Biography of Joseph Eccleston Johnston
Celebrated American Biographies

JOSEPH ECCLESTON JOHNSTON, a noted general in the Confederate army, was born in Prince Edward county. Virginia, in 1807. He graduated from West Point and entered the army in 1829. For a number of years his chief service was garrison duty. He saw active service, however, in the Seminole war in Florida, part of the time as a staff officer of General Scott. He resigned his commission in 1837, hut returned to the army a year later, and was brevetted captain for gallant services in Florida. He was made first lieutenant of topographical engineers, and was engaged in fiver and harbor improvements and also in the survey of the Texas boundary and the northern boundary of the United States until the beginning of the war with Mexico. He was at the siege of Vera Cruz, and at the battle of Cerro Gordo was wounded while reconnoitering the enemy's position, after which he was brevetted major and colonel. He was in all the battles about the city of Mexico, and was again wounded in the final assault upon that city. After the. Mexican war closed he returned to duty as captain of topographical engineers, but in 1855 he was made lieutenant colonel of cavalry and did frontier duty, and was appointed inspector general of the expedition to Utah. In 1860 he was appointed quartermaster general with rank of brigadier general. At the outbreak of hostilities in 1861 he resigned his, commission and received the appointment of major general of the Confederate army. He held Harper's Ferry, and later fought General Patterson about Winchester. At the battle of Bull Run he declined command in favor of Beauregard, and acted under that general's directions. He commanded the Confederates in the famous Peninsular campaign, and was severely wounded at Fair Oaks and was succeeded in command by General Lee. Upon his recovery he was made lieutenant general and assigned to the command of the southwestern department He attempted to raise the siege of Vicksburg, and was finally defeated at Jackson, Mississippi. Having been made a general he succeeded General Bragg in command of the army of Tennessee and was ordered to check General, Sherman's advance upon Atlanta, Not daring to risk a battle with the overwhelming forces of Sherman, he slowly retreated toward Atlanta, and was relieved of command by President Davis and succeeded by General Hood. Hood utterly destroyed his own army by three furious attacks upon Sherman. Johnston was restored to command in the Carolinas, and again faced Sherman, but was defeated in several engagements and continued a slow retreat toward Richmond. Hearing of Lee's shrrender, he communicated with General Sherman, and finally surrendered his army at Durham, North Carolina, April 26, 1865.

General Johnston was elected a member of the forty sixth congress and was appointed United States railroad commissioner in 1885. His death occurred March 21, 1891.

A Biographical Record
Of Schuyler County, New York
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
New York and Chicago 1903.


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