his death. Sergeant George D. Carter, who witnessed Corporal Pott's self-sacrifice, wrote to his sister the following description of Pott's heroism and death: "Now in the beginning of my company, a Pontoon Bridge outfit, was ordered on this front that your brother lost his life on the 23rd of June, and we were possibly seven day reaching La Fere, France. On the morning of July 1st, we started to hike to Chateau-Thierry, a distance of forty-two mile. -- The Platoon of which I was in command, got in readiness to put a platoon's energy in constructing a bridge across the Marne River. We went through the middle of the town, and just before we reached the street that led across the main bridge, we turned to the right. To tell you the truth I never had Germans in my mind, but just as soon as we reached the river I looked up and coming down the hill on the other side of the river coming towards the Chateau-Thierry, there were thousands of them. The bridge across this river, which had been there perhaps hundreds of years, was not used by either side because of a terrible artillery duel from both sides centered on this bridge and it was useless to attempt a crossing. "I did not know, but I had a strong idea that there was a big bunch of infantry near this bridge and I was not worrying. When the Germans were possibly half way across, one poor little American doughboy went out to battle this multitude of Germans, and they were coming just as though they were on dress parade. My buddy and myself watched him reload an automatic pistol three different times, and counting the ten shells he had in the gun. Before he began to reload he must have fired forty shots. He was shooting with his left hand and throwing grenades with his right. He was going, and the Germans coming until they met. He dropped his pistol to his side, I suppose because he was out of ammunition, and started reaching in his pocket with his left hand and throwing grenades with his right. When they met he was stabbed thirteen times with bayonets, a grenade was still in his hand, and the band that holds the lever had already been knocked off. I suppose the pain while he was being stabbed caused him to flinch and the grenade went off in his hand. "He and about six Germans went overboard and the following day he was pulled out of the Marne River almost in the exact spot where he fell, and was towed behind one of our boats about one-fourth of a mile down the river. When we pulled him ashore I ran my hand down his collar and looked at his identification tags and read his name, Mason Potts, Corporal Co. K, 4th U.S. Infantry, 3d Division, and the name remained in my mind until I wrote the War Department to find out his next of kin. Doubtless if it had not been for the fact that I too lost a brother in this war, in all probabilities I would not have written you to tell you that he was buried. The only thing that I could tell you that he had on his person when he was buried, was the revolver and two grenades in his right hip pocket. They will never in this world locate his body, and there was no stick or anything to mark his grave. If it had not been for the fact that we saw him put up a good fight he probably would have been in the river yet, because they were floating there by the thousands." This hero was born in Bordley, Ky., March 9, 1896. His education was continued in Evansville High School until the third year. He enlisted in the army, October 31, 1912 and served for three years in the Philippine Islands. On September 19, 1914, he re-enlisted and was assigned as Corporal in Co. K., 4th U.S. Infantry at Camp Stewart. In April, 1918, he sailed for France from Newport News, Va. He was sent immediately to the front. His death in the battle of Chateau-Thierry, occurred on July 2, 1918. _____ Sons of Men: Evansville's War Record, Compiled by Heiman Blatt, Published by Abe P. Madison, 1920 pp154-155.
October 25, 1998