Joseph E. Johnston: A Civil War Biography (Norton Paperback)
Craig L. Symonds
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
"Riveting. . . . A thoughtful biography." ―New York Times Book Review
General Joseph E. Johnston was in command of Confederate forces at the South's first victory―Manassas in July 1861―and at its last―Bentonville in April 1965. Many of his contemporaries considered him the greatest southern field commander of the war; others ranked him second only to Robert E. Lee.
But Johnston was an enigmatic man. His battlefield victories were never decisive. He failed to save Confederate forces under siege by Grant at Vicksburg, and he retreated into Georgia in the face of Sherman's march. His intense feud with Jefferson Davis ensured the collapse of the Confederacy's western campaign in 1864 and made Johnston the focus of a political schism within the government.
Now in this rousing narrative of Johnston's dramatic career, Craig L. Symonds gives us the first rounded portrait of the general as a public and private man.
(Special Orders No. 83). In them G. W. Smith was assigned command of the Aquia District; Walker and Wilcox’s brigades were detailed to go with Holmes. See O.R., I, 11(3):392. 17. Huger to Lee, 24 March 1862, Charles Collins to J. A. Winston, 24 March 1862, and Magruder to Randolph, 25 March 1862, all in O.R., I, 11(3):394, 395. 18. Lee to JEJ, 25 March 1862, and JEJ to Lee 27 March 1862, both in O.R., I, 11(3):397, 405. 19. Johnston, Narrative, 110; both letters to Lee are dated 28 March 1862,
Taken from Civil War Volunteer questionnaires, quoted in Fred A. Bailey, Class and Tennessee’s Confederate Generation (Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 1987), 91; Watkins, “Co. Aytch,” 132. 5. Nathaniel C. Hughes, Jr., General William J. Hardee: Old Reliable (Baton Rouge, La.: Louisiana State University Press, 1965); Warner, Generals in Gray, 124–5; Connelly, Autumn of Glory, 315. 6. Christopher Losson, Tennessee’s Forgotten Warriors: Frank Cheatham and His Confederate
evidence that Johnston continued to visit the McLanes. After spending the winter of 1841 in Texas, and the following fall surveying Sackett’s Harbor in New York, he returned to Washington for the winter of 1842 and worked again at the Topographical Bureau where, as before, his job was to render the maps of his summer surveys. He bought a new wardrobe for himself that fall, including a cashmere vest and a merino scarf, and in February he plunked down thirty-four dollars, a huge sum on his income,
campaign. “Joe Johnston is fat, ruddy, & hearty,” Lee wrote to a mutual friend. “I think a little lead, properly taken, is good for a man.”39 With the fall of Mexico City, the war was all but over. Santa Anna managed to gather yet another army and continued to constitute a threat to American outposts like Jalapa, but the serious campaigning had ended. During the winter months that followed, Johnston served with the occupation forces in Tacubaya and Toluca, west of Mexico City. For a few brief
was again in motion. This time Patterson advanced ten miles from Martinsburg to Bunker Hill, halfway to Winchester, where, once again, he halted. The Union forces probed cautiously toward Smithfield on July 17, leading Johnston to suspect, finally, that Patterson “was merely holding us in check while General Beauregard should be attacked at Manassas. . . .”24 At one hour past midnight on the morning of July 18, Johnston was still awake and worrying about the meaning of Patterson’s movements when