Joseph E. Johnston

Joseph E. Johnston Quotes

Last Updated April 24, 2011

“Soldiers were never on a more disgusting service.  You need feel no regrets on account of your absence…Stay in Washington as long as you have useful & respectable occupation….[A]fter seeing the regiment you’ll attempt to negotiate a transfer immediately.”

Joseph Johnston

Apr 13 1855

Johnston in a letter to George McClellan describing the First Cavalry Regiment in Bleeding Kansas

From McClellan’s War: The Failure of Moderation in the Struggle for the Union by Ethan S. Rafuse.  Bloomington IN:  Indiana University Press, 2005. Page 68

“He always reminded me of a gamecock trimmed and gaffed ready for the main

a soldier in the 11 VA

From General A. P. Hill – The Story of a Confederate Warrior by James I. Robertson.  New York:  Random House, 1987. Page 51

 

“very careful of the observances of military etiquette”

a staff officer

From General James Longstreet by Jeffry D. Wert.  New York:  Touchstone, 1993. Page 87

” I think Gen Jos. E. Johnston was more the soldier in looks, carriage & manner than any of our other generals.”

E. Porter Alexander

Porter Alexander’s description of Joseph Johnston

From A Single Grand Victory The First Campaign and Battle of Manassas Ethan S. Rafuse. Wilmington: Scholarly Resources Inc., 2002 page 63

“Of medium stature but of most extraordinary strength, vigor & quickness. I think Gen. Jos. E. Johnston was more the soldier in looks, carriage & manner than any of our other generals & in fact more than any man I ever met except Gen. Bob Garnett.…His whole aspect was to me military discipline idealized & personified…of medium stature but of most extraordinary strength, vigor, & quickness.”

E. Porter Alexander

Alexander Gallagher ed Fighting for the Confederacy pp 48,49

From Cavalryman of the Lost Cause by Jeffry D. Wert.  New York:  Simon and Schuster, 2008. Page 49

“Johnston is in capacity head and shoulders above every other general in the Southern Confederacy.”

J.E.B. Stuart

Stuarts reaction to the appointment of Johnston as Department commander.

From Cavalryman of the Lost Cause by Jeffry D. Wert.  New York:  Simon and Schuster, 2008. Page 67

“I am inclined to think that General Joe Johnston was the ablest and most accomplished man that the Confederate armies ever produced.  He never had the opportunity accorded to others, but he showed wonderful power as a tactician and a commander.  I do not think that we had his equal for handling an army and conducting a campaign”

James Longstreet Aug 2 1879

Longstreet in an interview with Henry Grady writing for the Philadelphia Weekly Times asked who the best general on the Southern side

From “The War Was a Grevious Error.” by Peter Cozzens. Civil War Times XLIX 2 (April 2010). Page 36

“It has revived a good deal of the old enthusiasm that your old Army has always had at the sight of you.  Although they have fought many battles and successfully under another leader, I feel that you have their hearts more decidedly than any other leader can ever have…I cant become reconciled at the idea of your going west.  I command the 1st Corps in this Army.  If you will take it you are more than welcome to it, and I have no doubt but the command of the entire Army will fall to you before Spring”

James Longstreet Oct 5 1862

Longstreet in a letter to Joe Johnston shortly after the battle of Antietam

From Lee’s Maverick General Daniel Harvey Hill by Hal Bridges.  Lincoln:  University of Nebraska Press, 1961. Page 145

“rather undersized, but the most soldierly looking man in the army

John Haskell, a member of Johnston’s staff

From General James Longstreet by Jeffry D. Wert.  New York:  Touchstone, 1993. Page 86

“as rather a venerable man, I don’t know how such an idea originated, but it prevailed among us and invested its object with a halo of romance which constantly attracted our curiosity and interest.”

John Pope

Pope describing Captain Joseph Johnston, his first commander in Florida

From General John Pope A Life for the Nation by Peter Cozzens.  Urbana:  University of Illinois Press, 2000. Page 9

 

“My relations with Colonel Johnston are and have been such for some years that it would be exceedingly unpleasant to serve with him.”

John Pope Feb 24 1851

Pope in a letter to his commanding officer Col John J. Abert asking that he not be assigned to work under Col Joseph Johnston in Texas

From General John Pope A Life for the Nation by Peter Cozzens.  Urbana:  University of Illinois Press, 2000. Page 19

“General Johnston will never speak on official matters to but the person interested, dislikes to have a crowd about him, never mentions military matters when away from his office. Often rides off alone, never will have more than two with him. Has not much to say to even his best friends, and does not appear to care about dress, although he dresses neatly & in a uniform coat — if you have business with him it is yes or no, without talking more than to a proper understanding of the subject.”

Lafayette McLaws Apr 25 1862

LM to Emily, April 25, 1862. ASG-LM, 138-139

From A Soldier’s General Major General Lafayette McLaws by John Oeffinger. [online] Retrieved from http://asoldiersgeneral.com/lafayette.htm

“high bred, stern looking of faultless seat and bearing in the saddle

Moxley Sorrel

From Recollections of a Confederate Staff Officer by Moxley G. Sorrell. New York:  Bantam edition, 1992.

Page 8

“Genl. Johnston is determined to be safe when he attacks.”

Nathan Evans Jun 20 1863

Shanks Evans in ltr to wife describing Johnston during Vicksburg campaign

From Shanks The Life and Wars of General Nathan G. Evans, CSA by Jason Silverman, Samuel N. Thomas Jr., and Beverly D. Evans. Cambridge:  Da Capo, 2002. Page 149

“Joe Johnston is fat, ruddy, and hearty.  I think a little lead, properly taken is good for a man.”

Robert E. Lee Oct 2 1847

West Point classmate Robert E. Lee describing Johnston getting wounded

From  The Mexican War Diary and Correspondence of George B. McClellan by George B. McClellan and Thomas W. Cutrer. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2009. Page 90

 

[Johnston had]”been advanced beyond any one in the Army & had thrown more discredit than ever on the system of favoritism and making brevets.”

Robert E. Lee Apr 16 1860

REL to GWCL, Fort Brown TX.  Jones, Life and Letters, p 114

From Reading the Man – A Portrait of Robert E. Lee Through His Private Letters by Elizabeth Brown Pryor. New York:  Penguin Group, 2007. Page 188

“never treats the Government with confidence, hardly with respect”

Robert Garlick Hill Kean

a war department clerk describing Johnston’s treatment of the government

From Cavalryman of the Lost Cause by Jeffry D. Wert.  New York:  Simon and Schuster, 2008. Page 80

“No officer or soldier who ever served under me will question the generalship of Joseph E. Johnston.  His retreats were timely, and he left nothing behind.” William T. Sherman,

Sherman to Corse  describing his foe Joseph Johnston

From How the North Won by Herman Hattaway and Archer Jones. Urbana:  University of Illinois Press 1983.

Page 597

Johnston is a great soldier, but he has an unfortunate knack of getting himself shot in nearly every engagement.

Winfield Scott April 1847

speaking of Johnston proclivity for getting wounded.  He was wounded in the Seminole War, Mexican War, and the Civil War

From  The Mexican War Diary and Correspondence of George B. McClellan by George B. McClellan and Thomas W. Cutrer. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2009. Page 90

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