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Albert Sidney Johnston
by John T. Marck



 
 
 

 
 
 

Albert Sidney Johnston

Albert Sidney Johnston was born in Washington, Kentucky on February 2, 1803, yet he considered himself a Texan. A very close friend of Jefferson Davis, Johnston was one of the more promising generals in the Confederacy. He attended West Point, and graduated eighth in his class of 1826. He then served outstandingly during the Black Hawk and Mexican Wars. Having an admiration for the republic of Texas, he went there in 1836 and fought for it as a brigadier general, before becoming its secretary of war.

In 1855, Johnston was appointed a colonel of the 2nd U.S. cavalry and commanded the expedition in Utah against the Mormons in 1857. In 1861, when the Civil War began, he was a brigadier general in the United States Department of the Pacific. Upon Texas seceding from the Union, he resigned from the U.S. Army and joined the Confederacy. Here, Jefferson Davis placed him in command of the Department No.2, one of the Confederacy's largest departments, as a full general.

As commander of this department, his area of responsibility was quite massive, extending from the Appalachian Mountains in the East to the Indian Territory in the West. When the Confederacy lost Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, they lost all of Kentucky and most of Tennessee in the process. As those responsible were his subordinates, he to had to shoulder some of the blame.

Johnston then withdrew his massive force to an area along the northern Mississippi boundary line, in an attempt to regain some ground as a result of the losses in Kentucky and Tennessee. With the help of General P.G.T. Beauregard, Johnston marched on Corinth, Mississippi. On the morning of April 6, 1862, Johnston attacked in full force with his massive number of troops, surprising the Union that began the two-day Battle of Shiloh.

During the Battle of Shiloh, while Johnston was commanding the front line attack, in the area of the Peach Orchard, around 2:00 p.m., he was struck in the leg by a stray minie ball. Believing his injury to not be serious, he did not seek medical attention, and within a short time, became weakened, and bled to death of the battlefield. Although Johnston did not live long enough before his leadership potential was tested, his death was nonetheless a startling and major loss to the Confederacy.

Copyrightę John T. Marck. All Rights Reserved. This article and their accompanying pictures, photographs, and line art, may not be resold, reprinted, or redistributed for compensation of any kind without prior written permission from the author.