Hatch, John Porter (1822–1901)

By: Pember W. Rocap

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: January 1, 1995

John Porter (Dobe or Adobe) Hatch, soldier, was born in Oswego, New York, on January 9, 1822, son of Moses Porter and Hannah (Reed) Hatch. He entered the Unites States Military Academy at West Point on July 1, 1840, and was commissioned a brevet second lieutenant with the Third Infantry on July 1, 1845. He fought in the Mexican War and was promoted to brevet first lieutenant on August 20, 1847, for gallant and meritorious service at the battles of Contreras and Churubusco and to brevet captain on September 13, 1847, for similar service at the battle of Chapultepec. He married Adelaide Goldsmith Burckle in 1851; they had two children.

At the beginning of the Civil War Hatch was commissioned a brigadier general of volunteers, on September 28, 1861. During the battle of South Mountain, Maryland, on September 14, 1862, he was severely wounded while leading an attack under severe enemy fire. For this action he was awarded the Medal of Honor on October 28, 1893. He was mustered out of the volunteers as a major general on January 15, 1866.

He continued his regular army career as commander of Fort Concho on five separate occasions during the first five years of its establishment. As a major in the Fourth United States Cavalry, on the committee to choose a new fort site with a better water supply for the garrison at Fort Chadbourne, Hatch ordered the Fort Chadbourne post commander, Capt. George G. Huntt, to move his unit to the chosen site in late November 1867. Huntt named the site Camp Hatch. At Hatch's request, the camp was renamed Camp Kelly in early 1868, in honor of Capt. Michael J. Kelly, who had died of typhoid fever at Fort Chadbourne on August 13, 1867.

Hatch received the nickname "Dobe" as the result of an experiment he directed at Fort Concho in an attempt to manufacture and use adobe bricks as inexpensive construction material. The effort was judged a failure after Hatch and twenty enlisted men produced only 10,000 usable bricks between July 16 and September 2, 1870. During Col. Ranald S. Mackenzie's Indian cleanup campaign in 1872, Major Hatch was in charge at Fort Concho, where more than 100 Indian women and children were held captive in a corral over the winter.

Hatch was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the Fifth Cavalry on January 15, 1873, transferred back to the Fourth Cavalry on April 10, 1873, and promoted to colonel, Second United States Cavalry, on June 26, 1881. He was compelled by law to retire on January 9, 1886, and lived in New York until his death on April 12, 1901. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, D.C.

Fort Concho National Historical Landmark Library, Files, San Angelo. J. Evetts Haley, Fort Concho and the Texas Frontier (San Angelo Standard-Times, 1952). Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army (2 vols., Washington: GPO, 1903; rpt., Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1965). Manual for Museum Guides (San Angelo: Fort Concho Museum, 1985; rev. ed. 1987). William H. Powell, List of Officers of the Army of the United States from 1779–1900 (New York: Hamersly, 1900).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Pember W. Rocap, “Hatch, John Porter,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 16, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/hatch-john-porter.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995