Albert Sidney Johnston, Confederate general, son of John and Abigail (Harris) Johnston, was born at Washington, Kentucky, on February 2, 1803. He attended Transylvania University before he entered the United States Military Academy at West Point, from which he graduated in June 1826. He served at Sackett's Harbor, New York in 1826, with the Sixth Infantry at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, in 1827, and as regimental adjutant in the Black Hawk War. On January 20, 1829, he married Henrietta Preston. Because of his wife's illness, he resigned his commission on April 22, 1834, and farmed near St. Louis in 1835. She died on August 12, 1835. In 1836 Johnston moved to Texas and enlisted as a private in the Texas Army. On August 5, 1836, he was appointed adjutant general by Thomas Jefferson Ruskqv and on January 31, 1837, he became senior brigadier general in command of the army to replace Felix Huston.qv A duel with Huston resulted; Johnston was wounded and could not take the command. On December 22, 1838, he was appointed secretary of war for the Republic of Texas by President Mirabeau B. Lamar,qv and in December 1839 he led an expedition against the Cherokee in East Texas. On March 1, 1840, Johnston returned to Kentucky, where, on October 3, 1843, he married Eliza Griffin, a cousin of his first wife. They returned to Texas to settle at China Grove Plantation in Brazoria County.
During the Mexican Warqv he was colonel of the First Texas Rifle Volunteers and served with W. O. Butler as inspector general at Monterrey, Mexico. On December 2, 1849, Johnston became paymaster in the United States Army and was assigned to the Texas frontier. He went with William S. Harneyqv to the Great Plains in 1855, and on April 2, 1856, he was appointed colonel of the Second Cavalry. From 1858 to 1860 Johnston acted as brevet brigadier general in an expedition to escort the Mormons to Salt Lake City. He was sent to the Pacific Department and stationed at San Francisco in 1860. At the beginning of the Civil Warqv in 1861, he resigned his commission in the United States Army, refused the federal government's offer of a command, and returned overland to Texas.
Jefferson Davis appointed Johnston a general in the Confederate Army and assigned him command of the Western Department. Johnston took Bowling Green, Kentucky, issued a call for men, and formed and drilled an army. He knew the weaknesses of his army: small size, lack of organization, long line of defense, and location in river territory. In February 1862 he moved his line of defense to the vicinity of Nashville, Tennessee, and later to Corinth, Mississippi. On April 6, 1862, he was killed while leading his forces at the battle of Shiloh. He was temporarily buried at New Orleans. By special appropriation, the Texas Legislature, in January 1867, had his remains transferred to Austin for burial in the State Cemetery.qv In 1905 a stone monument executed by noted sculptor Elisabet Neyqv was erected at the site.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Dictionary of American Biography. William Preston Johnston, The Life of General Albert Sidney Johnston (New York: Appleton, 1978). W. C. Nunn, ed., Ten More Texans in Gray (Hillsboro, Texas: Hill Junior College Press, 1980). Charles P. Roland, Albert Sidney Johnston (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1964). Samuel Manton Willbanks, Public and Military Career of Albert Sidney Johnston (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1932).
Jeanette H. Flachmeier
"JOHNSTON, ALBERT SIDNEY." The Handbook of Texas Online. http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/JJ/fjo32.html
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