Jane Claudia Johnson: Heroine of the 1st Maryland Volunteer Infantry, C.S.A.
by Gary Baker

The end of America's Ante-bellum era came with a resounding crash on April 12, 1861, when Confederate forces in Charleston, South Carolina, opened fire on Fort Sumter. For many Americans, Northerners and Southerners alike, whose loyalties were torn between their state and their country, economics and morality, family ties and political beliefs, the bombardment brought an abrupt end to their indecision. It also brought to an end Virginia's fence sitting concerning the issue of secession. Up until the South Carolina militia under the command of General Pierre G.T. Beauregard shelled Fort Sumter, Virginia had been unable to decide which path she should follow. Many Virginians, such as Robert E. Lee, who had openly declared that secession was nothing more than treason, had hoped that war would be avoided. Most Virginias actually opposed secession in 1860. In January of 1861 the state legislature had called for a convention on the issue, and secessionist suffered a stiff setback in the election of representatives to the convention. Roughly seventy-five percent of Virginia's delegates were moderates. In February the Virginia legislature called for a "Peace Convention" which was held in Washington, D.C., where representatives from all over the upper South debated various proposals concerning the issue of slavery and how the Union might be reconstructed to insure that slavery and the Union continued to co-exist. But once the news of the bombardment reached Richmond, all hope of Virginia remaining in the Union came to an end. Over the next four years Virginia's landscape would be devastated because of the decision that her citizens made in the midst of the frenzy and excitement that permeated Richmond and other communities throughout the state during the week that followed the bombardment. On April 17th Virginia left the Union, and ten days later joined the Confederate States of America.

Virginia's secession placed her sister state Maryland, in a desperate and awkward situation. Washington, D. C., the capital of the United States was softly nestled along the Potomac River between Virginia and Maryland, placing Maryland, a slave state whose slave population had been steadily decreasing while it's free black population had been steadily increasing over the previous thirty years, directly between those states that had remained loyal to the Union, and those who were leaving it. Like Virginia, Maryland's loyalties were divided. Since the 1830's Maryland had seen a large influx of Irish and German immigrants who had fled tyranny in their homelands; and while these new comers were as prejudicial against black people as most white Americans were in the 1800's, they could not accept the idea of any man owning another. But many Marylanders owned slaves, and tobacco, grown and harvested by slaves, was the state's cash crop, as it had been since the early 1700's. A large number of Maryland's state legislatures were slave owners themselves, or supported the institution of slavery, and they had vowed to follow Virginia if she left the Union. Many other Marylanders, who may or may not have supported slavery, did believe that the individual states had the right of self determination, and that the Federal government's role in their lives should be a limited one. But Maryland's Governor, Thomas Holliday Hicks, a staunch Unionist, tried to steer a course of neutrality between the two factions, declaring "we have violated no rights of either section. We have been loyal to the Union. The unhappy contest between the two sections has not been tormented or encouraged by us, although we have suffered from it in the past. We have done all we could to avert it." (1) Governor Hicks even offered to serve as an arbitrator for the two sides.

Though Abraham Lincoln had hoped that some sort of compromise could be found to hold the Union together, the attack on Fort Sumter forced the new President's hand. Lincoln immediately called for 75,000 volunteers to squelch the rebellion. In response to the President's call, Massachusetts, which had been in the process of calling out it's militia, sent several regiments to Washington. In order to reach the capital, those troops, like any other troops drawn from the northern states, had to pass through the Maryland countryside, which was about to explode.

Though the city of Baltimore was the terminus for five major railroads by the mid 1800's, due to city ordinances, not one passed through the city limits. Consequently, passengers passing through Baltimore were forced to change rail lines once they arrived in the city. In order to do so, they had to disembark from their train once it arrived, and make their way across town to the terminus of their connecting line. In some instances passengers walked or caught a lift to their departure station. In others, the cars were disconnected from the arriving train and pulled across town by a team of horses. On April 19th, responding to President Lincoln's call to arms, the 6th Massachusetts arrived in Baltimore from Philadelphia on the Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore Railroad. Once they left their train, the nervous volunteers, who had heard rumors in Philadelphia that they might be attacked when they arrived in Baltimore, loaded their rifles, and then proceeded down Pratt Street toward the Baltimore & Ohio station at Camden Yards. They soon encountered a mob blocking their path. A vicious riot ensued, leaving twelve civilians and four soldiers dead. Baltimore erupted. Local militia's armed themselves, and para-military organizations from throughout the state poured into the city. To prevent additional Federal troops from passing through the state, riders rode into northern Baltimore County and burned bridges on every major artery leading into Baltimore. Isaac Ridgeway Trimble, with a contingent of militia and Baltimore Police, commandeered a train of the Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore Railroad and proceeded northeast toward the Susquehanna River. Along their route they burned railroad trestles and cut telegraph wires. Baltimore, and Washington as well, were virtually cut off from the North.

Trimble's actions forced a second regiment of Massachusetts volunteers to commandeer the ferry boat "Maryland" and proceed down the Chesapeake Bay to Annapolis, the state capital. After securing Annapolis they moved on to relieve Washington. On April 22nd Governor Hicks wired President Lincoln, informing him that "I feel it my duty most respectfully to advise you that no more troops be ordered or allowed to pass through Maryland, and that the troops now off Annapolis be sent elsewhere; and I most respectfully urge that a truce be offered by you so that the effusion of blood may be prevented." (2)

Prior to the Baltimore Riot, Governor Hicks had been under intense pressure by both his constituents and his cabinet, who demanded to know what course Maryland would follow. Maryland's State Legislature met only once every two years and was out of secession in 1861. For some time Hicks used this as an excuse not to call the legislature together, but the events of mid-April forced him into action. On the same day that he wired Lincoln to call for peace, Hicks called a special session of the legislature to resolve the issue of secession. Originally he called for the State Legislature to meet in Annapolis on April 26th. But like Baltimore, the state capital was a hot bed of Southern support. Hicks used the excuse that it would be unwise to meet in either city since they were occupied by Federal troops, to convene the legislature in Frederick City. Though there were numerous slave owners and Southern supporters in Frederick, the community was overwhelmingly pro-Union.

After several days of deliberation the Maryland State Legislature concluded that the State Constitution placed the power of secession solely in the hands of the citizens of Maryland. To determine their fate, the citizens of Maryland would have to elect representatives to a state convention to vote on whether or not Maryland would secede. But Maryland's fate was already sealed. Thousands of men loyal to the Union were pouring into Maryland, making their way to Washington. Camps spilled out of the city into the Maryland country side. Major cities found themselves home to small garrisons, and camps were quickly positioned all along the Potomac.

Realizing that Maryland was not in a position to determine her own future, many Marylanders began slipping across the Potomac to offer their services to the Confederacy. Most of these men made their way to either Richmond or the Federal Arsenal at Harpers Ferry, which had been occupied by Colonel Thomas J. Jackson, a relatively unknown professor of artillery from the Virginia Military Institute. Shortly after the legislature's announcement, Bradley Tyler Johnson, a prominent Frederick lawyer, and commander of a local militia unit, met with Jackson, and made arrangements to bring his company into Virginia.

A descendant of Thomas Johnson, Jr., who in 1777 was Maryland's first non-Colonial Governor. Bradley Johnson was an up and coming member of Maryland's Democratic Party. He had held the position of Frederick County's State's Attorney for several terms. In 1857 he made an unsuccessful bid for Comptroller of the Treasury. Shortly afterwards the state Democratic Party appointed him chairman of the state central committee. By the late 1850's Johnson was representing Maryland's Democratic Party at a number of state and national conventions, and in 1860 he directed John C. Breckinridge's presidential campaign in Maryland.

On May 7th, Johnson's wife, Jane Claudia, accompanied by her five year old son, left her comfortable home in Frederick to the care of friends, S. Teakle Willis, John Hanson Thomas, Ross Winans and others, and crossed into Virginia, and made her way to home of family friends in Chestnut Hill. The following day Captain Johnson led his militia to Point of Rocks, where they were met by a Confederate escort and led to Harper's Ferry. (3) Johnson's militia company was soon joined by hundreds of other Maryland volunteers. They were organized into a battalion of six companies, forming a battalion. It was the custom at this time in both armies for units formed outside of the standing army to be sponsored by their native state, unless they were organized by prominent individuals who could afford to buy uniforms, weapons and camp equipment for their men. As Maryland had failed to secede, the Maryland Battalion was without state sponsorship, and no one within it's ranks could afford to sponsor it privately. The State of Virginia offered to sponsor the Marylanders as a Virginia regiment. But Captain Johnson was adamant that while Maryland had not seceded from the Union, she should still be represented in the Confederacy by a Maryland unit; ant that the deeds performed by her native sons serving in the Confederate Army should reflect only upon Maryland, not Virginia, or North Carolina, or any other state. Most of the Marylanders in the Maryland Battalion felt the same way. Since the Baltimore Riots in April and the subsequent bridge burnings in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland had witnessed the occupation of Baltimore by Federal troops, the suppression of newspapers that opposed the Lincoln administration, the arrest of newspaper editors who attempted to exercise their Constitutional right of free speech, and the arrest of several members of the State's legislature. Those arrested were held without trial in direct opposition to the writ of habeas corpus guaranteed by the United States Constitution. Many Marylanders felt that their beloved home by the bay had been invaded by a foreign power, and their emotions were fired by a new song, "Maryland My Maryland," which fellow Marylander James Ryder Randall had composed in April following the Baltimore riots. Playing of, and even owning the sheet music to "Maryland My Maryland" was outlawed in Maryland because it called for the deposing of the despots and tyrants who held the citizens of Maryland under their heels. (4)

To this end, when Robert E. Lee, then the commander of Virginia's state military forces, sent Lieutenant Colonel George Deas, the Inspector General of the Provisional Army of the Confederate States to Harpers Ferry to inspect the measures that Colonel Jackson had taken to defend the garrison, Captain Johnson took the opportunity to convince Colonel Deas to muster his command into the Confederate Army as a Maryland unit. On May 22, 1861 the Maryland Battalion, C.S.A. was born. Shortly after Deas' departure an additional two companies of Marylanders who had organized in Richmond arrived at Harpers Ferry. (5)

On paper the 800 man Maryland Battalion looked like a formidable unit. But with the exception of Johnson's Company A., few men had brought with them side arms, and Johnson's men carried outdated muskets and hand guns. Most of the men in the battalion had slipped across the Potomac with only the clothes on their back and perhaps a change of underware. The battalion was a military unit without uniforms, camp equipment, cooking pots, muskets, ammunition and practically everything else that it took to put a unit in the field. A unit with no sponsorship, and no means of purchasing the items that they needed in order to go to war. But this obstacle was soon over come in a most unique manner.

Shortly after Captain Johnson had established himself at Harper's Ferry his wife joined him there. A native of North Carolina, granddaughter of the Honorable William Johnson, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, and the daughter of one of that state's most prominent citizens, Jane Claudia had spent her entire life in relative comfort. Her father, Romulus Mitchel Saunders, had served as Attorney General, Justice of the State Supreme Court, had represented North Carolina as a Congressman from 1819 to 1844, had been the Speaker of the North Carolina House of Commons, and had served as the United States Minister of Spain from 1845 to 1849. During her father's tenure in Spain, young Jane Claudia had befriended "Eugenie di Montijo, Countess of Teba," (6) who later became the Empress of France.

Mrs. Johnson quickly adapted to the rigors of camp life. But the hardships which she bore to be with her husband were trivial compared to the anguish and despair that she witnessed daily in the eyes of her husband and his men. Here were men who had left their families and friends, their homes and careers, to fight for a cause that they deeply believed in. But they had nothing to fight with, nothing but their spirit. Jane Claudia soon became determined to resolve this problem. She would turn to her father and his political contacts to find the weapons and equipment that the Marylanders needed.

On May 24th, in the company of Captain Wilson Nicholas, Company G., and Lieutenant George Shearer, Company A., Mrs. Johnson left Harper's Ferry for Raleigh, North Carolina, by way of Alexandria. She carried on her person an order signed by Colonel Jackson requesting that immediate transportation be provided to her and her party. When Jane Claudia and her escorts reached Leesburg, they discovered that Federal troops had crossed the Potomac that very day, and occupied Alexandria. With rail transportation to Richmond severed, the party back tracked to Harper's Ferry and made their way to Richmond via Winchester, Strasburg, and Manassas Junction. Communities whose names would soon become very familiar names to the soldiers of the First Maryland Infantry.

Jane Claudia arrived in Raleigh on the 27th. The following day Mrs. Johnson's father arranged for her to meet with the Governor of North Carolina, the Honorable Thomas Ellis, and the State Council. "Governor and gentlemen, " she addressed the council, "I left my husband and his comrades in Virginia. They have left their homes in Maryland to fight for the South. But they have no arms. I have come to my native State to beg my own people to help us. Give arms to my husband and his comrades so that they can help you." (7) Without debate North Carolina's State Council drew up an order for 500 Mississippi Rifles, and 10,000 cartridges..

It so happened that at the time of Jane Claudia's arrival in Raleigh, North Carolina's Constitutional Convention was in session. That night, after meeting with Governor Ellis, Mrs. Johnson attended a public meeting of the convention. Presiding over the convention was ex-Governor David S. Reid. A number of prominent and wealthy citizens were in attendance. Somehow Mr. Reid was convinced to allow Mrs. Johnson to address the convention. Hearing her speak about the needs of the Marylanders, the Honorable Kenneth Rayner took up Mrs. Johnson's cause and addressed the assembly:

"If great events produce great men, so in the scene before us, we have proof that great events produce great women, It is one that partook more of the romance than the realities of life. One of our own daughters, raised in the lap of luxury, blessed with the enjoyment of all the elements of elegance and ease, had quit her peaceful home, followed her husband to the camp, and leaving him in that camp, has come to the home of her childhood to seek aid for him and his comrades, not because he is her husband, but because he is fighting the battles of his country against a tyrant." (8)

The crowd was deeply moved, and many of the people in attendance dug into their pockets and donated money to aid the Marylanders, who Mr. Rayner had exclaimed "were fighting our battles with a halter around their necks." (9) Mrs. Johnson received nearly $10,000 in donations before the meeting was adjourned.

Though she had traveled far, and had not seen her family in quite some time, Mrs. Johnson but aside the temptation to stay and visit with them for a few days. By order of A. R. Chisolm, Aid-deCamp to General Beauregard, the "Conductor of train from Winchester to Harper's Ferry will detain the train one hour of more for arms which are in charge of the bearer." (10) Once the crates containing Mrs. Johnson's Mississippi Rifles and ammunition were loaded on the train, Jane Claudia said her good byes and climbed aboard the train. She could have sat in the comfort of a coach, but this demure woman whose custom it had once been to ride in gilded coaches to the courts of the King of Spain and the Emperor of France, climbed into the box car and took up a seat atop her chargers. As the train chugged steadily north, word of her story raced along the tracks ahead of her. At every whistle stop crowds came to applaud her, and to donate additional funds to her cause. By the time the train rolled into Richmond she had over $10,000 in cash on her person.

In Richmond Mrs. Johnson met with John Letcher, the Governor of Virginia, and procured from him "a supply of blankets and camp equipage, consisting of camp-kettles, hatchets and axes," (11) and left with him an order for forty-one wall tents and assorted supplies. She then set out to rejoin her husband. When she arrived at Harper's Ferry on June 3rd she turned the Mississippi Rifles and ammunition over to the Confederate Ordnance Department, who in turn officially issued the weapons to the Marylanders. In return for the rifles the Ordnance Officer issued Mrs. Johnson a receipt, which read:

"Received, Ordnance Department, Harpers Ferry, Virginia, June 3, 1861, of Mrs. Bradley T. Johnson, Five Hundred Mississippi rifles, (cal. 54), Ten Thousand cartridges and Thirty-five Hundred caps.

G.M. Cochran Master of Ordnance." (12)

Before she had time to settle into her quarters Mrs. Johnson received a visit from Colonel Jackson and his staff, who called on her to thank her for her outstanding accomplishment. But Jane Claudia was not done, and had little time to rest or accept commendations for her efforts. After a short visit with Captain Johnson she returned to Richmond, where she spent the next three weeks shopping for military equipment, and cajoling scare material and equipment from Governor Lechter.

During Jane Claudia's visit to Richmond a number of changes occurred at Harper's Ferry. Colonel Arnold Elzey, a Marylander who had given up his commission in the United States Army, was given command of the First Maryland. Colonel Jackson relinquished his command of the small army he had collected at Harper's Ferry to General Joseph Johnston; and Johnston had elected to abandon the arsenal. Johnston decision was based on the fact that Major General Robert Patterson was moving toward the arsenal from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, with a force of 12,000 men while another Federal force was moving west along the south bank of the Potomac from Alexandria.

After blowing up the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad bridge across the Potomac, and destroying forty-six locomotives and three hundred railroad cars, General Johnston evacuated Harper's Ferry on June 16th. While he had occupied the arsenal, Colonel Jackson had meticulously removed most of the arsenal's gun making supplies and equipment to Richmond. To prevent the remaining stores from falling into Federal hands, Johnston ordered his men to burn the arsenal to the ground. But in Johnston's haste he destroyed valuable material that might have been salvaged. During the firing of the arsenal it came to the attention of Colonel Elzey that one of the buildings set afire contained a store of rifle stocks. The First Maryland extinguished the fire and saved 17,000 rifle stocks from the flames. They in turn sent the stocks to North Carolina in appreciation for all that North Carolina had done for them. (13)

Mrs. Johnson rejoined the 1st Maryland on June 30th at Winchester. There she provided the regiment with uniforms, shoes, forty-one wall tents, pots, pans, blankets, axes, shovels, cartridge boxes and numerous other pieces of camp equipment and accouterments, and sufficient under garments for 500 men. Even though General Johnston's Army had moved to Winchester so that they might square off with the Federal forces of General Robert Patterson at Martinsburg, Mrs. Johnson and her son remained in Winchester with Captain Johnson until July 18th, when the newly attired First Maryland departed the Shenandoah Valley with the rest of Johnston's command to join General Beauregard at Manassas Station. Mrs. Johnson waved to the departing troops as they passed beneath the balcony of the Taylor House. Once the army was gone she and her son were driven to Strasburg by the brother of Captain James R. Herbert, commander of Company E., 1 st Maryland Infantry. In Strasburg she took a train to Richmond. "July 20, she arrived in Richmond. She bore in the bosom of her dress confidential dispatches from General Joseph E. Johnston, which he had commanded to her, in person, with strict injunctions to deliver them only to President Davis himself, (14) which she did.

On the morning of July 21 st the forces of General Irwin McDowell attempted to out flank the Confederate position along the Manassas. For several bloody hours Johnston and Beauregard frantically removed their men from the positions they had taken the night before, to a defensive position on Henry Hill. Their makeshift line was attached to the left of steadfast brigade of Colonel Jackson's, and spread south toward Chinn Ridge. Through out the day the remaining brigades of Johnston's Army arrived at Manassas by train and were rushed forward. The brigade to which the First Maryland was assigned was the last to arrive. Once off the train the brigade quickly moved to the sound of the guns and was placed on Chinn Ridge on the Confederate far left. McDowell tried to flank the Confederate line and send a brigade under Colonel O. O. Howard over Chinn Ridge. Elzey, who had taken command of the brigade after his commander had been wounded, charged into Howard, sending Howard reeling back. (15) The entire Federal line then crumbled from right to left. Elzey was promoted for his action and command of the First Maryland fell to fellow Marylander, George Hume Steuart.

After Manassas, the First Maryland followed the army to Fairfax Court House. Mrs. Johnson soon rejoined the regiment and administered to the sick there. , "She took possession of a church in the neighborhood, an old wooden structure, and fitted up as a hospital. When Beauregard moved to the Potomac, taking possession of Mason's and Munson's Hills over looking Washington, the 1 st Maryland and Mrs. Johnson accompanied him. She and her son were constant visitors to the picket line during the lonely summer days when most of the fighting was done by snipers and the occasional reconnaissance patrol.

When the Confederates fell back to Centerville and then again to Manassas, Mrs. Johnson accompanied them. During the winter of 1861-62 she remained in camp with her husband, and again moved with the army when it moved to Brandy Station in march of 1862. At that time newly promoted General "Stonewall" Jackson moved back to the Shenandoah. The I st Maryland accompanied "old Jack", but Mrs. Johnson returned to her father's home in North Carolina. The 1 st Maryland participated in every action of his Valley Campaign, as well the march to Richmond and the battles that raged around the Confederate capital as General Robert E. Lee struggled to force General George McClellan's forces away from the gates of Richmond. After the Battle of the Seven Days, Lee consolidated his forces and pressed north to meet a new threat, General John Pope.

After the Battle of the Seven Days Mrs. Johnson reported for duty at Charlottesville, where the 1 st Maryland had been ordered to report to in order to recruit new men and refit. But the First Maryland did not report to Charlottesville, nor accompany the newly formed Army of Northern Virginia northward. The regiment's term of enlistment had expired. On August 17, 1862, Colonel Bradley Johnson, who had taken command of the regiment during the Valley Campaign, disbanded what was left of the First Maryland Infantry, C.S.A. The regimental flag was solemnly folded one last time and tenderly embraced by each member of the command. It was then handed over to the regimental color bearer, Edwin Selvage, who "with a committee, was appointed to take it to Charlottesville and present it to the noble woman who had faithfully stood by them in their hour of need - Mrs. Bradley T. Johnson." (16) The committee presented the flag and the following letter to Mrs. Johnson:

"Dear Madam, -- Upon the occasion of the disbandment of the 1 st Md. Reg't on the 17th of Aug., we the undersigned, members of the above named Reg't, do unanimously agree and resolve to present to you, as one true and truly worthy to receive it, Our Flag, which has been gallantly and victoriously borne over many bloody and hard fought field, and under whose sacred folds Maryland's sons have fought and bled in a holy cause.

"Our attachment for our Flag is undying, and now the circumstances have rendered it necessary that our organization should no longer exist, we place in your hands as a testament of our regard and esteem, our little Flag, which is dear to us all." (17)

Mrs. Johnson gladly accepted the gift with what she later called in a letter to the 1 st Maryland as the "emblem of your courage and State pride." She assured the Marylanders that "the trust you have reposed in me shall be sacredly guarded." She kept the regimental flag of the 1 st Maryland the remainder of her life, and when she was buried some thirty-seven years later, it was draped across her bier. In her will the flag was turned over as an heirloom to her son and grandson. (18)

After the 1st Maryland disbanded Colonel Johnson joined General Jackson's staff. He commanded a Virginia regiment at Second Manassas, served as the Provost Marshall of Frederick City during Lee's occupation, and then carried dispatches from General Lee to Richmond. Once in Richmond, Colonel Johnson's legal skills were put to good use and he was placed on a court martial board, where he remained for the next year. He returned to command in the summer of 1863 at the head of the newly raised Second Maryland Infantry, and that fall took command of the First Maryland Cavalry. In the spring of 1864 the 1 st Maryland Cavalry was temporarily attached to General Jubal Early's Valley Army. During this period Union General David Hunter burned numerous homes and farms in the Shenandoah. Among the private residences Hunter burned was the home of ex-Governor John Letcher. In July of 1864, while leading a cavalry raid in northern Maryland, Johnston repaid his debt to Governor Letcher by burning the home of Maryland's Governor Augustus W. Bradford.- Johnson's command also participated in the burning of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, that August. During the final months of the war Johnson supervised the prisoner of war facility at Salisbury, North Carolina.

Where ever General Bradley Johnson traveled, his wife was seldom far behind. She joined him in camp when ever she could, and spent the long winter months of military inactivity at his side. In the camps she spent much of her time with Johnson's men, administering to their wounds, reading and writing letters for the illiterate, insuring that Bibles and religious tracts were available, singing hymns, sewing buttons and letting them know that she cared for them, each and everyone. In the fall of 1863, when Johnson's men went into winter quarters near Hanover Junction, she even supervised the construction of a chapel so that the men would have a proper place in which they could worship. Since many of the Marylanders were Roman Catholics from Southern Maryland, she procured from Bishop McGill, the Bishop of Virginia, the service of a priest to celebrate Mass once a month in her chapel, which was shared by Catholic and Protestant alike.

Like many prominent Marylanders who had served the Confederacy, the Johnsons were afraid to return home after the war. They remained in Virginia, where Johnson built a lucrative law practice, and became a state senator of his adoptive state. Mrs. Johnson became active in charity work, and eventually became President of the Hospital for Women. But in time the wounds of war began to heal, and in 1879 the Johnsons returned to Maryland. There they both became involved in several Maryland Confederate Veteran Organizations such as the Association of the Maryland Line and the Society of the Army and Navy of the Confederate States in Maryland. Through these organizations they helped to raise funds which were used to support a number of indigent Maryland Confederate Veterans who were unable to support themselves.

As she had in Richmond, Mrs. Johnson took to charity work in Baltimore, and shortly after her return became President of the Hospital for the Women of Maryland. In 1888, the Association of the Maryland Line convinced the State of Maryland to turn the abandoned Federal Arsenal in Pikesville over to the Association for the establishment of a Confederate Soldiers Home. The governors of the Association of the Maryland Line "appointed a Board of Lady Visitors, with Mrs. Johnson as president, and she forthwith organized them for their work. She divided them into committees, and assigned one committee for each month in the year, the visiting committee being responsible for the sanitation and food of the inmates." (19) The Maryland Soldiers' Home averaged a population of 100 veterans for a period of twenty years.

The years of selflessness took their toll on Mrs. Johnson and in 1894 she became ill and took to a sick bed in her own hospital. In March of that year the governors of the Maryland Line appointed Jane Claudia Johnson an honorary member of the Association of the Maryland Line because "The survivors of the Maryland Line of the Army of Northern Virginia recall with pride and gratitude the loving, devoted and important service performed for them by Mrs. Bradley T. Johnson." (20)

Maryland's Confederate soldiers never forgot Jane Claudia Johnson. To these hardened men, who had witnessed first hand the rape of the Shenandoah, the decimation of the Second Maryland Infantry on Culp's Hill during the Battle of Gettysburg, the loss of friends and relatives in battle, she was the true hero of their struggle. When she died in 1899, hundreds of these men traveled from all over Maryland to attend her funeral on "Confederate Hill" in Loudon Park Cemetery, located in southwest Baltimore.

Jane Claudia Johnson continues to rest atop Confederate Hill, the only woman buried among the hundreds of Confederate veterans buried there in neat little rows, as if they were once again on parade before General Stonewall Jackson, whose white marble statue looks down upon them. On her grave stands a massive marker, which the uninformed visitor might mistake as a tribute to her husband, who was buried next to her in 1903, because three sides of the granite marker extol his military deeds. But this marker is in fact a monument to Mrs. Johnson. It was the first Civil War Monument in Maryland dedicated to an individual woman. It was not erected by the State of Maryland, the Federal government, nor any of the fine women's organizations that sprung up during and shortly after the war. It was erected by those veterans to whom she had sung to at night, in Virginia, when Maryland and family seemed so far away; by the men whose uniforms she had patched, and socks she had darned, and hands she had held when they were ill. Mrs. Johnson's monument was dedicated on June 6th, the Confederate Memorial Day. According to the Baltimore Sun her "grave and the monument which now marks the spot were profusely decorated, red roses predominating. Over two thousand people gathered to assist in the exercise. The members of the Maryland Line, including about eighty veterans from the Soldiers' Home, at Pikesville, formed a line at the main entrance of the cemetery and marched to the lot, headed by the Fifth Regiment Veterans Corps Band, under the leadership of W. H. Pindell. Friends of the dead and members of the Daughters of the Confederacy had previously strewn flowers over all the graves." (21) The graves referred to by the Sun are those of the numerous Confederate veterans buried on Confederate Hill in neat rows as if they were once again on parade. It seems appropriate that Jane Claudia Johnson should be the only woman buried among these men. They loved her in life and surround her and protect her in death.


NOTES

(1) Scharf, Thomas J., History of Maryland, Volume III, Tradition Press, Hatboro, Pa., 1967.

(2) Scharf, Col. Thomas J., Chronicles of Baltimore

(3) Johnson, Bradley T., Memoir of Jane Claudia Johnson, Southern Historical Society Papers. Vol. XXIX. Richmond, Va. January-December, 1901, referred to as SHSP-Johnson

(4) Scharf, J. Thomas, History of Maryland, Volume III, Tradition Press, Hatboro, Pa., 1967.

(5) Goldsboroug, Major W.W., C.S.A., The Maryland Line In The Confederate Army, 1861 - 65, Press of Guggenheimer, Weil & Co., Baltimore, 1900.

(6) SHSP-Johnson

(7) Scharf, J. Thomas, History of Maryland, Volume III, Tradition Press, Hatboro, Pa., 1967.

(8) SHSP-Johnson and Scharf, J. Thomas, History of Maryland, Volume III, Tradition Press, Hatboro, Pa., 1967.

(9) IBID (10) SHSP-Johnson

(11) IBID

(12) IBID

(13) Goldsboroug, Major W.W., C.S.A., The Maryland Line In The Confederate Army, 1861 - 65, Press of Guggenheimer, Weil & Co., Baltimore, 1900.

(14) SHSP-Johnson

(15) Current, Richard N., Chief Editor, Encyclopedia of the Confederacy, Volume 3, pg 998, Simon & Schuster, New York, N.Y., 1993.

(16) Goldsboroug, Major W.W., C.S.A., The Maryland Line In The Confederate Army, 1861 - 65, Press of Guggenheimer, Weil & Co., Baltimore, 1900.

(17) SHSP-Johnson (18) IBID (19) IBID (20) IBID (21) IBID

Additional Source Material:

Freeman, Douglas Southall, Lee's Lieutenant's, Volume 1, Manassas To Malvern Hill, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1970.

Newman, Harry Wright, Maryland and the Confederacy, (Published by Author), Annapolis, Maryland, 1976.

Kuman, Frederic, The Free State of Maryland-A History of the State and It's People 1634-1941, The Historical Record, Baltimore, Maryland.

Toomey, Daniel Carroll, The Civil War In Maryland, Toomey Press, Baltimore, Maryland, 1983.

Warner, Ezra J., Generals In Blue, Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge and London, 1964.

 

 



 

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