Albert Sidney Johnston


Reference: Alabama Department of Archives & History. Custodian of the original pictures. Confederate Officers photo album.

Headstone: Find-a-Grave

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Albert Sidney Johnston was born in Washington, Kentucky, on February 2, 1803. He was educated at Transylvania University and at West Point, from which he was graduated in 1826. He served in the army for a number of years and saw action in the Black Hawk War before resigning in 1834. In 1836 he went to Texas and enlisted as a private in the revolutionary army. Within a year he rose to be senior brigadier general and chief commander. He was secretary of war of the Republic of Texas from 1838 to 1840. After Texas was admitted to the Union, he became colonel of a regiment of Texas volunteers in the Mexican War and fought at Monterrey. He was reappointed to the U. S. Army in 1849 and served on the Texas frontier, becoming colonel of the 2nd Cavalry in 1855, and was in command of the Department of Texas from 1856 to 1858. He led the Utah expedition against the Mormons in 1857 and was made brevet brigadier general for his services. From 1858 to 1860 he commanded the Department of Utah. When Texas seceded from the Union Johnston was commanding the Department of the Pacific; he resigned his commission on May 3, 1861, and was appointed a full general in the Regular Army of the Confederacy on August 31, 1861 to rank from May 30, 1861. Placed in command of all Confederate troops west of the Alleghenies, he strove to implement the current Richmond strategy of holding all points of the invaded states with isolated detachments. After concentrating an army at Corinth, Mississippi, he successfully attacked Grant at Shiloh; but he was mortally wounded in the engagement and died on the battlefield, April 6, 1862. Johnston's military capabilities constitute one of the more controversial issues of the Civil War. President Davis, who had implicit confidence in him, remarked in the face of entreaties for his removal after the loss of Forts Henry and Donelson that, "if Sidney Johnston is not a general ... we have no general."  On the other hand, Grant in retrospect felt him to be distinctly overrated, and though bold in design, "vacillating and undecided in his actions." Strictly on the basis of performance it cannot be said that he made any monumental contribution to the Confederate cause; and his death occurred after many of the initial advantages enjoyed by the South in the area west of the mountains had been yielded. He is buried in the State Cemetery, Austin, Texas.

Ref: Generals in Gray, Lives of the Confederate Commanders by Ezra J. Warner.  Printed by Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge and London.