James Risque Hutter

“Major Hutter tells me that he was conversing with a friend during the shelling, both having their faces close to the ground, and his friend making some remark the Maj. asked him what he said; and after waiting a little while for an answer found on looking up that his friend was dead – dead by his side and he did not hear the blow that killed him” – Captain John Dooley, C.S.A. from his War journal on Pickett’s Charge.

J R Hutter-
Photograph of James Risque Hutter, soldier in the Confederate Army. Donated by Janie Preston Walton.

Before the War

James Risque Hutter, known to everyone as Risque (pronounced “Risk”), was born at Sandusky on October 18, 1841. The Hutters purchased Sandusky in 1841 and would live there for over 110 years. Hutter would attend and graduate 15th in his class from the Virginia Military Institute (VMI). His VMI schooling would give him a stronger military background than most confederate soldiers.

During the War

A year after he graduated from VMI, he joined the Confederate army in 1861. He was captain of Company H of the 11th Virginia Infantry. Risque would take part in many major campaigns of the Civil War, including Gettysburg. He would also take part in Pickett’s Charge during the Battle of Gettysburg. He watched his friends and comrades die by his side in this charge (as stated in the quote above). During Gettysburg, Risque was injured and then captured.

Johnson’s Island, Ohio

On July 3, 1863, Risque Hutter was captured by Union forces and sent as a prisoner of war to Johnson’s Island in Ohio. He stayed at Johnson’s Island until he was exchanged early in 1865. Shortly after in April of 1865, Risque was recaptured at Five Forks, Virginia. He went back to Johnson’s Island until July of 1865.

“Though my scarred and veteran legions

Bear their eagles high no more,

And my wrecked and scattered galleys

Strew dark Actium’s fatal shore;

Though no glittering guards surround me,

Prompt to do their master’s will,

I must perish like a Roman,

Die the great Triumvir still.”

-William Haines Lytle (Excerpt from “Antony and Cleopatra” recorded in Hutter’s POW journal)

While on Johnson’s Island, Risque kept a prisoner of war journal. In it he documents some of the words of other prisoners, a couple notes on conditions, various poems, notes on Napoleon Bonaparte, and the signatures of other prisoners (Shown in the gallery to the right of the page).

Photo of Risque. Donated by Janie Preston Walton.


J. Risque Hutter.  VMI half plate ambrotype
J. Risque Hutter. VMI half plate ambrotype Taken August 25, 1859 during encampment. 1st ___. Each party had a third part & played at cards the best three of five games & I won it (this photograph). Captain J. Risque Hutter is seated front right. Donated by Janie Preston Walton.