L. H.& M. R. Potts
Footnotes (Continued)



Gen. A.J. Smith was in command of the next expedition from Memphis. He skirmished hotly from the outset, and on the fourteenth of July, at Tupelo, fought a battle. His number was twelve thousand. Forrest, with fourteen thousand, made three unsuccessful assaults, and after a combat of three hours, retired, leaving on the field more dead and wounded than Smith lost in killed, wounded and missing. After a short delay, during which his cavalry skirmished sharply, Smith started back to Memphis. On Old Town Creek, the enemy sharply attacked his rear, but was driven off.

The Historian of the 122nd Illinois Infantry, also a part of the brigade, wrote of the battle, reprinted in ADJUTANT GENERAL REPORT, p. 393:

On the 14th of July, about 9 o'clock A.M., the enemy, under Gen. S.D. Lee, came forward in fine style and attacked Gen. Smith's command posted in the rear of a crest of a ridge fronted by an open field, across which the rebels had to come. The One Hundred and Twenty-second was stationed with its right just covering the road leading into Tupelo. As the enemy advanced across the open plain, covered by a heavy artillery fire, the One Hundred and Twenty-second and the rest of the Brigade moved forward from the opposite side, and met the enemy just at the crest of the ridge, and opened a destructive fire upon them with such effect that their ranks were shattered and the whole force driven back with heavy loss in men and officers. Three times the assault was repeated and repulsed with equally disastrous results to the rebel force. At about 2 P. M., the enemy discomfited, withdrew, leaving the Union forces masters of the field, and in possession of the rebel dead.


Henry's cousin, John Hunt Potts, son of Kirkbride Potts of Arkansas, would later marry Lucy Jane Williamson. Lucy's brother, Benjamin F., was flag bearer for C.S.A. Gen. Price during the war.


It was C.S.A. Gen. Price who tied up Federal reinforcements coming to the aid of Banks from Arkansas during the Red River Campaign. Price was assigned by C.S.A. Gen. Kirby Smith to attack the reinforcements under Gen. Steele in Arkansas. Steele was to meet Banks on the Red below Shreveport but never made it by reason of Price's activity.


News of the march reached home by unit members on furlough or sent home due to sickness or wounds. Uncle George Potts was furloughed during this period. The Schuyler Citizen, Vol. IX, No. 2, 08/24/1864, p. 3, Col. 2 reported:

K Orderly Sergeant, George Potts and Lucien W. Sloat, of Co. C, 119th Ill. Vols., arrived home on thirty days furlough, Saturday last. They report quite a number of boys in the convalescent camp, at Memphis, but none of them very sick. The balance have gone out East (it is supposed after Forrest,) with sixteen days rations. All our returned boys, who were in the Red River expedition, speak of it as a most terrible affair.

News also certainly reached home from other furloughed men. The Schuyler Citizen, Vol. IX, No. 3, 07/20/1864, p. 3, Col. 2 (John Banormer, Co. C., 119th, home on furlough in poor health, Thomas DeMoss, Co. B, 119th, home on furlough); The Schuyler Citizen, Vol. IX, No. 2, 08/24/1864, p. 3, Col. 2 (Fred Nell, Co. B., 119th, home on furlough); The Schuyler Citizen, Vol. IX, No. 8, 08/24/1864, p. 3, Col. 2 (Samuel Grafton, Co. C., home on leave due to leg wound)

Rushville Times, __________, 1864, contained the following letter from the 119th:

From the 119th Reg., Ill. Vol.


Cairo, Ill., Sept 8, 1864

Editor Citizen: We venture the assertion that during the past seven months no regiment in the service has been subjected to more active or severe service than the 119th Illinois.

The grand raid to Meridian, Miss., under Major Gen. Sherman; the famous Red River Banks' expedition; and recently, two separate expeditions in command of Gen. A. J. Smith, have necessarily incurred hardships known only to those who have gained their knowledge by experience. We have traveled the distance of about three thousand miles, of which nearly one thousand were made on foot.

In the last two expeditions particular attention was paid to the rebel Gen. Forrest, who, with a considerable cavalry force, has roamed to and fro in the West Tennessee for two years past. Since the chastisement inflicted upon him by Gen. Smith, Forrest is sharp enough to keep at a respectable distance from this detachment of the 16th Army Corps.

Our friends at home will perhaps be a little surprised to find a communication from the 119th dated at Cairo, Illinois.

On the 5th instant this 3d Division began to move, and as fast as boats could be procured embarked and proceeded up the river. On the 6th the 119th bid adieu to Memphis. To-day we find ourselves at Cairo awaiting further orders.

The direction in which we have started is no index to our future movement. But under command of such officers as Maj. Gen. Smith and Col. T. J. Kinney we are ready for any emergency, and would say to the southern chivalry who may happen to be posted on our route, that they had better emigrate wilst they have the opportunity. We mean no disparagement to other officers in this command by special mention of the above.

Our regiment now numbers in the aggregate 656. The number reported present 428. Seventy-one are absent with leave. One hundred and six are absent sick. The rest on detached service, &c. Of the present only thirty four are reported with _____________ _______________________________________________________________________ Under the kind treatment of our surgeons, Wood and Byrns, to get sick is only to enjoy a little rest.

The following resignations have lately occurred: Maj. Wm. H. Watson, Capt. Wm. N. Mumford, of co. E, Capt. Jos. Hambaugh, of co. D, and Capt. Calvin Johnson, of co. K.

The men and officers of the regiment generally look healthy and in good spirits.

Refreshing showers and breezes from the direction of our homes, and the prospect of a shower of greenbacks at this place, all have a cheering effect, especially the latter.

Yours Truly,            H.E.W.

Similarly, Rushville Times, __________, 1864, contained the following letter from the 119th:

From the 119th Reg., Ill. Vol.


In the Field, Oct. 6, 1864

Editor Citizen: We are now on the Pacific Railroad, five miles beyond Franklin from which place diverges the South-West branch to Rolls. Whither drifting, deponent saith not. We are in moving order - that is, have nothing along except as one is able to "take up and walk." Trying to intercept, overhaul, entrap, deceive or otherwise catch up and give "Pap Price" his deserts.

Boys all well except Norton and Hensley.

Hastily                                                                co. "B"


Correspondence of Ill. Gov. Richard Yates to Pres. Abraham Lincoln, 11/01/1864, reprinted in OFFICIAL REPORTS, Ser. 3, Vol. IV, pp. 871-2:

November 1, 1864 - 5:02 p.m.
(Received 8.30 p.m.)


President of the United Sates, Washington, D. C.:

On the 28th of October Secretary of War ordered Gen. Rosecrans to furlough until November 10 the following troops, to enable them to vote: The Forty-ninth, One hundred and seventeenth, One hundred and nineteenth, and Fifty eighth Regiments Illinois Volunteers, and at the same time authorize General Thomas, Nashville, Tenn., and Brevet Major-Gen. Burbridge, Louisville, Ky., and General Washburn or commanding general at Memphis, Tenn., to furlough until November 10 next, and send home any troops that could be spared from their commands between that date, October 28 and November 5. On the 30th of October I received telegraphic notice from T.M. Vincent, assistant adjutant-general, that the order to Rosecrans had been revoked because the Forty-ninth, One hundred and seventeenth, One hundred and nineteenth, and Fifty eighth Regiments were with General Smith, on the Kansas border, in pursuit of Price. I have now ascertained that the regiments last designated are not in pursuit of Price, but ordered with General Smith's command to re-enforce General Thomas at Nashville, against Beauregard, who is reported to have crossed the Tennessee River at Florence. Now, this threatened advance of Beauregard will probably deter Thomas and Burbridge from sending a singly regiment home, and the order to send Smith's division, embracing said Illinois regiments, is likely, if executed, to prevent us from having any regiments home to vote. I ask in all candor whether it is not better to allow the Forty-ninth, One hundred and seventeenth, One hundred and fourteenth, One hundred and nineteenth, and Fifty eighth Regiments, now moving back here, to stop in Illinois to vote. It need not detain them longer than four days, and the necessity for electing a loyal State senate is absolute, an increase of three members of Congress, viz: Jehu Baker, defeating Morrision; Brownwell, Eden and Cullom, defeating Stuart, depends on these regiments; and the Presidential and State tickets need that aid to guarantee success. Defeat in Illinois is worse than defeat in the field, and I do hope you will immediately order that these regiments may be allowed to remain and vote, on the route to Tennessee. Please answer at Springfield soon as possibly convenient.

This dispatch to be delivered to Mr. Lincoln only.

The next day by Thomas M. Vincent responded that no action could be determined until return of Gen. Smith's command to St. Louis. Corres. Of Thomas M. Vincent to Gov. Richard Yates, 11/02/1864, OFFICIAL REPORTS, Ser. 3, Vol. IV, p. 872.


The 119th was returned to the Second Division, Army of the Tennessee, Gen. George Thomas, commanding.

Rushville Times, ________, 1864:

From the 119th Ill. Vol.


In the Field, Oct. 6, 1864

Editor Citizen: We are now on the Pacific Railroad, five miles beyond Franklin from which place diverges the South-West branch to Rolls. Whither drifting, deponent saith not. We are in marching order - that is, have nothing along except as one is able to "take it up and walk." Trying to intercept, overhaul, entrap, deceive or otherwise catch up and give "Pap Price" his deserts.

Boys all well except Norton and Hensley.

Hastily                         co. "B"


Johnson was a career soldier, a 1838 West Point graduate. He had seen action in the east at Rich Mountain, Cheat Mountain, Greenbrier River, West River, Gettysburg and a great Southern victory he personally orchestrated at Camp Allegheny, from whence his nick-name derived. For a time Johnson headed the famous Confederate Stonewall Division, where he and his entire brigade were captured in May, 1864, in hand-to-hand combat at the Bloody Angle. Exchanged in late summer of 1864, he was given a divisional command in Hood's Army of the Tennessee.


The Schuyler Citizen, Vol. IX, No. 24, 12/14/1864, p. 2, Col. 4:

From the 119th Ill. Vol.

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Dec. 1st 1864

Editor Citizen: - No stenographer can write fast enough to keep up with the 119th when on the march, nor quick enough to make notes when we stop before we are off again. Fifteen miles per day is no trick, twenty miles is a moderate day's work, twenty-five, prepare us for a good supper; which we always have the pleasure of enjoying, (but we "can't see it") but thirty miles per day has knocked the boots, socks and a fundamental portion of the trousers off of many individuals in this command. You Editors may talk and write about "all depending on Grant and Sherman," but we insist upon throwing in Gen. A.J. Smith, at least by way of chicken feed. Please make a note. Last winter we started out on the "grand rounds," not having got quite around yet. We expect to complete the work this winter and then, three times three for Old Abe and the Union.

We arrived at this place on the night of the 29th ult., and marched out to camp last night, in rear of the city. We are not alone, and to one unsophisticated there would seem to be about half a million of troops in the vicinity. We don't think there is quite so many; but enough to make an impression. You and your readers know what we are here for, and having never failed to accomplish what we have undertaken heretofore we don't expect to this time. The Regiment is generally in good health, and eager for a fight or full rations, especially the later. More anon.

Hastily,                                H.E.W.



The reports of the 119th and its respective brigade and division commanders concerning the Battle of Nashville are reprinted in OFFICIAL REPORTS, Ser. 1, Vol. XLV, Part I, pp. 472-5 (Report of Brig. Gen. K. Gerard, Division Commander), pp. 475-7 (Report of Col. David Moore, Brigade Commander), & pp. 477-9 (Report of Col. Thomas J. Kinney, Commander, 119th Illinois Volunteers). These reports are drawn on extensively in the above text, and reprinted in Appendix A.


The 119th also brought in Col. Vorhies of the 48th Tennessee, as well as 6 pieces of artillery, 15 caissons and limbers, 16 wagons, 3 two horse wagons, and a number of prisoners that Col. Kinney could not account for as "they were sent to the rear as fast as taken." Report of Col. Thomas J. Kinney, Commander, 119th Illinois Volunteers, OFFICIAL REPORTS, Ser. 1, Vol. XLV, Part I, pp. 478, reprinted in Appendix A. The circumstances surrounding the capture of C.S.A. Maj. Gen. Johnson were described in Anon, "Last Shots in the Battle of Nashville," THE CONFEDERATE VETERAN, vol. VII (1899), p.154:

When the Confederate lines gave way all was confusion and disorder. The boys up and down the line stood up in the ditches, adjusted their accouterments, and prepared for the race before them. The officers urged the men to remain in the ditches and wait for orders to leave. If the orders were given, I never heard them. I could see our lines giving way on our left, and all at once the entire line jumped out of the ditches and started on a disorderly though rapid run for the Franklin Pike, a mile away. I could see the Yankee columns flanking us on our left, and we all realized that we should soon be captured unless we saved ourselves by flight. The ground was very muddy, and not a good race track, though we made very good time. The fall of Minnie balls, accompanied by shell and grapeshot, caused us to increase our speed. I passed our major general, Edward Johnston [sic], who was on foot. He had left his horse for safety, and had gone in the line. Being very corpulent and unaccustomed to running, he was soon far behind. I overtook the orderly with the general's horse, but he refused to take the horse back. One daring fellow offered to do so, but the orderly would not release the animal, and the General was captured. Just as I reached the Franklin Pike, at the foot of the mountain, someone with a battle flag waved it, crying: "Halt and rally round the flag, boys!" Soon there were several hundred of us formed in line across the pike, and we began firing at the bluecoats in the valley below. I don't think there were any officers present. It seemed to be a "private" affair, though "free for all." This voluntary attempt to rally did but little good, but it checked the rapidly advancing column for a few moments, and enabled many exhausted Confederates to escape. We fired a few rounds - the last shots fired, at the battle of Nashville - and when the enemy were getting uncomfortably close someone cried out: "It's no use, boys; let's give it up, or we will be captured," and all fell back in wild confusion. Night was soon on us and the road was fearfully muddy. We had no rations, and had gotten but little sleep for several nights. Tennesseans never had a more disagreeable night march. Thus in the midst of winter and but poorly clad we started into Hood's memorable retreat from Nashville, which lasted nearly a week, while the ever-vigilant Yanks were thundering in our rear day and night.

Johnson was for a second time a Union prisoner, this time held at Johnson Island. He was later moved to Old Capital Prison and, along with other Confederate leaders, was accused of conspiring with John Wilkes Booth in the Lincoln assassination. He was soon released as the accusations proved to be unfounded.






The 119th was assigned to the 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 16th Corps. Special Orders No. 60, 03/01/1865, Hdqrs. Military Division of West Mississippi, reprinted in OFFICIAL REPORTS, Ser. 1, Vol. XLIX, Part I, p. 810; Special Orders, No. 21, 03/17/1865, 16th Army Corps, reprinted in OFFICIAL REPORTS, Ser. 1, Vol. XLIX, Part II, p. 16.


The Mobile Bay Campaign was to occur the previous spring. Grant delayed the movement until the following year given Banks' predicament in the Red River Campaign.


The reports of the 119th and its respective brigade and division commanders with regard to Fort Blakeley are reprinted in OFFICIAL REPORTS, Ser. 1, Vol. XLIX, Part I, pp. 247-50 (Report of Brig. Gen. K. Gerard, Division Commander), pp. 250-3 (Report of Col. John I. Rinaker, Brigade Commander), & pp. 253-4 (Report of Col. Thomas J. Kinney, Commander, 119th Illinois Volunteers). These reports are drawn on extensively in the above text, and reprinted in Appendix A.


Blakeley is described by the recollections of George S. Water's, C.S.A. Naval Forces, reprinted in Hansen, BLAKELEY SIEGE, p. 12:

Blakeley lay ten miles northeast from Mobile, on the left bank of the Tensas River, which here deflects to the westward, seeking the bay. It is distant four and one-half miles north of Spanish Fort. Dry ground at Blakeley fronting upon the river was a mile and a half long. On each side of town it was low and swampy, densely covered with hardwood timber and a rank growth of weeds and vines, and the soil sandy. Two roads diverged from the landing: one northeast to Stockton, and the other southeast to Pensacola. Pursuing the Stockton Road, it was a mile to the Confederate fortifications. The ground level had a general rise until at the breastworks it was about sixty feet above water level. These works were constructed in a sort of semi-circle around Blakeley, in length nearly three miles; resting on a bluff close to the river at the extreme left, and terminating in high ground a few rods from the river on the right. There were nine well built redouts, or lunettes, armed with more than forty pieces of artillery, heavy and light guns and Coehorn mortars. The ditches were from four to five feet deep. For six to eight hundred yards along the front the pine trees on the high ground and hardwood trees in the ravines have been felled, timber being slashed in front of the works. Opposite some of the redoubts was an interior line, while three hundred yards out to the front and parallel with the works there was another line of abatis, and behind this were detached rifle pits, and many torpedoes made with twelve pounder shells.

The garrison of Blakeley consisted of Gen. French's Division (commanded then by Gen. Cockrell), the Confederate left, including Redoubts Nos. 1, 2, and 3, with No. 4 South of Stockton road. These were mostly veterans of Missouri and Mississippi. The right wing, Gen. Thomas's Division of Alabama reserves, supported Redoubt Nos. 5, with Redoubts Nos. 6, 7, 8, and 9 south of Pensacola road. The enemy, Gen. Steele commanding, was posted follows: Gen. Hawkins's Div. On the Federal right from the Tensas River to the Stockton road, and Gen. Andrews from Hawkins's left to Gen. Vetch's right. On Gen. Andrew's left came Gen. Veatch's Div. To the Pensacola road, and Gen. Gerard completed on the extreme left the investment of Blakeley.

Several artillery companies manned the redoubts, and Baker and I had a pleasing call on the Mississippians. Mississippi "Abbay," which two of its Caesar commentators persisted in spelling "Abbey." So as to read "the roll of Battle Abbey." The enemy reports excellent service by this finely equipped body when the doom of Blakeley was sealed. The whole garrison numbered about thirty-five hundred, and was commanded by Gen. St. John R. Liddell.


Report of Brig. Gen. K. Gerard, Division Commander, OFFICIAL REPORTS, Ser. 1, Vol. XLIX, Part I, p. 248, reprinted in Appendix A.


Report of Brig. Gen. K. Gerard, Division Commander, OFFICIAL REPORTS, Ser. 1, Vol. XLIX, Part I, p. 249, reprinted in Appendix A.




Report of Col. Thomas J. Kinney., Commander, 119th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, OFFICIAL REPORTS, Ser. 1, Vol. XLIX, Part I, p. 253, reprinted in Appendix A.



The 63rd Alabama Infantry Regiment was organized at Fort Blakeley in July, 1864, with men conscripted from all over Alabama (excepting two companies and the regimental officers, who were veterans). The unit was originally designated the 2nd Regiment of Reserves and remained in the defenses of Mobile until ordered to Spanish Fort three days before it was invested in March, 1865. The 63rd was, with the 62nd Alabama, a part of C.S.A. Gen. Thomas' brigade, and lost several killed and wounded during the first six days' operations at Spanish Fort. Relieved and sent to Fort Blakeley, the 63rd arrived only to endure the siege there. They were captured with the fortress April 9, 1865, about 300 in number, later exchanged just prior to the surrender of the Department of Alabama, Mississippi and East Louisiana, May 4, 1865.


Report of Col. Thomas J. Kinney., Commander, 119th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, OFFICIAL REPORTS, Ser. 1, Vol. XLIX, Part I, p. 254, reprinted in Appendix A.


Returns of casualties in the Union Forces operating against Mobile, Ala., March 17 &endash; April 12 [1865], OFFICIAL REPORTS, Ser. 1, Vol. XLIX, Part I, p. 113. The light casualties reflect the differences in relative strength of the Confederate and Union forces. 16,000 Union men were employed in the battle against but 3,500 Confederates.


Merrill, INDIANA SOLDIER, pp. 768-9:

General Canby's movements were not so rapid and sweeping, but in the end were also completely successful. His advance was made toward the eastern side of Mobile. Rain falling in torrents added to the difficulties of the low region which his troops were compelled to traverse. Steele, with two brigades of the Thirteenth corps, two batteries, Hawkins' black division, and Lucas' cavalry brigade, made his laboring and devious way from Pensacola through Florida swamps to Blakeley, pushing back bodies of the enemy the latter part of the route. Granger, with the Thirteenth corps, toiled through quicksand and swamp at the rate of two or three miles a day from Mobile Point, round Bon Secours bay to the mouth of Fish river, thence with A. J. Smith's corps, clearing the road skirmishers and torpedoes, to Spanish Fort. The fleet moved up the bay parallel with the enemy.

The siege of Spanish Fort opened on the twenty-seventh of March, the first artillery shot being fired that day by Morse's battery, about eight hundred yards from the works. It was pressed vigorously and steadily until the eighth of April, when a concentric fire from gunboats, from siege guns and field pieces in battery, and from skirmishers and sharpshooters, lasting from close of day until midnight, brought the stronghold to terms.

Forts Tracy and Huger fell as a consequence; and the gunboats, after picking up thirty-five torpedoes, were able to complete the investment round Blakeley, before which Steele had lain four days. At half-past five the evening of the ninth, Gerard on the left, and a little later Smith in the center, and Hawkins, with the black division, on the right, moved out to storm the works, which were immensely strong and manned by a force of three thousand. They struggled through abatis, scrambled over palisades, leaped in a deep, wide ditch, and gained the defenses, all under a tempest of fire. At seven the assault was ended, and the Union Flag was flying over the works.


Of the 119th, 1st Sgt. George F. Rebeman of Co. B and Private John Whitmore of Co. R, two of the three men credited with capturing Confederate colors, were awarded medals of honor for their service in the battle, and the unit was honored as a whole by being "paraded" the following July 12. General Orders, No. 24, 07/06/1865, 16th Army Corps, reprinted in OFFICIAL REPORTS, Ser. 1, Vol. XLIX, Part II, p. 1070, in part:

The major general commanding, appreciating the services rendered, orders that the… One hundred and nineteenth Illinois Infantry Volunteers be paraded on Wednesday, July 12, at 5 p.m….


John (Jens) Ritland, who served with the 32nd Iowa Infantry, part of the Second Brigade under Gen. Gerard, another of A. J. Smith's regiments, wrote of the events following Blakeley, reprinted in the Iowa's Story City Herald, and the Roland Record, in installments in 1922:

We had for the last year and a half been chased around from place to place, and had taken part in several battles and innumerable skirmishes, and had marched and traveled by train and steamship til now we felt were justly entitled to a rest. There were other armies that had been doing but little the last year or so, and General Canby, who commanded a part of the army at the siege of Fort. Blakeley, had not been doing much with his army of late, so he volunteered to go to Montgomery, Alabama, and attempt to take the fort there, leaving us to rest up. But our ambitious General Smith would not listen to this, not being satisfied to lie idle, so we had to go on again. In the ensuing march from Mobile to Montgomery, we suffered much the same hardships we had done on the expedition through Missouri, and under the same general. We found out that General Canby had sincerely wished to spare us, but that the strong-headed General Smith objected, as he was anxious for the honor of taking another fort. Signs of all descriptions with various threats and readings aimed at General Smith were nailed up on fenceposts and trees along the road, and Smith, who kept himself rather in the rear of the army, could not avoid noticing them. And it seemed to take effect, for he was easier with us after this, giving us better rations and better treatment generally.

We had been through a good many battles by now, and we had taken several forts, but to be honest, we dreaded what was now before us, which was the contemplated the siege of Fort Montgomery. It was a large fort, and we realized fully what it would mean to take it. I had seen so many of my intimate friends with whom I had fought shoulder-to-shoulder killed, wounded and maimed for life, and as we had only three months left on our enlistment there were so few of us left, I wanted this remnant to be spared and get home. But there was no sympathy or sentiment. All we had to do or think about was to obey orders and go to Montgomery and take that fort.

When we were nearing the fort on our last day's march, we would occasionally be halted, and then we would hear a mighty hollering and cheering far ahead of us. Soon it was whispered that good news was coming. The cheering came closer and shortly a man on horseback drew up opposite our regiment, halted us, got off his horse, and officially announced that General Lee had surrendered to General Grant, and that the war was now ended.


The height, etc., are included in the Discharge certificate.


General Orders No. 28, 16th Army Corps, reprinted in OFFICIAL REPORTS, Ser. 1, Vol. XLIX, Part II, p. 1082. On 6/13/1865, the War Dept. ordered that all regimental flags and national flags carried by regiments be turned over to the Governor of the State. In 1982 the flags for Illinois regiments were removed to the Illinois Centennial Building and photographed


Declaration of Charles Potts, Henry L. Potts pension file. This is supported by an additional card in his army file showing a second mustering out August 26, 1865, with the notation: "Dischd. At Jeff. Bks. Mo. 31 May for Disability."


The Pancoast family were also relocated from the New Jersey/Pennsylvania area. More interesting, next door to the Pancoasts was the Jonah Famulener family. Henry's mother, Dorcas, and her sister, Nancy, both married into the Famulener family (Dorcas marrying John Famulener prior to her marriage to William Potts, Henry's father, and her sister Nancy marrying his brother Jacob. John died soon after the marriage to Dorcas.).


Affidavit of Lewis H. Potts, Henry L. Potts pension file.


Declaration of Charles Potts, Henry L. Potts pension file:

[after his muster out of the 119th Ill. Infantry, Henry] "remained with me with the 28 Ills Vol. Infty. from July 1865 to April 20th 1866 - at which time he returned to Iowa and remained with our parents until 1871, when he and affiant went up to Sac co., IA where we remained together for several years Lewis H. Potts being married at that time where his first child was born…"


Declaration of Charles Potts, Henry L. Potts pension file. William's marriage certificate lists his birth place as Wall Lake, IA. Later, however, William listed Villisca, IA, as his birthplace in the certificate of birth for his own son, Roswell. Villisca is in Montgomery co., IA, near the border of Page co., IA, a later residence of Henry & Melissa. This would have been in 1875 &endash; when William was born, and is possible as Melissa's father was a Villisca resident as of the 1880 census and they could have had the child at his residence.


Brother Jeremiah wrote to sister Susan April 8, 1877, Koleda, O&I PIONEERS, ltr. 109: "Henry had a young son at their house about the first of March it was a five Pounder. Rather a small patern for a boy. Well I guess I have said enough bout the Baby for this time."

According to the 1900 Census, only two children were born to Henry and Melissa, which would have to be William and Walter.


Koleda, O&I PIONEERS, ltr. 109.


Villisca is along the same rail line that serviced Jefferson and Van Buren county, IA, where Henry and Melissa both lived prior to their marriage.


Montgomery co., Town Lot Book 8, p. 451. In 1883, Henry and Melissa executed a deed transferring their interest in their mother's home - notarized in Montgomery county, IA. Jefferson co. Deed Book 32, p. 247.


The relocation probably occurred sometime prior to 1886, as Henry does not appear in the 1886 Iowa Adjutant General's list of veterans, which includes many from Henry's regiment. They do not appear in the Omaha city directories until the 1890s


Declaration of Jerry Potts, Henry L. Potts pension file.


Melissa's application to continue her husband's pension includes the following declaration from Thronton D. Bush:

I knew Mr. and Mrs. Potts for the past 13 or 14 years. We have both lived in Omaha all this time. I have known them intimately.

He has never had any real estate at all, nor has his wife, since I knew them. He has had horses and teams at times and has teamed a part of the time since I knew him, but that was all the personal property they ever had. This was the only source of a livelihood he had in the past years. Of late years, he has not been able to do this. They have never had any income from rents, or bonds, or investments at all. He has not had any life insurance at all.

His widow has nothing whatever other than the few household goods in the house. He and his wife lived together as man and wife till his death on the 23rd of this month. She has not remarried. No one is legally bound to support her.


Henry's Declaration for Invalid Pension lists his total disability "by reason of age, disease of the digestive organs, rheumatism and resulting disease of the heart, disease of the urinary organs, abscesses of the prostrate gland, and disease of the eyes; also cataract also a right intestinal hernia, due to the straining of securing passages in a period of constipation, about 1894." Obviously, when it came to whether or not he was to receive a pension, Henry took no chances.


Douglas County, NE, Death Certificate # 524. According to the Grand Army of the Republic records (GAR Burial Card 1-265), Henry is buried in Forest Lawn cemetery, Grave 165, Section 3. The Grand Army of the Republic was a fraternal organization founded by the northern veterans of the Civil War. Following the end of the war many veteran societies were founded to continue the bonds between veterans formed during the war. Most of these societies were a social continuation of established military units, such as corps, brigades, or regiments. Henry's 119th Illinois Volunteer Infantry veterans were part of a GAR group in Schuyler co., Ill, but Henry, living in Omaha, participated in a group there. By 1891, the organization had a membership of over 400,000 men. During the life of the GAR (1866-1949) it is estimated that over 600,000 men joined. Five GAR members became presidents of the United States, starting with Ulysses Grant. The post-war "soldier vote" influenced many elections, and the GAR used its power to cause the adoption of Memorial Day as a national holiday. Most towns in the northern states could boast at least one GAR post and many states had over 500 such posts.


Melissa's obituaries, in both the Omaha Daily Bee and Omaha World Herald both simply note the cause of death, surviving family and place of burial. An obituary sent to me by a family member, however the paper in which it appeared is not noted, states:

Mrs. Melissa M. POTTS, aged 73 years, died Friday night at the Family residence, Fifty-sixth and Center streets, of heart disease. She is survived by a brother, James Rail; two sons, W. H. Potts, Omaha, and Walter C. Potts, Cedar Rapids, Ia., and one daughter, Mrs. G. Gerken. Funeral services will be held Monday afternoon at 2 o'clock at Jackson's parlors. Internment will be in Forest Lawn cemetery.

Why the obituary address is 56th and Center streets and not Melissa's Pine street address has yet to be researched. The Forest Lawn cemetery documents also have 56th and Center as her address at the time of her death. Her burial plot is lot, no. 2737, section 12, is owned by son William.


Undated copies of the newspapers reporting the wedding were:

Mr. Walter C. Potts of Omaha and Miss Jennie D. Carse, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Carse of this city were married Tuesday evening at the home of the bride's parents, 1004 Fourth avenue, Rev. J. M. Wilson, pastor of Castellar Presbyterian church, Omaha, officiating. The wedding was quiet but very pretty. The bridal party stood against a screen of white lace caught with smilax and carnations, pale pink dominating. The bride, a striking brunette, looked very sweet in a gown of filmy white over silk, and she carried lilies-of-the-valley. She was attended by her sister, Mrs. A. J. Faul, and Mr. Faul acted as best man. The rooms were fragrant with flowers, and the archway was draped with white satin ribbons held in place with smilax and carnations. Light refreshments were served, the table being in white and green. Many pretty presents were displayed and these will assist in beautifying the new home which the groom had prepared at 2505 Corby street, Omaha, where Mr. and Mrs. Potts will be at home to their friends after May 15th. Mr. Potts is employed in the establishment of F. M. Russell, Omaha, and with his bride, has many friends in both cities.

A pretty home wedding was celebrated Tuesday evening at the home of Mr. and Mrs. John H. Carse, when the daughter Miss Jennie D. Carse, and Mr. Walter Charles Potts of Omaha were married. The nuptials were performed by Rev. J. M. Wilson of Omaha. The bride was lovely in a gown of sheer white over cream silk. She carried a bouquet of lilies of the valley. She was attended by her sister, Mrs. A. J. Faul, and Mr. Faul acted as best man. After the ceremony a collation was served. In the parlor where the bridal party stood pink and white carnations with festooning of smilax and white ribbon were effectively used. The back parlor and dining room were prettily decorated in white and green, the tables being dainty in hyacinths and ferns. A number of beautiful presents were received. Mr. and Mrs. Potts will be home to their friends after May 15th at Twenty-fifty and Corby streets, Omaha.


1900 U.S. Census.




The children were, according to Koleda, O & I PIONEERS, ltr. 147B:

I. 1.  Walter, m. Jennie Love, of Council Bluffs, IA, d. Peoria, IL (Koleda, O&I PIONEERS, ltr. 147B &endash; "they had son Walter Jr., and daughter Love, his widow and Walter Jr. live at 817 E. Base Line, San Bernardino, Calif.); and

II. 2.  Love, m. Charles H. Larson (Koleda, O&I PIONEERS, ltr. 147B &endash; "Love is married to Charles H. Larson, 864 _ So. Gramercy Place, Los Angeles, CA").


Koleda, O & I PIONEERS, ltr. 147 B.


Koleda, O & I PIONEERS, ltr. 147 B, notes that they lived at 817 Base Line, San Bernardino, CA and that Jenny was alive at the time the letter was written, approximately 1945. As Jenny died in Los Angeles county, she may have moved in with her daughter, Love Potts, then Mrs. Charles Larson, who at the time this letter was written was living at 864 _ So. Gramercy Pl., Los Angeles, CA.


The death certificate for Henry has 09/23/1846 for this birth.


The death certificate, from which the day of the month for the birth is located, lists 1846 as the year of birth.