John Q. A. Nadenbousch was born on October 31, 1824 in Berkeley County, Virginia. He worked as a carpenter and ran a lumber yard in Martinsburg. In 1848 he married Hester Jane Miller. In 1852 he bought the Beeson flour mill and established a distillery.
Nadenbousch helped form the Berkeley Border Guards, one of the first companies on the scene in Harpers Ferry during John Brown's raid in 1859.
He returned with the company to Harpers Ferry at the beginning of the Civil War to help seize the Armory, and was mustered into the 2nd Virginia Infantry Regiment as Company D, part of Thomas J. Jackson's Brigade. The regiment fought at the First Battle of Manassas, where the brigade won renown as the Stnewall Brigade. Nadenbousch brought the bodies of three of his men who were killed in the battle to Martinsburg and saw them interred at the Old Norbourne Cemetery.
Nadenbousch fought with his regiment and the Stonewall Brigade in Jacksn's Valley Campaign, the Seven Days Battles, Battle of Cedar Mountain and Battle of Groveton. He was wounded at the Second Battle of Manassas in August of 1862, but returned to be promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in December of 1862 and to Colonel in time to command the regiment at Chancellorsville, where he was wounded again, and at Gettysburg.
By September of 1863 the results of Nadenbousch's wounds caused him to request to be relieved of field command, and he was given command of a post iat Staunton, Virginia. He was the last colonel to command the 2nd Virginia in the Civil War, and the only colonel to survive the war.
Nadenbousch resigned his command in April of 1864. He returned to Berkeley County, now in West Virginia, to run his milling and distilling businesses. His distilling business became a subsidiary a distilling company in Philadelphia. In 1870 he was appointed Marshall of the Martinsburg Fire Company. In 1876 he became the owner of a hotel in Martinsburg, and in December of 1877 built the Grand Central Hotel in Martinsburg, which he ran for a year before renting it out to others.
During this time Nadenbousch also served in a variety of political positions in Martinsburg, as mayor, councilman and trustee.
John Nadenbousch died on September 13, 1892 and is buried in Old Norbourne Cemetery in Martinsburg.