General Albert Sidney Johnston (February 2, 1803 – April 6, 1862) was an American soldier and military leader. He was born in Kentucky and later lived much of his life in Texas.
In 1826 he graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY with a commission in the infantry. As a US Army officer, he was assigned to posts in New York and Missouri. He served in the Black Hawk War in 1832. After resigning his US Army commission in 1834, he returned to Kentucky to care for his dying wife. In April 1834 Johnston took up farming in Texas but enlisted as a Private in the Texas Army during the Texas War of Independence against Mexico in 1836.
One month later, he was appointed to the position of Adjutant General and in January of 1837, he became Senior Brigadier General in Command of the Republic Army. He was appointed supreme Commander in chief of the Texas Army in January 1837 and Secretary of War for the Republic of Texas. The Second President of the Republic of Texas, Mirabeau B. Lamar, appointed him Secretary of War in December of 1838. In 1840, he returned to Kentucky and married Eliza Griffin in 1843. They settled on a large plantation in Brazoria Country he named China Grove.
He returned to the Texas Army during the Mexican-American War under General Zachary Taylor as a Colonel of the 1st Texas Rifle Volunteers fighting at the Battle of Monterrey on September 20-24, 1846. Johnson, now a Major, was made a U.S. Army Paymaster in December 1849 . Later as a Colonel in the United States Army, he served on the Texas frontier and in the West. As a key figure in the Utah War, he led U.S. troops who established a non-Mormon government in the formerly Mormon territory. At the outbreak of the American Civil War, he was the commander of the US Army in the California. He was approached by some Californians who urged him to take his forces east to join them against the Confederacy. He declined and instead, he resigned from the US Army and was appointed a General by President of the Confederate States of America Jefferson Davis. Johnston became the second highest ranking Confederate General as commander of the Western Department in September 1861 raising the Army of the Mississippi to defend Confederate lines from the Mississippi River to Kentucky and the Alleghenie Mountains .
Loosing Fort Henry on February 6, 1862 and Fort Donelson on February 14, 1862 to Union General Ulysses S. Grant, Johnston organized the defenses at Corinth, Mississippi after the Confederate defeat at Nashville.
He was wounded at the Battle of Shiloh in 1862, taking a bullet behind his right knee while leading a charge against the Union Army. He did not think the wound serious at the time, and sent his personal physician to attend to some wounded Union soldiers. The bullet had in fact clipped the popliteal artery. Within a few minutes Johnston was observed by his staff to be nearly fainting off of his horse, and asked him if he was wounded, to which he replied "Yes, and I fear seriously."
Johnston had fought a duel several years earlier in which a bullet to the right hip caused nerve damage to that leg. It is possible that Johnston did not feel the wound to his leg as a result.
Johnston was taken to a small ravine, where efforts to find the wound did not succeed. Only after he had died did the staff notice a 6-8 foot stream of blood coming out of his right boot.
Ironically, it is probable that a Confederate soldier fired the fatal round. No Union soldiers were observed to have ever gotten behind Johnston during the fatal charge, while it is known that many Confederates were firing at the Union lines while Johnston charged well in advance of his soldiers.
Johnston was buried in New Orleans, Louisiana. In 1866, a joint resolution of the Texas Legislature was passed to have his body reinterred to the Texas State Cemetery in Austin (the re-interment occurred in 1867). Four decades later, the state appointed Elisbet Ney to design a monument and sculpture of him to be erected at his gravesite.
The Texas Historical Commission has erected a historical marker near the entrance of what was once his plantation. An adjacent marker was erected by the San Jacinto Chapter of the Daughters of The Republic of Texas and the Lee, Roberts, and Davis Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederate States of America .
Albert Sidney Johnston (February 2, 1803-April 6, 1862) was a Confederate General during the American Civil War.
William Preston Johnson, The Life of Albert Sidney Johnston, New York, 1878
Charles P. Roland, Albert Sidney Johnston: Soldier of Three Republics, Austin, 1964