Biography of Albert Sidney Johnston


Johnston, Albert Sidney (1803-1862), an American soldier. He was a native of Kentucky, a graduate of West Point. In 1834 he left the United States Army and took up land in Texas. He became connected with the military affairs of that republic, rising from one position to another, until he became Texan secretary of war. He took part in the movement for the annexation of Texas to the United States, and joined the American forces for the invasion of Mexico. Three horses were shot under him at the battle of Monterey. In 1857 Jefferson Davis, his old classmate and a lifelong friend, the United States secretary of war, sent him in command of an expedition to bring the Mormons of Utah to terms. He managed the affair with tact. When the Civil War broke out, Davis, then president of the Confederacy, appointed him to the command of the forces in the West. He was unable to hold Kentucky against Grant, but united his forces with those of Beauregard and struck Grant at Pittsburg Landing, or Shiloh, as the battle is sometimes called. As is well known Grant's army was driven in confusion to the river. In the moment of apparent victory Johnston fell from his horse. A bullet had severed an artery in his thigh. He bled to death in fifteen minutes. Many critics believe that, if it had not been for his death, Grant's army would have been annihilated before Buell arrived to reinforce him. President Davis considered that he had lost the most brilliant military mind in the Confederacy.