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Joseph Johnston

Facts, information and articles about Joseph Johnston, a Civil War General during the American Civil War

Joseph Johnston Facts


February 3, 1807 Farmville, Virginia


March 21, 1891 Washington, D.C.

Years Of Service

1829–37 and 1838–61 (USA)
1861–65 (CSA)


Brigadier General (USA)
General (CSA)


Army of the Shenandoah (1861)
Army of Northern Virginia (1861–1862)
Department of the West (1862-1863)
Army of Tennessee (1863-1864)
Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, and also the Department of North Carolina and Southern Virginia (1865)


Mexican-American War
Battle of Cerro Gordo
Battle of Chapultepec
Seminole Wars
First Battle of Bull Run
Peninsula Campaign
Battle of Seven Pines
Vicksburg Campaign
Atlanta Campaign
Battle of Bentonville

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Joseph Johnston summary: Joseph Eggleston Johnston (1807 -1891) was the seventh son born to Judge Peter Johnston and Mary Valentine Wood near Farmville, Virginia. He attended the United States Military Academy. In 1845 Johnston married Lydia Mulligan Sims McLane but bore no children.

Johnston Joins The U.S. Army

In 1837 he resigned from the army and later became a civilian topographic engineer aboard a ship during the Second Seminole War. It was here where he received the first of many injuries by a bullet which scraped his scalp. After more combats as a civilian, Johnston rejoined the army and fought in the Mexican-American War.

He constantly requested Jefferson Davis to be promoted further up the ranks, but Davis refused. This led to a major fall out between the pair. However, Johnston was promoted up through the ranks and in 1860 was Quartermaster General of the U.S. Army.

Johnston In The Civil War

When Civil War broke in 1861 and after Virginia seceded, Johnston resigned from the army. He was the highest ranking officer to leave the U.S. army for the Confederacy. He became a brigadier general and took over command of troops from Colonel Thomas Jackson. He was promoted to general in August 1861, but was angry that he was junior to three others. He felt he should have been the senior officer.

He was placed in command of the Army of the Potomac. He fought and was forced to surrender in numerous battles and gained more injuries. He did realise that there were very little resources and tried to protect these assets. Johnston had to evacuate Jackson, Ms as he had very few men, and the city was burned and destroyed.

At the end of the war, Johnston negotiated surrender with Major General William T. Sherman from the Union on April 26th 1865. After this Sherman gave Johnston’s men 10 days of ration food. Johnston never forgot this gesture of goodwill.

Articles Featuring Joseph Johnston From History Net Magazines

Articles 1

America’s Civil War: September 1997 From the EditorAt Antietam, George McClellan and his ‘bodyguard’ dawdled throughout a long ‘Fatal Thursday.’ This issue of America’s Civil War takes a close look at the Battle of Antietam on this, the 135th anniversary of the battle. There are feature-length articles on the fighting around Dunker church and Bloody Lane, as well as a "Personality" piece …
General Samuel Garland – May ’96 America’s Civil War FeaturePERSONALITY When Samuel Garland fell at South Mountain, the Confederacy lost a promising general and a proven leader. By James K. Swisher In the years following the Civil War, the loss of outstanding young leaders in that fratricidal conflict had an immeasurable effect upon state and local affairs. The war had rapidly expanded to a …
An Englishman’s Journey Through the Confederacy – July ’96 America’s Civil War FeatureSuave, gentlemanly Lt. Col. Arthur Fremantle of Her Majesty’s Coldstream Guards picked an unusual vacation spot: the Civil War-torn United States. By Robert R. Hodges, Jr. After graduating from Sandhurst, Great Britain’s West Point, Arthur James Lyon Fremantle entered the army in 1852 and soon became an officer in England’s renowned Coldstream Guards (both his …
Kill Cavalry’s Nasty Surprise – Nov. ’96 America’s Civil War FeatureKill Cavalry’s NASTY SURPRISE Union General William Sherman considered Judson Kilpatrick, his cavalry chief, ‘a hell of a damn fool.’ At Monroe’s Cross Roads, N.C., his carelessness and disobedience of orders proved Sherman’s point. By William Preston Mangum II Major General William Tecumseh Sherman had made a swift and steady advance through Georgia and South …
Last-Ditch Rebel Stand at Petersburg – Cover Page: May ’97 America’s Civil War FeatureLast-Ditch Rebel Stand at PetersburgBy Ronald E. Bullock After nearly 10 months of trench warfare, Confederate resistance at Petersburg, Va., suddenly collapsed. Desperate to save his army, Robert E. Lee called on his soldiers for one last miracle. After more than nine months of squalid trench warfare around the beleaguered Southern city of Petersburg, Virginia, …

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