February 2, 1803: Albert Sidney Johnston Born

Born this day in 1803,  Albert Sidney Johnston was to become the second ranking general in the Confederate army during the Civil War and was given command of the western theater of operations. Despite the ambition, bravery, and combat experience that Johnston embodied as he led the attack at the battle of Shiloh, his life was over before the war had hardly begun.  After dismissing his personal surgeon to go attend to the wounded from the hornet’s nest(area of battle that received heavy artillery and combat), Johnston was hit in the leg by a stray bullet.   Almost before he even realized he was shot, Johnston bled to death from a severed artery.  One may ponder what could have been if not for the sequence of events that ended this distinguished General’s life.

When the Civil War erupted, Davis appointed Johnston commander of the Confederate department that stretched from the Appalachians to Texas. On April 6, 1862, Johnston attacked General Ulysses S. Grant’s army at Pittsburgh Landing, Tennessee (Shiloh). The Confederates enjoyed great success initially. Grant’s army was surprised and nearly destroyed until the afternoon, when Johnston rode forward to supervise the battle. He was mortally wounded, and the tide turned against the Confederates. The armies struggled into the next day but the Union held the field.

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