Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Union Corporal John Johnston (Berdan's Sharpshooters) Archive. Contains a large charcoal, print (framed with glass), numerous letters, tintypes, a shell fragment, and much more. Johnston (1840-1922) of Wisconsin enlisted in the U.S. Army in October 1861. He qualified for the famous Berdan's Sharpshooter Corps, 1st U.S. Sharpshooters, Co. "G". Corps and fought at Mechanicsville, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, and the Siege of Petersburg. He was wounded six times in different battles. He mustered out in October 1864.

    The large charcoal print (circa 1880) features the young, dashing Corp. Johnston, in a frock coat with a plume in his kepi. The print is handsomely framed to an overall size of 20" x 24" and has not been examined outside of the frame.

    Over twenty wartime letters are included, beginning with an October 25, 1861, letter notifying his parents, shortly after leaving home for the army, that he had received his uniform. The letters contain content mentioning battles, Lincoln, Grant (and other generals, including the death of Stonewall Jackson), "negros", and more. The final wartime letter was written to Johnston by a friend and soldier E. S. Coryell on September 29, 1864.

    One carte de visite of Johnston standing in a studio with his hand resting on a small table. Two tintypes of Johnston: (1) 1/9 plate tintype portrait framed of the young corporal, looking very similar to the charcoal print, except in this tintype he does not wear a hat. Minor blemishes. (2) 1871 tintype in a paper mat (2.25" x 3.75") and signed by Johnston. Three postwar medals: (1) G.A.R. medal; (2) Society of Veterans Auxiliary; (3) Women's Relief Corp.

    Also included are Johnston's partly printed discharge papers (dated October 1864, "near Petersburg, Va." describing him as "Twenty four years of age, Five feet Four & Half inches high, Light complexion, Gray eyes, Brown hair, and . . . a farmer"); sundry regiment and battle reunion articles, invitations, and letters, including various paperwork for the 50th Gettysburg Reunion of 1913, which was attended by six of the Johnston brothers, along with a photograph (9" x 11") of the six brothers at the reunion; official pension-related papers (Johnston received $72 a month beginning in 1921 until he died at age 81 in 1922 when his wife began receiving a pension of $30 a month); and several obituaries of Johnston.

    Other items are also included, such as a U.S. Navy Goodyear's patent hard rubber soap dish (mirror removed), a shell fragment (with an accompanying note, "This bomb shell was picked up by John Johnston . . . while visiting the Battle Field of Bull, Sept. 30, 1915, where it had laid for 53 yrs."), miscellaneous buttons, two images of Johnston with his wife during the early 1900s, a "Department of Wisconsin W. R. C. Salt Lake City 1909" white ribbon (3.5" x 9"), stamps, marriage certificate, memorial papers (including an "In Memoriam" certificate issued from the Grand Army of the Republic's Joe Hooker Post No. 9), printed rosters, various newspaper articles, postcards, and a family genealogy. All paper items are well-organized in a large binder with previous research results. The archive is in overall very good condition.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2009
    12th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,762

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    This item cannot be shipped using standard methods. Please contact us for more information. Sales Tax information

    Important information concerning Sales Tax and Resale Certificates. Learn More

    Terms and Conditions  |  Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments |  Glossary of Terms

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 November 15 Vintage Guitars & Musical Instruments Musical Instruments Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    We had a wonderful time in New York during the October 2013 Historical Manuscripts auction that featured my mother’s papers collected during her tenure as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s secretary. In fact, the entire experience from beginning to end has been a pleasure.
    Howard Ballou,
    Brandon, MS
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search