Sunday, August 28, 2011

Civil War Series on Sunday - Union General joins Confederacy

Civil War Series on Sunday
Union General joins Confederacy

In Apr 2010, I shared the story of my fourth cousin, twice removed, Albert Sydney Johnston, in some detail. As we approach the first of September, 2011, it is worth remembering what was going on 150 years ago this week. After the Mexican-American War, Johnston returned to his Texas plantation until President Taylor re-appointed him to the U.S. Army to establish a non-Mormon government in the formerly Mormon territory. He was promoted to brevet brigadier general in 1857 for his service in Utah. He spent 1860 in Kentucky until December 21 when he sailed for California to take command of the Department of the Pacific.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, he was approached to take his Union forces east. However, when he heard of the secession of Texas, he resigned his commission on 9 April 1861; it was accepted by the War Department on 6 May 1861. He managed to work his way east*, reaching Richmond, Virginia, about the first of September, 1861. There Johnston was appointed a full general by his friend, Jefferson Davis. He became the second highest ranking Confederate general as commander of the Western Department.

He "lives in infamy" of course, dying at the Battle of Shiloh, the highest ranking officer, Union or Confederate, killed during the entire war. Jefferson Davis believed the loss of Johnston "was the turning point of our fate."

*On April 28 he moved to Los Angeles where he had family and remained where until May when, suspected by local Union authorities, he evaded arrest and joined the Los Angeles Mounted Rifles as a private, leaving Warner's Ranch May 27. He participated in their trek across the southwestern deserts to Texas, crossing the Colorado River in the Confederate Territory of Arizona on July 4, 1861.

[I noted there that much of the "information is based mostly on, paraphrased and edited for this presentation."]

Families are Forever!  ;-)


  1. Dr. Bill,
    General Johnston was a good man. Reminds me a lot of General Lee in that he was extremely amicable. The problem he had was the fact he didn't have the subordinates that Lee had. Johnston's subordinates needed someone who would knock them around and force them to obey. I enjoy your blog. My book on Shiloh will be out by March. Thanks for the kind words, Tim.

  2. Thank you for the comment, Tim. Best wishes to you on the book on Shiloh. ;-) I enjoyed visiting and joining your blog.