Albert Sidney Johnston

During the first day of the Battle of Shiloh, on April 6, 1862, Albert Sidney Johnston sustained a bullet wound to his right leg and bled to death. [Library of Congress]

Albert Sidney Johnston - Facts

February 2, 1803 – April 6, 1862

Key facts about Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston.

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Full Name:

  • Albert Sidney Johnston

Birth Date:

  • February 2, 1803

Birth Location:

  • Washington, Kentucky

Parents:

  • Dr. John Johnston and Abigail (Harris) Johnston

Education:

  • United States Military Academy (1826)

Occupation:

  • Military officer

Career Summary:

  • Republic of Texas Secretary of War
  • Major (USA)
  • Brevet Brigadier General (US)
  • General (CSA)

Spouses:

  • Henrietta Preston (1829)
  • Eliza Griffin (1843)

Place of Death:

  • Hardin County, Tennessee (Battle of Shiloh)

Date of Death:

  • April 6, 1862

Place of Burial:

  • Texas State Cemetery, Austin, Texas

Significance:

  • Albert Sidney Johnston was the youngest son of Dr. John Johnston and Abigail Harris Johnston.
  • Albert Sidney Johnston attended Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky.
  • While enrolled at Transylvania University, Albert Sidney Johnston may have become acquainted with future U.S. Secretary of War and Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
  • In 1832, Albert Sidney Johnston received an appointment to the United States Military Academy.
  • Albert Sidney Johnston and Jefferson Davis developed a friendship at the United States Military Academy that benefitted Johnston throughout his career.
  • Albert Sidney Johnston graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1826, ranked eighth in his class of 41 cadets.
  • Upon graduating from the United States Military Academy Albert Sidney Johnston was commissioned as a brevet second lieutenant in the 2nd U.S. Infantry.
  • During his early military career, Albert Sidney Johnston was stationed at Sackett’s Harbor, New York and at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri.
  • Albert Sidney Johnston married Henrietta Preston on January 20, 1829.
  • Albert Sidney Johnston and Henrietta Preston produced two daughters, and a son, William Preston Johnston, who later served in the Confederate Army.
  • Albert Sidney Johnston served as chief of staff to Brevet Brigadier General Henry Atkinson during the Black Hawk War in Illinois in 1832.
  • Albert Sidney Johnston resigned his commission on April 22, 1834 to care for his wife who had contracted tuberculosis.
  • Albert Sidney Johnston moved to Texas in 1835 after his wife died.
  • In 1836 Albert Sidney Johnston enlisted as a private in the Texas Army and took up arms against Mexico during the Texas War for Independence.
  • On August 5, 1836, after the Texas War for Independence had ended, Commander-in-chief Thomas Jefferson Rusk appointed Albert Sidney Johnston as adjutant general of the Army of the Republic of Texas.
  • On January 31, 1837, Albert Sidney Johnston replaced Felix Huston as senior brigadier general in command of the Army of the Republic of Texas.
  • Albert Sidney Johnston was severely wounded by a gunshot to the pelvis during a duel with Felix Huston. The wound injured Johnston’s sciatic nerve, causing him to lose some feeling in his right leg for the rest of his life.
  • On December 22, 1838, Texas President Mirabeau B. Lamar appointed Albert Sidney Johnston as secretary of war of the Republic of Texas.
  • In 1839, Albert Sidney Johnston conducted the last campaign against the Cherokee Indians in northeast Texas.
  • On October 3, 1843, Albert Sidney Johnston married Eliza Griffin, a cousin of his first wife. Johnston’s second marriage produced six more children.
  • In 1843, Albert Sidney Johnston returned to Texas and purchased China Grove, a plantation in Brazoria County.
  • During the Mexican–American War (April 25, 1846 – February 2, 1848), Albert Sidney Johnston served under General Zachary Taylor as a colonel with the First Texas Rifle Volunteers and he fought at the Battle of Monterrey (September 21 – 24, 1846) and the Battle of Buena Vista (February 22 – 23, 1847).
  • On December 2, 1849, Albert Sidney Johnston returned to the U.S. Army as a major and as a paymaster, serving in the American West.
  • Albert Sidney Johnston commanded the Department of Texas from 1856 to 1858.
  • In 1857 – 58, Albert Sidney Johnston participated in the Utah War, an armed confrontation between Mormon settlers in the Utah Territory and the United States Army.
  • Albert Sidney Johnston commanded the Department of Utah from 1858 to 1860.
  • In 1860, Albert Sidney Johnston was reassigned to San Francisco, taking command of the Department of the Pacific on December 21.
  • After Albert Sidney Johnston’s adopted home state of Texas seceded from the Union, he resigned his commission in the U.S. Army on April 9, 1861.
  • After resigning from the U.S. Army in 1861, Albert Sidney Johnston joined the Los Angeles Mounted Rifles as a private and began a long and arduous overland trip back east.
  • In September 1861, the Confederation Congress approved President Jefferson Davis’s nomination of Albert Sidney Johnston as a full general, effective May 30, 1861, making him the second highest ranking officer in the Confederate Army.
  • In September 1861, Confederate President Jefferson Davis appointed Albert Sidney Johnston as commander of the Western Department, consisting of the entire Confederacy west of the Appalachian Mountains.
  • On October 28, 1861, Albert Sidney Johnston assumed personal command of the Army of Central Kentucky.
  • Albert Sidney Johnston withdrew the Army of Central Kentucky from Bowling Green, Kentucky on February 13, 1862.
  • Pressed by Major General Don Carlos Buell’s Army of the Ohio, Albert Sidney Johnston evacuated central Tennessee and retreated to Corinth, Mississippi, where he joined forces with General P.G.T. Beauregard’s Army of Mississippi.
  • Albert Sidney Johnston’s withdrawal from Tennessee enabled Major General Don Carlos Buell to occupy Nashville on February 25, making it the first Confederate capital to fall during the Civil War.
  • After Albert Sidney Johnston withdrew his army from Tennessee delegates to the Confederate Congress, along with the Southern press called for Johnston’s removal.
  • On the morning of April 6, 1862, Confederate troops commanded by Albert Sidney Johnston initiated the Battle of Shiloh by launching a surprise attack on Major general Ulysses S. Grant’s Army of West Tennessee.
  • During the first day of the Battle of Shiloh, on April 6, 1862, Albert Sidney Johnston sustained a bullet wound to his right leg and bled to death.
  • Albert Sidney Johnston was initially buried in New Orleans.
  • In 1867, Albert Sidney Johnston’s body was reinterred at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin.
  • Albert Sidney Johnston was the highest ranking officer on either side to die in combat during the Civil War.
  • After the Civil War, Confederate President Jefferson Davis wrote, “When Sidney Johnston fell, it was the turning point of our fate; for we had no other hand to take up his work in the West.”
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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Albert Sidney Johnston - Facts
  • Coverage February 2, 1803 – April 6, 1862
  • Author
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date November 29, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update April 29, 2021
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