1st Sgt. John Hatch Stover
Company F, 52nd VA Infantry
John Hatch Stover was born in Churchville, Augusta County, VA on 27 February 1842, the first of eight children of Adam and Mary Ann Elizabeth Clark Stover. In the 1860 census, he is listed as a student, attending the Hotchkiss Academy in Churchville, VA. He signed many documents as J Hatch Stover, indicating that he went by his middle name. Records describe him as 5 ft 6 in, fair complexion, grey eyes, and dark hair.
He enlisted in the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia on 31 August 1861 in Staunton, VA with his brother William Simon Stover, with whom he fought alongside throughout much of the war. He joined Co F 52nd VA Infantry and was promoted to 2nd Cpl 28 Jan 1862. Once his initial enlistment of one year was up, he reenlisted on 1 May 1862. In 1863, he was promoted to 1st Sgt. He was in command of Co F at the time of the Battle of the Wilderness. The 52nd Regiment was part of Pegram’s Brigade in Early’ Division in Ewell’s 2nd Corps CSA.
The 52nd was positioned on the left flank of the 2nd Corps late on 5 May when Pegram was injured and the brigade was taken over by Col John S Hoffman. At some point on 6 May, Stover was wounded in the bowels, possibly when his regiment joined BG John B Gordon’s flank attack.
He recovered from his wound, rejoined his unit again, was wounded again, at Cedar Creek, recovered again, and fought his final battle in Petersburg when the 52nd participated in the assault upon Fort Stedman. He was recovering in Chimborazo Hospital in Richmond from a wound to the thigh, received in the assault, when Richmond fell. He was captured there on 3 April 1865 and sent to Newport News, where he remained until he was released on 1 July 1865. His bother managed to leave Petersburg with Gen Robert E Lee and subsequently surrendered along with the rest of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox.
After the war, he married Mary Elizabeth McNair on 22 June 1869, and eventually they had 7 children. On the marriage license, his occupation is listed as teacher. He served one year, 1870, as Commissioner of the Revenue for District 2 in Augusta County, VA. In the 1880 census and again in the 1900 census, he is listed as a farmer.
He died on 19 February 1907 and is buried in Churchville, VA in the Green Hill Cemetery. At the conclusion of the entry about him in a book about the 52nd Virginia Infantry’s history are the words “A brave soldier.”