General Albert Sidney Johnston

(b. February 2, 1803, Washington, Ky.; d. April 6, 1862, Shiloh, Tenn.). Albert Sidney Johnston, who fought in four wars, was the youngest son of Dr. John and Abigail Harris Johnston. His early education was in local schools, and he then attended Transylvania University in Lexington.

After graduating, he was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., where he graduated in 1926, eighth in his class. He married
Henrietta Preston of Louisville in 1829, and they had three children. Albert Johnston was assigned to military posts in New York and Missouri before
serving in the Black Hawk War in 1832 as adjutant to the commanding general. Johnston resigned from the U.S. Army in 1834 and returned to Kentucky to care for his dying invalid wife. After her death on August 12, 1835, Johnston moved to Texas, where he took up farming. During the Texas
War of Independence from Mexico in the 1830s, he enlisted in the Texas Army and by January 1837 had become the senior general of the Army of

On February 7, 1837, Johnston fought a duel with Brig. Gen. Felix Houston of the Texas Army, in which Johnston was seriously wounded; as a result, he lost his commission. On December 22, 1838, Mirabeau Lamar, president of the Texas Republic, appointed Johnston as his secretary of war.
In February 1840, Johnston resigned from that position and returned home to Washington, Ky. He married Eliza Griffin of Louisville in 1843, and the
newlyweds moved to a large Texas plantation, which Johnston named China Grove.

He rejoined the U.S. Army during the Mexican War, where he served gallantly as a staff officer under fellow Kentuckian Gen. Zachary Taylor. He
participated in the Battle of Monterrey in September 1846. After the war concluded in 1848, Johnston resigned his commission in the U.S. Army and returned to his Texas plantation. Before long he reentered the U.S. Army, and in December 1849 President Zachary Taylor (1849–1850) appointed
him, with the rank of major, an army paymaster, he held the position for five years.

During the Civil War, Confederate President Jefferson Davis appointed Johnston to be a general in the Confederate Army and made him commander of the Confederate Army’s western theater of operations. On April 6, 1862, Johnston led his forces in a surprise attack against Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s forces at Shiloh Methodist Church near Pittsburg Landing on the Tennessee River in Tennessee. During the battle Johnston was hit in the leg by friendly fire and eventually bled to death from the wound. He was buried in New Orleans but was later re-interred in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin,Tex. In honor of Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, the Texas Historical Commission erected a historical marker near what was once the entrance to his China Grove plantation.

Johnston, William Preston. The Life of Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston. New York: D. Appleton, 1878.
Roland, Charles P. Albert Sidney Johnston: Soldier of Three Republics, Austin: Univ. of Texas Press,1964.
Shotgun’s Home of the American Civil War. “Albert Sidney Johnston.” (accessed March 17, 2006).