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    Samuel Richards Johnston Prayer Book and accompanying documents. Samuel R. Johnston (1833-1899) served on the staff of Robert E. Lee as an engineering officer in the Army of Northern Virginia, though he is best remember as a reconnaissance officer, working closely with General James Longstreet, who spoke very highly of him following the Groveton, Manassas, and Antietam. He plied his trade following the battles of Malvern Hill and Savage Station and during the Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville Campaigns, scouting enemy artillery positions.

    Following the first day's fighting at Gettysburg, Lee was in the dark with regards to the location of the bulk of Meade's army and, in the early morning hours of July 2, he sent Johnston to scout the Federal's left and report back as quickly as possible. He was joined by Major John C. Clarke, General Longstreet's chief engineer, and three or four men for escort. Upon his return, Longstreet went on the offensive in what was supposed to be a surprise attack, but due to a lack of information he was forced into a long countermarch so as to keep his troops out of the view of the Union signal corps that were posted on Little Round Top. Johnston later stated that he was only ordered by Lee to scout the position and return and there was no mention of ascertaining a concealed route for Longstreet's troops. He added that such an order was unnecessary anyways "as that was part of my duty as a reconnoitering Officer, and would be attended to without special instructions, indeed he [Lee] said nothing about the movement of troops at all, and left me with only that knowledge of what he wanted which I had obtained after long service with him, and that was that he wanted me to consider every contingency, which might arise." (Karlton Smith. Captain Samuel R. Johnston and the Art of Reconnaissance) Longstreet's attack was delayed until 4 pm that afternoon and when he finally arrived at his attack point, he was surprised to find the Union III Corps directly in their path. The attack did not go according to planned, but the III Corps was all but destroyed.

    Johnston has placed a long notation on the rear pastedown of his Episcopalian prayer book which reads, in part: "This Prayer Book was given to me by Mrs. John Chichester of Fairfax Co. Va - June 1861 - was carried in my haversack and used by me daily all through the war. It was in my hands when I was baptised [sic] in St. Thomas Church...and when I was confirmed by Bishop Johns in the same church. Genl. R. E. Lee was present on both occasions. My name was written by me on the inside of the cover hoping that if I was killed in battle, my body would be identified, my grave marked and my family in Alex., Va notified." Johnston has placed his signature on both the front and rear pastedowns. The leather covers show moderate to heavy wear and the pages are toned and foxed.

    Also, a page from a CDV album containing photographs of three children and one adult woman. One of the children pictured is Robert E. Lee Johnston, the son of Samuel R. Johnston. Johnston and General Lee were close friends and, according to Douglas Southall Freeman in his book, "R. E. Lee: A Biography," Robert E. Lee Johnston is the godson of the general.

    In addition, a First World War era autograph letter addressed to the wife of S. Richards Johnston from her husband, Samuel Richards Johnston, Jr. Three integral pages, 5.25" x 8.25", on American Y. M. C. A. letterhead, "Somewhere in France," October 17, 1918. In the letter, "Dick" talks about his first visit to Paris and their trouble finding the headquarters of the First Division after looking for it for nearly a week. With original transmittal envelope. Usual folds, else fine.


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    Auction Dates
    June, 2012
    9th Saturday
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