Charles Potts Diary

Civil War Diary / Civil War Diaries

Union Lieutenant Charles Potts diary offers a varied perspective from the experiences of a man who both fought, and was captured at the Battle of Gettysburg. He was an officer in the 115th Pennsylvania Regiment that was captured when the Confederates swept through the town of Gettysburg on July 1, 1863.

Diary Entry - July 1, 1863

'Marched from Emmitsburg to Gettysburg without a halt and directly into the fight . Careful fighting on both sides. Forces on either side. Our regiment supports a Battery the greater part of a day. Went to the front about 3 o'clock. Rebs outnumbered us two to one. Form line in entrenchments before Seminary. Parts of four regiments in entrenchments held rebs in check for about half an hour. Forced to retire into town. Rebs swing around the town and capture about 5000 officers and men.

Diary Entry - July 2, 1863

Placed in field about one mile northwest of town. Rebs held in check, but think they will be able to drive our men on the morrow. Guarded by the 17th Va. Infantry, commanded by Col. French. Well treated, and find an old Colonel a gentleman, but no provisions.

Diary Entry - July 3, 1863

Batteries in full play. Awful cannonading and musketry Rebs feel bad and look blue. Are not very confident of success. (afternoon) Battle wages with great fury, (night) Great confusion among the rebs. Cattle and trains moving, that sound very much like a skedaddle. Ask guard what is wrong, he tells me they are going foraging. Don't see much in that light. Ask him if he don't wish himself back in old Va.

He says the days will not be long, and he will be through. Is not in favor of fighting the north. Does not want Yankees to subdue them and confiscate their homes, and dishonor their wives. No rations for three days. Offered parole advised not to accept.

Diary Entry - July 4, 1863

Glorious old fourth but cannot enjoy it much in my present position no rations, no clothes, but what is on my back, and old half of a blanket. Rebs retreating as fast as possible, through drenching rain. Long train of wagons, containing wounded rebels, household furniture, in fact anything everything that they could carry off, chairs, bed quilts, covers, lids, mowing machines, cythes and their horses decorated with sleigh bells.'

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