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John Hatcher, Confederate Veteran, Typescript Titled "Recollections of the Civil War 1861-1865"

Collection Number: A&M 4368

Content Description

Typed copy of a manuscript entitled "Recollections of the Civil War 1861-1865" written by Confederate veteran John Edmund Charles Lewis Hatcher and compiled by his son Charles S. Hatcher between 1933 and 1937, while John Hatcher was in his nineties. The manuscript remained in the possession of Hatcher family; the typescript version was edited and typed by Les Oakes, the great-grandson of John Hatcher. Also included is an introduction with additional contextual and historical information by James A. Hatcher, a collateral descendant of John Hatcher.

Hatcher enlisted in the Confederate Army in August 1861 at the age of eighteen. He would serve with the 34th Virginia Infantry, the 23rd Virginia Infantry, and finally with the 23rd Virginia Cavalry. Hatcher was taken prisoner in November 1864 and was kept in federal custody near Charleston, West Virginia until mid-1865.

Hatcher served as a private for his entire military career; he recounts the experience of a rank-and-file soldier, including many hardships. Hatcher describes difficult river crossings; carrying disassembled artillery down cliffs; and marching barefoot after the Battle of Lynchburg back to West Virginia. In a darkly humorous observation, Hatcher writes that his monthly pay of near-worthless Confederate dollars was only enough for a month’s supply of tobacco.

Events of particular interest include Hatcher serving in honorary military squad at the burial service of Stonewall Jackson; innovative crossings of the Gauley River, including raising a sunken boat, building a makeshift footbridge; the occupations of Sewell Mountain by Confederate and Union troops; close-quarters combat during the Battle of Cold Harbor; and the destruction of a Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Bridge during Early’s Washington Raid.

Battles mentioned include Cross Lanes, Carnifex Ferry, Gauley Bridge, White Sulphur Springs, Droop Mountain, New Market, Cold Harbor, and Lynchburg. Hatcher also describes participating in the Valley Campaigns of 1864, starting with Jubal Early’s push towards Washington, D.C. and ending with Sheridan’s rout of the Confederates.

Confederate officers mentioned include Henry A. Wise, John McCausland, John B. Floyd, Robert E. Lee, John C. Breckinridge, Jubal A. Early, Robert White, and “Militia Generals” Chapman and Beckley. Also mentioned are Alfred Beckley, Augustus A. Chapman, and Silas Hatcher, lower-ranked officers who were personally known to Hatcher.


  • Creation: 1933-1937


Conditions Governing Access

No special access restriction applies.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. For more information, please see the Permissions and Copyright page on the West Virginia and Regional History Center website.

Biographical / Historical

John Edmund Charles Lewis Hatcher (1843-1937) was born in Mercer County, (West) Virginia. After serving in the Confederate Army during the four years of the Civil War, Hatcher returned to live in West Virginia. He resided in Summers County, where he farmed, raised a family, and served as Justice of the Peace. Hatcher was active in veterans’ organizations after the war, including serving as a charter member of the local United Confederate Veterans chapter.

Hatcher’s youngest child, Charles Silas Hatcher, compiled a manuscript of his father’s recollections of his military service. The younger Hatcher served in France during World War I. He later published a book of family history titled “Historical Genealogy of the Basham, Ellison, Hatcher, Lilly, Meadows, Pack, Walker, and Other Families” in 1968.


.01 Linear Feet (10 pages (1 folder))




Typescript by John Hatcher, a Confederate veteran and West Virginia native, titled "Recollections of the Civil War 1861-1865". Hatcher served in the Confederate Army from August 1861 until he was taken prisoner in November 1864. Hatcher writes about his unit's movements, battles participated in, officers encountered, and hardships endured. For further information, see “Scope and Contents” and "Biographical Note".

Physical Location

West Virginia and Regional History Center / West Virginia University / 1549 University Avenue / P.O. Box 6069 / Morgantown, WV 26506-6069 / Phone: 304-293-3536 / Fax: 304-293-3981 / URL:

John Hatcher, Confederate Veteran, Typescript Titled "Recollections of the Civil War 1861-1865"
Laureen Wilson
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Repository Details

Part of the West Virginia and Regional History Center Repository

1549 University Ave.
P.O. Box 6069
Morgantown WV 26506-6069 US