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Joseph E. Johnston
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Military Personnel
    (February 3, 1807-March 21, 1891)
    Born in Farmville, Virginia
    Served in the Mexican-American War (1845-48)
    Quartermaster General of the US Army (1860-61)
    Resigned to join the Confederate Army
    Commanded the Army of the Shenandoah (1861), Army of Northern Virginia (1861-62), Department of the West (1863), Army of Tennessee (1864) and jointly the Department of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida and Department of North Carolina and Southern Virginia (1865)
    US Representative from Virginia's 3rd District (1879-81)
    General Winfield Scott, the US commander in the Mexican-American War, said, 'Johnston is a great soldier, but he had an unfortunate knack of getting himself shot in nearly every engagement.'
    The Secretary of War who named him Quartermaster General happened to be his cousin by marriage.
    He complained often that although he was the highest-ranking US officer to join the Confederacy, he was only the fourth-ranking general in the Confederate Army.
    He clashed repeatedly with Jefferson Davis, who felt he was insufficiently aggressive.
    After the fall of Vicksburg, Davis blamed the defeat on 'a lack of provisions inside, and a general outside [Johnston] who would not fight.'
    Confederate diarist Mary Chesnut wrote, 'We thought this was a struggle for independence. Now it seems it is only a fight between Joe Johnston and Jeff Davis.'
    He died of pneumonia after refusing to wear a hat as a sign of respect while serving as a pallbearer at the funeral of General William T. Sherman.
    He had a permanent scar on his scalp after being wounded by a bullet during the Second Seminole War (1838).
    He refused to use his position as Quartermaster to favor the South in distributing war material as the US started breaking up.
    He and General P.G.T. Beauregard designed the Confederate battle flag.
    His opponents, Generals Grant and Sherman, praised his abilities.
    He never forgot General Sherman's generosity after his army's surrender, when Sherman issued ten days' rations to the hungry Confederate soldiers and distributed corn meal and flour to the civilian population.
    When an onlooker at Sherman's funeral urged him to put on his hat, he replied, 'If I were in his place and he standing here in mine, he would not put on his hat.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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