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 Posted: Mon Apr 30th, 2007 09:38 pm
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ole
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Have been studying on the state of this Civil War Interactive Forum and have determined that no one discusses that late unpleasantness much anymore. Is anyone interested in discussing Albert Sydney Johnston and his role in the Western Confederacy's defense, the reasons for his failure, and a what if he had lived scenario?

Ole



 Posted: Tue May 1st, 2007 12:16 am
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javal1
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A very interesting topic which I hope Calcav and others will have some input in. I've always had a favorite "what if" on this subject myself (and I hate "what if's"). But I need at least until tomorrow to get my facts together. Great topic though...



 Posted: Tue May 1st, 2007 12:40 am
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ole
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Thank you Geezer. I visit these boards to learn something about the Civil War. I do enjoy slipping off in discussions of grits and stuff, now and then, but The CW has a claim on my time. No matter how much I read, someone has read something else, or the same thing, and has a different take on what I think the evidence indicates. It's a way to tap into books I haven't read and thoughts I haven't considered. A shortcut, if you will, into more learning than I can get in reading a book or two about it.

As I know virtually nothing about AS Johnston and his magnificent "seniority." I started there, hoping that such a discussion would evolve into some activity. Your input, and that of CalCav would help.

Just thinkin' out loud.

Ole

By the way, CalCav, Mobile96 and I will be looking you up in Corinth or Shiloh sometime during the weekdays preceding muster. Gonna pin your arms back and grille you something fierce. Might work up a time to meet.



 Posted: Tue May 1st, 2007 12:48 am
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ole
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(and I hate "what if's").

Geezer: I don't hate them, it's when they get fanciful that they get tedious. Asking a what if question often leads to areas of discovery that wouldn't have been uncovered without the question. A "what if Johnston's intentions had been carried out" kind of question leads to exploration of the Union lines, Confederate movements and all sorts of questions about the whats and whys of what what actually did happen. Such discussions can be useful or useless, but all go toward understanding.

Ole

Last edited on Tue May 1st, 2007 12:49 am by ole



 Posted: Tue May 1st, 2007 02:56 am
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susansweet
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Ole I have read Rolands book on ASJ Soldier in Three Republics.  Shiloh is an interesting topic.  We read this book for book group last year and talked about the what if question.  ASJ was here in California when the war started.  He came down to Los Angeles and left his wife with his brother in law in the Pasadena area.  Then rode along with a Mounted Militia that left Los Angeles and headed east taking a southern route , camping in site of Fort Yuma on the Colorado, and then on though Arizona territory to El Paso to Join the Confederacy.  Eliza remained here and eventually lived in a home called Fair Oaks which is where Fair Oaks Blvd in Pasadena gets it's name.  Her brother developed the area which is now East L.A. 

If you haven't read ther Roland book gert it and read it .  Very good. 

 

Widow and i will be touring Shiloh with Cal Cav on Monday after muster. 

Susan



 Posted: Tue May 1st, 2007 03:49 am
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ole
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Susan: Will be attacking CalCav a full week before you do. He doesn't know it yet, but we thought we'd surprise him.

And you had to bring in the California angle, didn't you? California was where you sent almost everybody who showed some promise. That ASJ rode back to offer his services to the Confederacy is quite significant. Need to kno something more abut that man!

Olee



 Posted: Tue May 1st, 2007 04:06 am
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susansweet
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The story goes that he attended a going away party in Los Angeles with Hancock Armstead and Garnett the night before he left.  

You know I will always play the California Card.  Many of them were here before or after the war.  There is a street I grew up near that is name Rosecrans . 

Stoneman was one of the Commanders of the Drum Barracks. 

but back to ASJ  He is an amazing man to read about.  Albert was up in San Francisco and continued to run the Department til it was time to leave. He was an honorable man.  The biography I read was from the 60's .  Very good read. 

No fair sneaking in ahead of us.   I am so looking forward to meeting him and everyone else. 

Susan



 Posted: Tue May 1st, 2007 07:06 pm
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JoanieReb
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Great topic, in my book.

I've wondered about this particular "what if" question often, but have yet to make the time to put together a well-informed opinion.

As I recall, ASJ bled to death from a shot in his foot or lower leg.  His death was avoidable;  had his personal surgeon been with him, the surgeon could have stopped the bleeding.  But, ASJ had insisted his surgeon stay behind to care for wounded Yankee prisoners.  His concern for the wounded enemy cost him his life.

Last edited on Wed May 2nd, 2007 05:32 am by JoanieReb



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 Posted: Tue May 1st, 2007 08:29 pm
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susansweet
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ASJ was born 1803 , died 1862.   I consider that young now!!!!   ASJ was short behind the knee bleeding into his boot.  Nobody noticed it had happen.  Joanie you are right about the doctor according to Roland's biography. 



 Posted: Tue May 1st, 2007 08:46 pm
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I thought his death so very sad that I remember details of it, but not the book that I read about it in: I'm guessing it was Shelby Foote.  His aide noticed the blood, and said, "Are you wounded, Sir?" and ASJ relied, "Yes, and I'm afraid quite badly, too."  The aide didn't know to apply a tournaquet, and was trying to treat ASJ with brandy as he bled to death.



 Posted: Tue May 1st, 2007 09:23 pm
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ole
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ASJ graduated from the USMA before Lee. The only confederate with more seniority was Sam Cooper.

By the time ASJ realized he had taken a hit, he was already reeling in the saddle and oozing life. The bullet nicked him behind the knee in that artery that's there (starts with p -- can't recollect the name).  What I find ironic is that he did have a tourniquet in his pocket (or, at least, that's what I read).

Ole



 Posted: Tue May 1st, 2007 10:37 pm
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susansweet
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Ole I have read the same thing about the torniquet , that it was in his pocket. 



 Posted: Wed May 2nd, 2007 02:36 am
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susansweet wrote: Ole I have read the same thing about the torniquet , that it was in his pocket. 
Didn't Johnston also have a small sandwich and piece of cake in his pocket given to him by the woman of the house where he was headquartered? I think she placed the lunch in his pocket by stealth because he had refused her kind offer.  Dang? I left my Shiloh book by Wiley Sword over at my Mom's house. It is such an excellent source of Shiloh factoids.



 Posted: Wed May 2nd, 2007 03:02 am
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susansweet
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I have read that too.  Wiley has some mistakes in it though.  There is the tale that Cleburne was drinking with the rest of them the night before the battle. 

I searched and searched and found that storey had no basis in fact.  Was one old guy years and years later that told the story.  Cleburne didn't drink.

 



 Posted: Wed May 2nd, 2007 05:26 am
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JoanieReb
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"starts with p -- can't recollect the name"

popliteal?  Heehee -  earlier, I was going to say that "an arterial injury, such as one behind the knee", would explain it all.  However, I could only think of femoral artery, and I knew that weren't quite right.  Now that I have the time to look it up:

"In human anatomy, the popliteal artery is defined as the extension of the femoral artery after passing through the adductor canal and adductor hiatus above ..."

Not that this adds to the discussion except in a trivial manner.

But it explains a lot of the tragedy behind his death - this arterial bleed happened hard and fast, and his adrenaline, which would have covered the pain, would have been so up in battle he would not have noticed his injury until it was had bled profusely. Thus, it would have taken someone very skilled and quick when it comes to injury to remove his boot and find the source of the bleed, and then apply a tourniquet in an efficient and effective manner.  Poor ASJ, his adrenaline would not only cover the pain, but make the blood pump faster, encouraging him to bleed out.  And, brandy ( or any alcohal) thins blood; but I'm thinking that by the time his aide found and tried to administer it, The General was beyond drinking it. 

I'm guessing that between the time he was able to assimulate that he was wounded quite badly and the time he went into shock, followed by death, was not much at all.

Last edited on Wed May 2nd, 2007 05:31 am by JoanieReb



 Posted: Wed May 2nd, 2007 05:36 am
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JoanieReb
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Sorry about the font changes above.  I do not know why they happened (pro'bly due to a "cut-and-paste" on the "popiteal" definition), but worse:  I can't seem to correct them.



 Posted: Wed May 2nd, 2007 05:58 am
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susansweet
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Okay  I got Roland off the shelf .  Here is what he says .  " Johnson died from loss of blood.  An apparently stray and spent Minie ball had struck the back of his right leg, just below the knee.  Penetrating half though his leg, its passage tore the popliteal artery.  Through the rent in this vessel Johnston' lifeblood escaped.  He probably died within fifteen minutes or less after being wounded.  In the flush of battle , he at first may not have realized that he was hit.  Or, as some have speculated he may have been insensible to the wound because of the impairment of a nerve in his leg by Felix Hudston's old duel shot: through the years this limb had been given to occasional numbness. 

Albert Sidney Johnston  soldier of three republics   Charles Roland. 

I highly reccomend this book. 

Susan



 Posted: Wed May 2nd, 2007 07:00 am
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  General Albert Sidney Johnston holds a prominent place in Texas history, as well as U.S. history.

   He was a native of Kentucky, and an 1826 graduate of West Point, where he was a friend of Jefferson Davis. In 1834, he resigned from the Army to care for his wife who was ill, but she soon died. The following year, he travelled to Texas, where he became a soldier in the Texas Army. By 1837, he was a brigadier general and soon the senior officer in the Texas Army. He was later the Secretary of War of the Texas Republic.

   Soon after Texas became a state in 1845, Johnston served in the Mexican War. He commanded the First Texas Rifles, and some sources maintain that he saved Jefferson's Davis' life.

   In 1849, Johnston rejoined the US Army as a major and paymaster. The following story is known by few and might be of interest to some. It was published in the FRONTIER TIMES in Bandera Texas by J. Marvin Hunter in September, 1927. (Vol. 4, Number 12, pp. 38-39.)

                              TRUSTED NEGRO ROBS HIS MASTER

   It is not generally known that general Albert Sidney Johnston often visited Ft. McKavett in the 50s, but it is a fact nevertheless. In October, 1849, Johnston was appointed paymaster in the Army with the rank of major and assigned to the Frontier department of Texas. He entered upon his duties the following year with headquarters at Austin, his itinerary at that time embracing Ft. Crogam Ft. Gates, Ft. Gresham, and Ft. Belknap. A year later, Ft. Mason was established, then followed the building of Ft. McKavett in 1852, and these were added to the circuit of Paymaster Johnston. Under legal requirement, the troops at these posts were to be paid every four months and in order to meet this demand, General Johnston had to travel a distance of nearly a thousand miles on each round, or about three thousand miles a year. The region through which he travelled was without settlements save around the army posts and was infested with marauding bands of Indians who constantly menaced travellers and small bodies of troops and immigrants who chanced to venture into those remote regions. The general was accompanied by his clerk, his negro driver, John, and negro cook, Randolph, all of whom rode in a governement ambulance drawn by four mules, and in this conveyance was carried a small iron box, or safe, which contained the money from which to pay the troops. He was also accompanied by a forage wagon and a cavalry escort of from four to fifteen men in charge of an officer.

   Early in 1853, General Johnston discovered a shortage in his accounts. He found on a careful account of the government funds placed in his care a deficit of several hundred dollars. He continued his round, however, until he reached Ft. McKavett, where he found another shortage of seven hundred dollars, making a total of seventeen hundred dollars that he was unable to account for; these losses covering a period of about two years. Strictly methodical and honest in all his transactions, the general could arrive at but one conclusion- robbery. But how could a thief extract coin from his strongbox where it was rarely out of his sight or that of his trusted clerk, who showed as much solicitude for the apprehension of the thief as the general could have shown. The money had been counted at Ft. Chadbourne, the last pay station before reaching McKavett, and at which place, owing to illness, his clerk had been left. This clerk had been succeeded by the general's fifteen year old son, whose honesty and watchfulness was beyond all question. When the general discovered the shortage at McKavett and his seeming inability to locate the thief, he was in great distress. He had been making good the losses from his private purse, and this continual drain threatened to ruin not only his reputation, but his financial standing as well. He had refrained from saying anything about his losses, knowing that any complaint he might make to the governement authorities would only serve to undermine the confidence of his superiors and excite grave suspicion against himself.

   With the troops stationed at McKavett at that time was an old sergeant by the name of Bramlett, who had served under Johnston in the Texas army while Texas was yet a republic, and had been a lieutenant under Johnston in the Mexican war. Bramlett was a locksmith by trade before going into the army, and in the war with Mexico had gained considerable notoriety as a scout. He had contracted a strong friendship for General Johnston, and the third day after the general's arrival at Ft. McKavett, he called to pay his respects to his old commander. The general received him most cordially, and after a brief conversation, took him into his confidence and told him of his mysterious losses and asked his assistance in ferreting out the mystery. It seems that Bramlett had established the reputation of being a shrewd detective while in the Texas army, all of which Johnston had full knowledge, and for this reason, he was taken into the general's confidence, and his aid solicited. Bramlett promised all the assistance that he was capable of rendering and the first thing in order was to examine the little iron safe. "Since counting the money at Ft. Chadbourne", explained General Johnston, "this strongbox has not been out of out sight, except for a few hours here yesterday when it was under guard. The money, as you see, is kept in different bags; ten dollar pieces in these, five dollar pieces in those, and some time since, I took the precaution to mark a number of pieces of each denomination."

   After a close examination of the strongbox, the sergeant said: "False key, General, false key. It is well you marked some of those coins, that is the only clue you have, and its a good one." Bramlett's next enquiry was about the general's servants, his driver, and his cook. Join, the driver, was a coal black negro; he had been born and raised a slave in the Johnston family, and for years had been the general's waiting boy, and had been greatly favored by his humane master. But John was above suspicion, argued the general, John was strictly honest and reliable, he had raised him and had more than a thought and proofs of his honesty.

   "Well, General, " said Bramlett, "I think I can unravel this mystery. I first want to talk to your cook, Randolph; make an excuse to send him down to my quarters on some errand tonight."

   The negro came, and after having a few drinks that Bramlett had on hand for the occasion, Ran became very communicative. "By the way, said the sergeant, "has John a wife?" "Yas suh, done been married two yeahs , and hes got da hansomest culled woman in Austin. Yas he is, shes nearly white, she is, and sah, she sho cuts a swell 'mong all dem city niggahs." "Does John dress her well?" "Hoo, man, you ort to see de finery dat niggah piles on dat woman." "He gets no wages, so where does he get the money to pay for that finery?" "Why,man, dat niggah's alus got money; gambles wid de soldiers." "Win anything from the boys at Chadbourne?" "Dunno, sah, I didn't see him gamble none over dar." "Do you play cards?"  "Yas , sah, sometimes I plays sebenup jes fo fun, but I nevah gambles, cause I nevah has any money."

   Early the next morning, the sergeant called at the general's quarters, and taking him into a private room said: "General, your driver, John, is the scoundrel that has been robbing you. Evidently, he has a false key, and the money he has been stealing has been spent on his mulatto wife in Austin. Search him and you will find that key and your money."

   The general could not believe that his trusted waiting boy could be guilty of such a grievous offense, but reluctantly consented to have him searched. He was called in, and when accused by Sergeant Bramlett, he stoutly proclaimed his innocence. The sergeant caused him to disrobe. Beneath his clothing, about the waist, was a belt, and in this belt was found the seven hundred dollars. The negro confessed to having a false key, given him by a gambler in Austin.

   The officers at McKavett insisted on having the negro whipped severely, declaring that he had accomplices and that he should be forced to reveal their identity, but the general would not allow his servant punished, contending that whipping would not atone for the lost money and would only serve to brutalize the culprit, and furthermore, it would be a mere act of revenge.

   On his return to Austin, General Johnston took the negro to Galveston and sold him for one thousand dollars which went in part to make up what he had stolen from the government.

   The last time the general came to Ft. McKavett in the capacity of paymaster was in April, 1855. He had just finished paying off the soldiers and while in his quarters, posting up his books, and otherwise preparing for an early start the next morning, a courier rode up and handed him a package. It contained his commission as Colonel of the Second United States cavalry, a position he had long coveted.



 Posted: Wed May 2nd, 2007 02:34 pm
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David White
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If you ever get to Texas, his grave in the Texas Cemetery is a must see.  Carved by the famed sculptor Elisabet Ney it is beautiful:



 



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