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Albert Sidney Johnston (1803–1862)

At the age of 59, Albert Sidney Johnston was one of the Confederacy’s senior commanders at the start of the Civil War. Johnston’s military career began at West Point in 1822, just a few months after the birth of another and future West Pointer, Ulysses S. Grant. Johnston saw service in the Black Hawk War (1832), the Texas revolution (1836), and the Mexican War (1846). Experience alone promised that his services would be sought after in the sectional crises of 1861. The federal government offered Johnston a high command, but he declined. Instead, he went to Richmond and was made a Confederate general and placed in command of the Western Department. Much was expected of Johnston’s army to hold Tennessee, in spite of being outnumbered two to one. Yet Union victories under Grant at forts Henry and Donelson in February 1862 opened up much of the contested state. In April, Johnston’s army endured a fiercely fought inconclusive battle at Shiloh Church, near Pittsburg Landing. Losses were high on both sides. Johnston was fatally wounded in the leg and bled to death.

George Edward Perine (1837–1885)
Mezzotint, 1867
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution


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