Jedediah Hotchkiss was born on November 28, 1828, to Stiles and Lydia (Beecher) Hotchkiss in Windsor, NY. He lived and went to school in Windsor, graduating from the Windsor Academy. He was teaching school in Lykens Valley, PA, by his 18th year of age. After he turned 19, he set out on a venture to explore new places and faces. Upon reaching Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains and looking out and down upon the Shenandoah Valley, he knew he had found his lifetime home. He began teaching school there and eventually opened the Mossy Creek Academy in Augusta County.
In exploring his adopted home, he began the hobby of map making and developed the skill that would make him invaluable to the Confederate Army.
* "A transplanted New Yorker, Jedediah Hotchkiss became the most famous of Confederate topographers. In 1861 he gave up teaching and offered his services as a map maker to General Garnett in western Virginia. After serving at Rich Mountain and mapping out General Lee's planned campaign in the mountains, he fell ill with typhoid fever. In March 1862 he joined Stonewall Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley as a captain and chief topographical engineer of the Valley District. Often personally directing troop movements he took part in the actions of the Valley Campaign and at Cedar Mountain, Chantilly, Harpers Ferry, Antietam, and Fredericksburg. At Chancellorsville he found the route by which Jackson was able to launch his surprise flank attack on the Union 11th Corps. After the death of his chief he served the next two commanders of the corps, Generals Ewell and Early, but was frequently assigned to work for Lee's headquarters. In this dual role he served at Gettysburg and in the Mine Run and Wilderness campaigns."
"Accompanying Early to the Shenandoah, he served through the campaigns there until after the disaster at Waynesborough. He gave himself up upon notification of Lee's surrender. By now a major, he was arrested but General Grant had him released and returned his maps. Grant even paid for the right to copy some of them for his own reports. Most of the Confederate maps in the atlas of the Official Records were drawn by Hotchkiss. After the war he was energetic in trying to develop the economy of his adopted state. Also involved in veterans' affairs, he authored the Virginia volume of Confederate Military History. (Hotchkiss, Jedediah - Make Me A Map of the Valley)"
*(Source: "Who Was Who In The Civil War" by Stewart Sifakis
** "After the war, Hotchkiss taught school for two years before opening an office as a civil, mining and consulting engineer. With his wide knowledge of Virginia, he helped obtain the foreign and Northern investment of millions of dollars for the state."
"He visited England and Scotland to encourage emigration to Virginia and worked ceaselessly to popularize the new notion of the public school system."
"He was one of the "distinguished men of the South" who collaborated in the writing of the 12-volume "Confederate Military History", single handedly composing the 1,295 pages of the Virginia volume. It is obvious that New York's loss of Jed Hotchkiss' public spirit was Virginia's gain."
"Called by his peers "a well rounded Christian character of beautiful purity and cheerfulness", Hotchkiss also has the unsung place as the eyes of one of the world's most celebrated military geniuses (General Stonewall Jackson). In part, each of the hundreds of monuments in the name of Stonewall Jackson throughout the South also honors Jed Hotchkiss."
"On January 17, 1899, at age 71, Jedediah Hotchkiss died at his home in Staunton, VA."
"Now, with the distance of years to wash the bitterness of that fractricidal war away, the Village of Windsor (NY) can be proud of the exploits of a native son."
**(Source: "Windsor Man Was the Eyes of Stonewall Jackson" by Mike Kane
Binghamton Press, September 10, 1978)
Photo of Jed Hotchkiss |
Jed Hotchkiss' Windsor NY House |
Sketch Map Battle of Fredericksburg