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    Description

    Impressive and Historic Grouping Associated with Confederate General Albert Sydney Johnston that Descended through the Family. Johnston, who upon his death at Shiloh, was eulogized by Jefferson Davis as "the greatest soldier, the ablest man, civil or military, Confederate or Federal, then living", graduated in 1826 from West Point. After eight years of military service, including action in the Black Hawk War, he resigned to care for his ailing wife. Upon her death in 1836, Johnston went to Texas and joined the Revolutionary forces as a private, rising to overall command of the Texas Army as Senior Brigadier General within a year. He served as Secretary of War for the fledgling republic and commanded the 1st Texas Rifles in the Mexican War. Re-entering the regular US Army in 1849, he became Colonel of the 2nd Cavalry in 1855 (doubtless when he received the sword presented here) and, for his services against the Mormons, he was breveted to the rank of Brigadier General, assuming command of the Department of the Pacific, in San Francisco, in 1860. Upon the secession of Texas, he resigned his commission and joined Confederate service with the rank of Brigadier General. By March 1862, as the second ranking General in the Confederate (behind only Samuel Cooper) he was given command of the western theater of operations. After setbacks at Fts. Donelson and Henry, on April 6, 1862 he moved against Grant at Shiloh. While 'leading from the front' he was wounded in the leg, and, refusing evacuation and treatment, bled to death on the field. Many historians believe Johnston's untimely death at Shiloh represented the turning point in the western theater of operations, resulting in eventual defeat for the Confederacy.

    The sword is a US M1840 heavy cavalry saber, that was purportedly carried by Johnston at the beginning of the Civil War. The 1840 saber was the preferred "working"/field sword of many Confederate officers, especially those who had seen regular service in the west prior to the war. This specimen is in about mint condition, manufactured by Ames and dated 1853, commensurate with the period Johnston assumed command of the 2d Cav. (1855). Blade about mint with all of the original luster. Perfect leather grip with twisted brass wire wrap, the hilt with most of an old lacquer finish, else perfect. Original leather washer and old white paint collection number on the underside of the guard. Scabbard also about perfect, smooth with nice gray patina, absolutely no dents, and just one tiny patch of light pitting on the drag. The sword is accompanied by the following:
    (1) E. & H. T. Anthony carte de visite of Johnston with 1862 copyright date. Fine.
    (2) Johnston's circa 1860 gold eyeglasses with the original leather case. The glasses are 4½" across with 5" temples. The original leather case bears the gilt embossed logo of W. Colfax, San Francisco. Doubtless obtained by Johnston when stationed in that city in 1860. Case with minor wear else perfect.
    (3) A series of nine books related to Johnston's Civil War exploits. The earliest being the scarce 6" x 9", 182 page, blue paper covered volume Shiloh printed in 1872. Others include volumes of the letters of other Confederate commanders at Shiloh, Donelson and Henry. Also books published for the Shiloh Battlefield Memorial Fund. All in fine condition.
    (4) A 42" x 42" oil on canvas painting by T. R. Goldsworth and Davis Heslep, commissioned by the previous owner of this grouping, commemorating Johnston's military career. A portrait of Johnston in his Confederate uniform is surrounded by vignettes of his actions during the War for Texas Independence, the Mexican War, as Colonel of the 2d US Cavalry in the west, and a scene depicting his death at Shiloh. The sword is shown in the painting directly below the portrait of Johnston. Nicely presented in a 2" oak frame. An impressive grouping of artifacts belonging to, and associated with, the man considered by Jefferson Davis to be the finest general officer in the Confederate Army.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2009
    25th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 795

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