#Onthisday in 1865, Civil War Soldier George Potter participated in the Battle of Bentonville
George W. Potter was the last surviving Civil War veteran in the Town of Saratoga. At the age of 19, he enlisted for a year in the Company A, 123rd New York Volunteers, from Washington County. He was involved in Union General Sherman’s March to the Sea and the Campaign of Carolina in 1865. The Battle of Bentonville was part of the Carolina Campign, the final campaign in the Western Theater of the American Civil War.
In winter of 1865, Union Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman advanced north from Savannah, Georgia, through the Carolinas, with the intention of linking up with Union forces in Virginia. The Battle of Bentonville was fought March 19, 1865, in Bentonville, North Carolina, near the town of Four Oaks,. The Confederates had not held up the Union Army as long as they had hoped. As a result of the overwhelming Union strength and the heavy casualties his army suffered in the battle, Johnston surrendered to Sherman little more than a month later at Bennett Place, near Durham Station. Coupled with Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender earlier in April, Johnston’s surrender represented the effective end of the war.
Potter was married on 9 December 1869 to to Miss Hattie Pennock of Schuylerrville. His profession was as a mason and built many buildings in Schuylerville. In 1919, he was the custodian of the Saratoga battle monument for New York State and was paid $600.
Saratoga has been defined by the people who by choice or by chance make up this community. There are many individuals like George Potter that help define this country and our community. It is the determination of our forefathers, in surmounting overwhelming odds that help define the American spirit – the will and ability to shape a better future. It is the people it is that define this community by choice or by chance have changed this country and even the world political development. That is why studying the people of Saratoga is integral to a good understanding of the condition of being human.