Civil War Confederate Army Officer. Ahead of the American Civil War that made him famous, the native New Yorker founded two Virginia schools; the Mossy Creek Academy and the Loch Willow School for Boys. As a businessman and a mining geologist, he was involved in the commerce of Virginia's iron and coal in the late 1840s. At the onset of the war in 1861, the adopted Virginian volunteered into the Confederate army as a topographical engineer. His initial service to the Confederacy was providing valuable service during the 1861 campaigns in western Virginia. It was in March 1862 that he was attached to the staff of General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. Cartography, the skill of producing maps, was his talent. Throughout the Shenandoah Valley campaign of 1862, Jackson continually maneuvered his army to great victories against superior Union forces. The maps that Jackson consulted to make these bold maneuvers were the work of Hotchkiss. With invaluable assistance of his great friend, Captain James Keith Boswell, his know-how of topography also provided to Jackson's greatest victory at Chancellorsville, Virginia in May 1863. Using a twelve mile route that was found by him, Jackson's Confederates were able to outflank and defeat Union General Oliver O. Howard's XI Corps. This Confederate victory proved costly; Jackson was shot by his own men and would die ultimately of pneumonia. With the death of his commander, he continued as topographical engineer on the staff of Generals Richard S. Ewell and Jubal A. Early. In the years that followed the war, the United States government attempted to confiscate his war era maps. Challenging the assertion that his work belonged to the government, he petitioned then-President Ulysses S. Grant. The former Union General agreed that the maps were his personal property and allowed Hotchkiss to keep ownership of them. He permitted copies to be made, and today, many of his maps supplement the monumental work "Atlas to Accompany the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies."
Bio by: Stonewall