John Porter Hatch – Major General, United States Army

Born at Oswego, New York, January 9, 1822, he graduated from West Point in 1845 and was commissioned in the Infantry.

At the beginning of the Mexican War he served under General Zachary Taylor at Palo Alto, May 8, 1846, and Resaca de la Palma, May 9. He was then transferred to the Mounted Rifles for service under General Winfield Scott. At Contreras and Chirubusco, August 19-20, 1847, he won a brevet to First Lieutenant and at Chapultepec on September 13 another brevet to Captain.

After the war, he served on the frontier, taking part in numerous Indian engagements, receiving promotion to Captain in October 1860.

In September 1861 he was appointed Brigadier General of Volunteers in command of a Cavalry Brigade. He executed a series of daring raids on the Rapidan and Rappahannock Rivers and during March-August 1862 commanded the Cavalry of V Corps under General Nathaniel P. Banks in the Shenandoah Valley. He was then assigned to the Infantry and for a week was in command of General Joseph Hooker's I Corps until he was severely wounded at South Mountain, Maryland, on September 14. For gallantry there, he was breveted Major General of Volunteers and received the Medal of Honor.

He did not return to the field until October 1863, after which time he commanded various departments in the South. He was in charge of operations on John's Island, South Carolina, in July 1864 and at Honey Hill in November and then cooperated closely with General William T. Sherman in the Georgia-Carolinas Campaign.

At the end of the war, by which time he had been breveted Colonel and Brigadier General of regulars, he reverted to Major on being mustered out of the volunteer service and for the next 26 years served again on the Western frontier. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 1873 and to Colonel of the 2nd U.S. Cavalry in June 1881. He retired from the Army in 1886.

He died in New York City on April 12, 1901 and was buried in Section 1 of Arlington National Cemetery.


Rank and organization: Brigadier General, U.S. Volunteers. Place and date: At South Mountain, Maryland., 14 September 1862. Entered service at: New York, N.Y. Born: 9 January 1822, Oswego, New York. Date of issue: 28 October 1893.


Was severely wounded while leading one of his brigades in the attack under a heavy fire from the enemy.


Served in the Mexican, Indian, and Civil Wars
A Descendant of Major Porter, An Aide de Camp on Benedict Arnold’s Staff

NEW YORK, New York, April 14, 1901 – Brevet Brigadier General John Porter Hatch died at his home, 202 West One Hundred and Third Street, late Friday night.  He had suffered for some time from heart disease.  He retired early in the evening and was found dead in bed about 11 o’clock.

General Hatch was born in Oswego, New York, January 8, 1822, and was a descendant of Major Moses Porter, aide-de-camp on the staff of General Benedict Arnold at the battle of Saratoga.  His ancestors came to this country in 1634.  General Hatch was graduated at the West Point Academy and was appointed a Lieutenant in the Third United States Infantry July 1, 1845.  He reported for duty with his regiment at Corpus Christi, under General Taylor, in October of that year, and engaged in the battle of Palo Alto.  He was one of the only two surviving officers of Palo Alto, the other being General Lawrence V. Graham of Washington.

He took part in every important battle of the Mexican War, and especially distinguished himself at Vera Cruz and in fighting before the City of Mexico, being brevetted three times for gallantry.  At the close of the Mexican War he was assigned to duty in New Mexico, in 1857 was sent against the Apache Indians and in the next year against the Navajos.  This campaign was distinguished for being the first in which the Navajos had ever used rifles, their weapons before having always been bows and arrows and tomahawks.

In 1859, with twenty-five men, General Hatch escorted the Governor of Missouri from New Mexico, where he was visiting, back to Missouri, there way lying through the country of the hostile Comanches, who were then fighting the Government.

At the outbreak of the Civil War General Hatch was appointed Brigadier General of Volunteers and commanded a brigade in the first battle of Bull Run.  Subsequently he commanded a division in General Banks’ army and went with him through the Shenandoah Valley. General “Stonewall”Jackson, the famous Confederate leader, in several of his works, has given credit to General Hatch for saving Banks’ corps from annihilation on this expedition.

At the second battle of Bull Run General Hatch led a charge against the railroad embankment behind which were a large force of Confederates, and was shot in the head, but recovered.  At the battle of South Mountain, Maryland, September 14, 1862, where he commanded a division, he was shot in the leg after leading his own soldiers, and for his gallantry was awarded a gold medal by Congress.

This wound compelled his retirement from active service for five months and after that he did court-martial work in connection with recruiting until 1864, when he was assigned to the Army of the South.  He took part in the operations against Charlestown and with his division occupied this city after its fall.

He cooperated with General Sherman in his march to the sea, having charge of what was known as the Coast Guard, a division of the Army that covered the extreme eastern flank of Sherman’s army.  From that time on until the end of the war he served with Sherman, when he was sent first to Texas and then to Montana having charge of several different Government posts and engaging in a number of fights with Indians.

He was retired under the age limit in 1886 and for the last ten years has lived in this city.  He leaves a widow, a son, Mark B. Hatch of Washington and an unmarried daughter, who has lived with her parents.  General Hatch was a member of the Foreign War Society, the Aztec Club of ’47, an association formed by the officers at the time of the occupancy of the city of Mexico, and was once President of the club.

He was also a member of the Army of the Potomac Society, the Loyal Legion and Lafayette Post of the Grand Army of the Republic.  His body, according to present arrangements, will be taken to Washington tomorrow and there interred in Arlington Cemetery.

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  • DATE OF DEATH: 04/13/1901


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