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Chapter 36: General Johnston in the grave.

When it was found that General Johnston was dead, General Preston conveyed his body from the field to the headquarters of the night before, and left it in charge of Captain Wickham and Major John W. Throckmorton. He then reported, with Majors Benham and Hayden, and Lieutenant Jack, to General Beauregard, who courteously offered them places on his staff, which were accepted, for that battle. After consultation with General Beauregard, and learning at headquarters that the victory was as complete as it probably would be, and that no attack was apprehended, the staff determined to accompany General Johnston's remains to New Orleans. Preston, Munford, O'Hara, Benham, Hayden, Jack, and Wickliffe, composed this escort. There was no cannonade, and no idea of a general engagement, when they left headquarters at 6 A. M. on Monday morning. But at eight o'clock, between Mickey's and Monterey, they were embarrassed by a stampede occasioned by five horsemen-one, of considerable rank. At Corinth they found the soldiers straggling through the woods, shooting squirrels. They learned, before they left that night, that Beauregard had retired.

On arriving in New Orleans, General Johnston's body was escorted to the City Hall by the Governor and staff, General Lovell and staff, and many prominent citizens. Colonel Jack, in a letter describing the scene, says :

The streets were thronged with citizens, and, as the procession moved slowly along, I saw tears silently flowing from the eyes of young, middle-aged, and old.

The body was laid in state in one of the public halls, and throngs of people of all classes, rich and poor, the lofty and the lowly, came in mournful silence to pay the last tokens of respect to the dead leader. Ladies wreathed the coffin with magnolias and other flowers.

The remains were laid in a tomb belonging to Mayor Monroe, in St. Louis Cemetery. Each year while it rested there, the writer received assurances that on All-saints'-day, there dedicated to the remembrance of the dead, friendly or admiring hands decorated his burial-place with wreaths and garlands. A visitor to the spot sent the following to the writer: [689]

Here is the inscription, written in pencil: “General A. S. Johnston, C. S. A., Shiloh, April 6, 1862.” On one corner some hand had written this: “Texas weeps over her noblest son. A Texas soldier.” The tomb was decorated with flowers, some of them yet fresh. My fair companion informed me that scarcely a day had passed since his burial without fresh flowers being laid upon his grave. I have in my portfolio some of the roses that I took from the grave with no sacrilegious hand, and, if they were bedewed with tears, no true man or good woman will call it a weakness or a crime to weep at the tomb of such a man as Albert Sidney Johnston.

This constant memorial is understood to have been kept up.

When the news of General Johnston's death was spread abroad, the public heart, with that noble contrition which marks a brave and generous people, sought in self-reproach to make atonement for the wrong and injustice he had suffered. The evidences of grief were general and sincere. Not only was every official recognition given of the extent of the calamity, but the tokens of sorrow were multiplied in many a Southern household, and a great lamentation went up as if the loss of this leader was private and personal to every citizen.

General order on the death of General A. S. Johnston.

The following general order was issued from headquarters at Corinth by General Beauregard:

headquarters, army of the Mississippi, Corinth, Mississippi, April 10, 1862.
Soldiers: Your late commander-in-chief, General A. S. Johnston, is dead; a fearless soldier, a sagacious captain, a reproachless man, has fallen-one who, in his devotion to our cause, shrank from no sacrifice; one who, animated by a sense of duty, and sustained by a sublime courage, challenged danger, and perished gallantly for his country while leading forward his brave columns to victory. His signal example of heroism and patriotism, if imitated, would make his army invincible.

A grateful country will mourn his loss, revere his name, and cherish his many virtues.

G. T. Beauregard, General commanding.

President Davis sent the following message to Congress:

To the Senate and House of Representatives of the Confederate States of America.

The great importance of the news just received from Tennessee induces me to depart from the established usages, and to make to you this communication in advance of official reports. From official telegraphic dispatches, received from official sources, I am able to announce to you, with entire confidence, that it has pleased Almighty God to crown the Confederate arms with a glorious and decisive victory over our invaders.

On the morning of the 6th, the converging columns of our army were [690] combined by its commander-in-chief, General Albert Sidney Johnston, in an assault on the Federal army, then encamped near Pittsburg, on the Tennessee River.

After a hard-fought battle of ten hours, the enemy was driven in disorder from his position, and pursued to the Tennessee River, where, under the cover of the gunboats, he was at the last accounts endeavoring to effect his retreat by aid of his transports. The details of this great battle are yet too few and incomplete to enable me to distinguish with merited praise all of those who may have conspicuously earned the right to such distinction, and I prefer to delay our own gratification in recommending them to your special notice, rather than incur the risk of wounding the feelings of any by failing to include them in the list. When such a victory has been won over troops as numerous, well disciplined, armed, and appointed, as those which have been so signally routed, we may well conclude that one common spirit of unflinching bravery and devotion to our country's cause must have animated every breast, from that of the commanding general to that of the humblest patriot who served in the ranks. There is enough in the continued presence of invaders on our soil to chasten our exultation over this brilliant success, and to remind us of the grave duty of continued exertion until we shall extort from a proud and vainglorious enemy the reluctant acknowledgment of our right to self-government.

But an All-wise Creator has been pleased, while vouchsafing to us his countenance in battle, to afflict us with a severe dispensation, to which we must bow in humble submission. The last, long, lingering hope has disappeared, and it is but too true that General Albert Sidney Johnston is no more! The tale of his death is simply narrated in a dispatch from Colonel William Preston, in the following words:

General Johnston fell yesterday, at half-past 2 o'clock, while leading a successful charge, turning the enemy's right, and gaining a brilliant victory. A Min16-ball cut the artery of his leg, but he rode on until, from loss of blood, he fell exhausted, and died without pain in a few moments. His body has been intrusted to me by General Beauregard, to be taken to New Orleans, and remain until instructions are received from his family.

My long and close friendship with this departed chieftain and patriot forbid me to trust myself in giving vent to the feelings which this intelligence has evoked. Without doing injustice to the living, it may safely be said that our loss is irreparable. Among the shining hosts of the great and good who now cluster around the banner of our country, there exists no purer spirit, no more heroic soul, than that of the illustrious man whose death I join you in lamenting.

In his death he has illustrated the character for which through life he was conspicuous — that of singleness of purpose and devotion to duty with his whole energies. Bent on obtaining the victory, which he deemed essential to his country's cause, he rode on to the accomplishment of his object, forgetful of self, while his very life-blood was ebbing away fast. His last breath cheered his comrades on to victory. The last sound he heard was their shout of victory. His last thought was his country, and long and deeply will his country mourn his loss.

The message was laid on the table, and ordered to be printed.

Mr. Barksdale moved to have 500 extra copies printed. Agreed to. [691]

The following were the proceedings in the Confederate House of Representatives :

House of Representatives. Monday, April 7, 1862.
The House met at twelve o'clock, and was opened with prayer by Rev. Mr. Crumley. Journal of Saturday read.

Mr. Wilcox, of Texas, introduced the following joint resolution:

Resolved, That Congress has learned with feelings of deep joy and gratitude to the Divine Ruler of nations the news of the recent glorious victory of our arms in Tennessee.

Resolved, That the death of General Albert Sidney Johnston, the commander of our forces, while leading his troops to victory, cannot but temper our exultation with a shade of sadness at the loss of so able, skillful, and gallant an officer.

Resolved, That, in respect to the memory of General Johnston, the Senate concurring, Congress do now adjourn until twelve o'clock to-morrow.

Mr. Perkins, of Louisiana, thought that we could best evince our regret for the fall of our heroes by imitating their examples in discharging the duties which devolve upon us. He had no disposition to oppose the appropriate resolutions introduced by the gentleman from Texas, but there were many important matters demanding the attention of the House.

Mr. Foote:

I would ask the gentleman from Louisiana to withdraw his objection to the consideration of these resolutions.

While I agree with the gentleman as to the necessity of speedy action upon the subject to which he refers, it seems to me that such a mark of respect to the gallant dead is peculiarly appropriate, and should be offered regardless of the consideration which the gentleman presents. Notwithstanding that we all feel rejoiced over the glorious victory which has been achieved, we cannot but feel deeply saddened at the fate of the gallant Johnston.

It seems to me, sir, that we cannot be to-day sufficiently composed to perform our duties here, and it would, in my opinion, best comport with the feelings of respect and gratitude which we all entertain for the distinguished and patriotic chieftain, as well as the officers and soldiers who participated with him in this conflict, to adopt these resolutions, and adjourn over until to-morrow.

I am as anxious as any man to perform the duties devolving upon us here; but I am satisfied that we cannot do so to-day with that degree of composure which is necessary to give force and efficiency to our action.

I trust the gentleman will withdraw his objection, and allow the resolution to pass.

Mr. Perkins: “I withdraw my objection.”

Mr. McQueen, of South Carolina: “I desire to suggest to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Wilcox) that this battle may have been fought in Mississippi. If so, it would be proper for him to change that part of his resolutions which locates the fight in Tennessee.”

Mr. Davis, of Mississippi: “That battle was fought in Tennessee, very near the Mississippi line.”

Mr. Moore, of Kentucky:

Mr. Speaker, I do not arise for the purpose of [692] detaining the House by any protracted remarks in support of the resolutions offered by the gentleman from Texas, but rather to express my gratitude to that gentleman for presenting those resolutions. I trust, however, that I may be indulged in the request that this House will unanimously adopt the resolutions, and bear their testimony of regard to the memory of that great and good man. Until our recent reverses at Forts Donelson and Henry, no cloud of darkness had rested on his fair name, no shadow had passed along to obscure the bright sunshine of his matchless military fame. But I must not call up the memory of the past. I do not wish to refer to any reflections which may have been indulged either here or elsewhere toward General Johnston in reference to those reverses; but it only remains now for me to ask this tribute to his memory, since he has given the highest evidence of devotion to his country which the soldier can offer. He has fallen at the head of his army, in the midst of the conflict, in the full tide of a glorious and brilliant victory over his country's foe.

This crowning act of devotion to that country which he had so long loved and served has dissipated every cloud which momentarily marred the splendor of his glorious name, and his memory passes into history, undimmed by any word of condemnation, unclouded by any shadow of reproach. Nor, indeed, Mr. Speaker, would any cloud of suspicion ever have rested upon his name had the circumstances with which he was surrounded at Bowling Green been known by the country. No man can know the facts save those of us who were personally cognizant of his condition at that place. I have seen and witnessed the terrible responsibility pressing upon his great heart, as, reposing on his couch of straw, he contemplated the unmeasured degree of hope and expectation with which the country looked to him, while he had an army too small to advance, and almost too small to hazard a retreat. But, Mr. Speaker, I am happy to witness already demonstrations in this House which mark the unanimity with which the resolutions will be adopted — the unanimity with which this House, here in the Capitol, will offer a nation's gratitude as a tribute of respect to the memory of the illustrious dead.

While I have felt justified, under all the circumstances, in alluding particularly to General Johnston, I would by no means have it understood that I feel less grateful to the memory of all the officers and soldiers who may have fallen in the same conflict. God forbid that the humblest soldier who fell on that glorious field where victory so signally crowned our arms should fail to be remembered with the warmest affection and gratitude of our people. In this, as in all revolutions, the officers and soldiers constitute our tower of strength. Upon their strong arms and brave hearts do we lean with all our hopes and expectations for ourselves and our country. And now, as they have in the dread hour of sanguinary conflict laid down their lives, and thus borne the highest evidences of devotion to their country, I hope this House will unanimously adopt the resolutions, and pay that high mark of respect to those gallant soldiers who so nobly fell in defense of their country.

After the conclusion of Mr. Moore's remarks the resolutions were adopted unanimously.

They were immediately reported to the Senate; but, that body having adjourned, Mr. Jones moved for a reconsideration of the vote by which they were --adopted, with a view to passing resolutions expressive of the sorrow of this House at the intelligence of the loss of one of our distinguished chieftains. [693]

In the course of the debate in Congress on the resolutions relative to the death of General A. S. Johnston, Mr. Barksdale, of Mississippi, said:

I hold in my hand an unofficial letter, probably the last written by the lamented deceased to the Chief Executive of the Confederacy, to whom he had long been united by the ties of friendship, and with whom he had enlisted at an early day under the flag of a Government which together they abandoned when it became the symbol of a monstrous despotism. This letter has been given me to be used as I might think proper for the vindication of the recent acts of General Johnston, not fully understood by the public. I will, therefore, by the indulgence of the House, read this letter, that they may see the facts in the light by which his course was shaped previous and subsequent to the fall of Donelson. These facts triumphantly vindicate his fame as a true patriot and an able and skillful military leader. This letter, written under most trying circumstances, shows that no trace of passion was visible in the awful serenity of the pure, brave, and undaunted spirit in which it originated. It is a simple recital of facts in justification of his actions, before which the calumnies of the ignorant or the wicked will flee like mist before the brow of day. He has left a noble example of magnanimity in the midst of unjust complaint, and of courage and fortitude amid disaster. His fame rises brighter from the severe ordeal through which he has passed, and his name will live green and fresh forever in the hearts of a grateful people. Mr. Speaker, I will close by reading the letter to which I have referred.

Mr. Barksdale then read General Johnston's letter of March 18th, heretofore inserted (page 518).

At the conclusion of the speech of Mr. Barksdale and the reading of the letter from General Johnston.

Mr. Smith, of Virginia, offered the following resolution:

Resolved, That this House, from respect to the memory of General Albert Sidney Johnston, and the officers and men who have fallen in the defense of their country in the hour of a great and glorious victory over our ruthless enemy, do now adjourn.

This resolution was adopted without opposition, and the House adjourned.

Tuesday, April 8, 1862.
The Senate met at eleven o'clock. Prayer by the Rev. Mr. Kepler, of the Episcopal Church.

Mr. Haynes, of Tennessee, moved that the resolution touching the victory near Corinth, and lamenting the death of Albert Sidney Johnston, be taken up, so that he could offer resolutions in lieu. Resolutions were then presented by the Senator, expressive of the joy of Congress on hearing of the great victory of our army in Tennessee, paying a glowing tribute of respect to the memory of the commander-in-chief, and conveying the thanks of Congress to General Beauregard and the officers under his command, for their services in that memorable battle.

Mr. Haynes stated that he was one of the Tennessee delegation who requested the President to transfer General Johnston's command to some other officer, after the retreat from Nashville. Subsequently, information had caused him to alter his opinion, and he therefore felt it his duty to offer the resolutions named.

Mr. Yancey, of Alabama, moved that the resolutions be so amended as to [694] designate the place of the battle as indicated by General Beauregard-viz., the battle-field of Shiloh. He moved, also, that the resolutions be so amended as to tender the thanks of Congress to General Beauregard and the surviving officers and soldiers for their gallantry and skill on that memorable field.

On October 1, 1866, the Legislature of Texas by joint resolution of both Houses, unanimously adopted, appointed a select committee to proceed to New Orleans, after the adjournment, and arrange for the removal of the remains of General Johnston to Austin, the seat of government of the State. The Hon. R. V. Cook, of the Senate, and Colonel Ashbel Smith and Colonel Jones, of Titus County, were appointed as the committee. Feeling tributes were paid to General Johnston's memory by Messrs. Cook, Smith, and F. C. Hume, of Walker County.

The following is the joint resolution concerning the removal of the remains of General Albert Sidney Johnston from the State of Louisiana, and their interment in the State Cemetery:

Whereas, The remains of General Albert Sidney Johnston, who fell at Shiloh, were stopped in New Orleans, on their way to Texas, by the capture of that city, and have never been removed thence; and, whereas, it was the desire of the deceased that he should be buried in the State of Texas; and, whereas, it is believed to be the wish of the people of the State that the dying request of one whom Texas was proud to acknowledge as one of the most illustrious of her citizens should be complied with: therefore- Be it resolved by the Legislature of the State of Texas, That the sum of $2,000, or so much thereof as may be necessary, be appropriated, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated by law, to defray the expenses of the removal and burial of the remains of General Albert Sidney Johnston, in the State Cemetery, in the city of Austin; and that a joint committee of the Legislature, consisting of one from the Senate, and two from the House of Representatives, be appointed, who shall proceed, in vacation, to the city of New Orleans, and carry this resolution into effect, in an appropriate manner.

Approved October 3, 1866.


J. W. Throckmorton.

The question being upon the motion to amend the joint resolution by providing that a committee of the two Houses be charged, after the adjournment of the Legislature, with carrying the object of the resolution into effect, Senator Cook said:

Mr. President, in moving this amendment to the resolution offered by the honorable Senator from Travis, I do so from the feeling that it is but a fitting tribute to the worth and greatness of the illustrious deceased. Instead of allowing the sacred duty of his reinterment to be devolved upon some irresponsible person, let it be done by the Legislature itself. Let the body of the admirable soldier be borne to its final grave by a joint committee of the representatives of the people of Texas. General Johnston always claimed the State of Texas as his home, and was looked upon by the people as one of her citizens; and, as it [695] was originally intended that he should be buried in our midst, and as it was only by the fall of New Orleans that his remains were stopped in that city, on their way to Texas, it is now but a just tribute to his memory that the objects of these resolutions be carried into effect.

Mr. President, when the conflict became inevitable, and when all hope of accommodation had fled, and when the earthquake-throes of civil war began to shake the foundation of the republic, General Johnston, at that time afar off upon the shores of the Pacific, hearing the din of the approaching struggle, immediately began his journey across the howling wilderness and trackless desert that separated him from Texas, resolving to offer his sword to a cause which already had the sanction of his affections. I will not weary the Senate, sir, with a recital of his journey to the seat of government, and his final assumption of the command of the Army of the Tennessee. Nor will I attempt to follow, step by step, the disastrous events over which he had no control, and which resulted in the final retreat of the Confederate army from Bowling Green. Nor shall I advert to the detailed events which marked the progress of that army, as it swung slowly over the hills of Kentucky, and through the forests of Tennessee, amid the inclemency of wintry weather, to the memorable encampment at Corinth. But, sir, during those weeks of gloom, a burden of obloquy was heaped upon the gallant leader of the retreating army, which must have stung his proud spirit nigh unto death. No words of reproval were thought too vile with which to-bring him into odium. The newspapers and the orators everywhere throughout the South denounced him as a failure, and a military empiric — a sworded and belted quack, whose movements were bringing our cause to ruin. Miserable newspaper scribblers, who never saw a “squadron set in the field,” dared to brand the greatest soldier in the West with incompetency, if not with cowardice. Without comprehending or dreaming of the greatness of his plans, which only his death prevented from culminating in the magnificence of a crowning victory, ignorant critics imputed the retreat of our army, and all the disasters which preceded it, to his want of courage and capacity — an unjust verdict, which will excite posterity with surprise, and which an indignant sense of returning justice has already reversed.

No marvel, sir, when our army halted amid the historic hills of Corinth, that the proud spirit of our hero chafed within him, and that he eagerly turned the heads of his columns toward the memorable field of Shiloh. I will not repeat the details of that glorious battle: how that, hour after hour, amid the shouts of advancing thousands, the eagle of the Confederacy soared to victory; how that banner after banner fluttered through smoke and storm as the foe receded; how that, while the hurrahs of victory were still ringing in his ears, Johnston died a soldier's death. Yes, sir, in the saddle, with the harness of a warrior on, the chieftain met the inevitable messenger of Fate. The pitiless musket-ball that pierced him spilled the noblest blood of the South. When he fell, all was from that moment lost I Victory no longer perched upon our flag. Less competent hands guided the strife, and a genius of lesser might ruled in his stead. What was assured success when the sun was wheeling to his zenith, became a fruitless and barren struggle ere the evening shades descended; and the shadows of night but covered the disposition for the morrow's retrograde movement. Then, sirs, was for the first time felt the priceless and inestimable loss we had sustained. Then, for the first time, men began to see, when the fruits of victory were so near being seized, the vast, gigantic, comprehensive strategy, which might have [696] resulted in the complete overthrow of the Federal army, and the recovery of Kentucky and Tennessee. I will not say that it would have changed the result; I will not say that, had our admirable soldier been spared, the Confederacy would now be numbered with the nations of the earth. Into the counsels of Heaven let no mortal presumptuously seek to enter. But what I do say, sir, is, that from the fatal hour when the life-blood of the gallant Johnston moistened the earth — from that hour, sir, may be dated that long series of disasters, relieved, it is true, by heroic effort, and brightened from time to time by brilliant but barren victories-but reaching, nevertheless, through the darkness of successive campaigns, until the Southern Cross descended forever amid the wail of a people's agony behind the clouds upon the banks of the Appomattox.

Fearless, honest, and loyal to principles, our hero died for what he thought was right. We know his resting-place, and we can recover his ashes. But, alas I thousands of his soldiers, the children of Texas, will never sleep in her soil. Their graves are upon the heights of Gettysburg, upon the hills of the Susquehanna, by the banks of the Potomac, and by the side of the Cumberland. They sleep in glory upon the fields of Manassas and of Sharpsburg, of Gaines's Mill, and in the trenches of Richmond, and upon the shores of Vicksburg, and upon a hundred other historic fields, afar from the land of their love. Ay, but let them sleep on in their glory. Posterity will do them justice. In the ages that are to come, when all the passions that now animate the bosom and sway the heart shall have passed away with the present generation of men, and when the teeming millions from the North and South who are to inhabit, in future centuries, the vast and fertile regions of the Mississippi Valley, shall recount, in song and story, the glorious achievements of their ancestry, and when they shall dwell, with just pride, upon the renown of their deeds, and when hoary age shall tell to kindling youth the marvelous story of a revolution, the like of which the sun has never yet gazed upon in his six thousand years of created splendor-then, sir, it will be, that our gallant dead shall live in the remembrance of mankind; then, sir, will posterity raise and build a fitting monument to perpetuate their memory.

Perhaps the field of Shiloh will be chosen as the spot for its erection. Broad will be laid its foundation, deep down in the rock-ribbed earth. Vast will be its proportions-even vaster than the hoary Pyramids of Egypt. Upon its ascending sides, as they slowly aspire to the clouds, will be engraven the names of the great multitudes who sleep in soldiers' graves. Upon its angles, and around its broad pedestal, will be erected the bronze statues of illustrious chieftains who led the opposing hosts-while, sir, upon its lofty summit, as the crowning glory of the whole structure, a gigantic figure will be reared, girt about with a warrior's sword, while upon its head shall be wreathed a chaplet of immortal glory. The fleecy clouds will love to linger about it, and the earliest sunlight shall brighten its features. Upon the pedestal, where stands this statue, let the Muse of History inscribe in letters of everlasting fire the name of Albert Sidney Johnston!

Sir, gentlemen who are insensible to the worth of departed greatness may declare such utterances treasonable. But I have yet to learn that admiration of true heroism and laudation of moral worth and intellectual greatness were ever regarded by an intelligent people as badges of treason. For my own part I see nothing inconsistent in honoring the worth of our departed dead, and at the same time giving our cordial support in maintaining, upholding, and defending the [697] Government of the United States. Sir, I love the Constitution of our fathers, and the great principles of republican government, and shall ever feel it a sacred duty to defend the same against all foes, foreign and domestic. If loyalty to the Government implies that we are to forget and execrate our dead, and are to declare by our words and acts that the glorious army of the Confederacy was only a band of outlaws and felons, and that its leaders deserved the gibbet or the dungeon — I repeat, sir, if these things must be included in the definition of “loyalty” --then, indeed, are we all disloyal, and such will be the condition of the Southern people for generations unborn. For sooner might the stars be swept from the heavens, or the faculty of memory be eradicated from the human mind, than the recollections of the heroic and remarkable achievements of the Confederate army be forgotten by the American people. Ay, sir, while the hills exist and the mountains survive; while the Potomac continues to pour his bright waters to the broad Atlantic; while the Mississippi continues to roll his turbid flood to the delta and the Gulf of Mexico, the remembrance of the “lost cause” shall survive, and the names of Johnston, and Jackson, and Lee, and a host of other heroes, shall live, and the glory of their endurance and their illustrious deeds shall stir the souls of future freemen, and stimulate the blood of generations yet unborn.

Mr. President, the great Napoleon, dying on the rock-prison of St. Helena, left as his last heritage the wish that he might be buried on the banks of the Seine, among the French people that he had loved so well. For twenty years he slept beneath the rocks of the isle upon which he had died. But when at last the rage of animosity had ceased, and when human passions had subsided with the settlement of the great questions that had roused them, the voice of the great popular heart of France reached the king upon his throne, demanding that the body of the emperor should be removed and buried in the land of his love. The king heeded the voice, and sent his proud ships and the chivalry that surrounded his throne, to bring the illustrious sleeper to France.

With a magnificence unprecedented even in that remarkable country, the remains of the chieftain were received. Millions went forth to meet the great conqueror stretched, in imperial pomp, upon his funeral-chariot. Amid tears and sobs, and the waving of banners, and the roar of cannon, and the imposing ceremonies of religion, they laid their idol to rest beneath the dome of the Invalides. We know that our hero cannot be thus received. Neither banners nor cannon can welcome his ashes to a grave in our midst. But, sir, he will be received with none the less heart-felt respect; and his sleep will be none the less sweet beside the ashes of Burleson and McCulloch, in the land of his love. And if we can lower him to his last resting-place, while the bosoms of brave men heave around him, and the tears of fair women bedew the sod that shall cover him, a sacred duty will be performed to the memory of a great, a noble, and an illustrious man:

He is Freedom's now and Fame's,
One of the few, the immortal names
That were not born to die!

Sir, I have done. I have said more than I expected to say when I arose to speak. I thank the Senate for its attention, and I trust the resolution and amendment may both be adopted.


Remarks of Ashbel Smith on moving the adoption of the resolution proposing to have the remains of General A. Sidney Johnston removed from New Orleans to the capital of Texas:

Mr. Speaker, I rise to move that the joint resolution from the Senate which has just been read be now adopted by this House. It is fitting that the mortal remains of the great soldier therein named should repose in the bosom of this State, brought hither under the orders and auspices of the representatives of the people whom he loved so well. In moving the adoption of this resolution I perform a sad and yet not altogether unpleasant duty. To render honor and homage to worth, so great and so pure, is, sir, a pleasure. Albert Sidney Johnston was my friend-and who that ever knew him is there that was not his friend? We were fellow-soldiers, too; I served under him in the old Republic of Texas twenty-five years ago; a quarter of a century afterward I fought under his command on the great battle-field of Shiloh-his last battle-field, where he sealed his devotion to the cause with his life's blood. I ask the privilege from the House to say a few words on this occasion. I shall not attempt any sketch of General Albert Sidney Johnston--an outline of his life, a recital of his services, a portrayal of his character, even were I adequate to this work, are too ample material to be compressed into the time allotted us on this occasion. The briefest notice must suffice.

(Colonel Smith here gave a brief outline of his career.)

It is fitting, it is profitable, to render honor and homage to great worth and great public services. We are ourselves better for this homage. Like mercy, it blesses him that gives — it makes the man, the people who render this homage, a better man, a better people. It is no superstition, it is truth, that the spirits of the mighty dead shed an influence for good over the land in which their mortal bodies repose. For, though their bodies rest in the earth, their true sepulchre is in the hearts of their countrymen. The worth of Albert Sidney Johnston is to the people of Texas, to their children and their children's children, a possession and an inheritance forever. It is fitting and due that his mortal remains be laid in this land. I move the adoption by the House of the Senate's joint resolution.

Remarks of F. Charles Hume on the joint resolution of the Senate relative to the removal of the remains of General A. Sidney Johnston to Texas:

Mr. Speaker, I have only a few words to say in addition to the eloquent remarks of the gentleman from Harris, and I am done.

We all know it was the dying wish of General Johnston to be buried in the bosom of his adopted State, to whose services he had given the labor of his best years, and the devotion of his great heart.

The unfortunate condition of our country has hitherto prevented the State from granting this last request; but now that the dread scenes of war have ended, and the people enjoy an opportunity of expressing the tenderness of their memory for the irreproachable patriot who defended them and theirs “even unto death,” it is as little as their representatives can do, in justice to the living and the dead, to ask of Louisiana the mouldering body of their warrior, that he may be buried by the waters of the Colorado, and mingle his dust [699] with the heroes and statesmen whose names are living in the charmed numbers of undying song.

Few names stand more prominently in our history than that of General Johnston; few memories wind around our hearts in more clinging embraces.

Coming to Texas at an early day, and assuming at once his proper place among our wise, great, and good men, he has led our armies to battle, and identified himself in every respect with her eventful history.

When the battle for Southern independence broke with its thunders and its threatenings upon the ears of our people, he did not hesitate to pledge to Texas and her confederated sisters the strength of his arm, and the fidelity of his heart. He did not pause before the careering waves of that Rubicon which held mirrored in its fearful depths the evils that were to come; he did not murmur in the wilderness, and curse the Moses who tried to lead his people from the savory flesh-pots and the galling bondage of Egypt; but in all, and through all, his manly heart defied the storm, and he fell ‘mid its wrathful fury, still true to all the instincts of Southern manhood, and blameless in his unspotted glory.

When the nations of Europe combined to crush the arms and the heart of the peerless Napoleon, and sent him to the barren rocks of St. Helena to sorrow, and sicken, and die, they did not dream that a day would come when France would seek the very ashes of her illustrious emperor, and bow with bleeding heart before his coffined form; but so it was, and, after the lapse of twenty years, Paris was illuminated by a thousand fires, and the whole nation bowed its head and wept as his sacred dust was laid close to the music of his own “ sunny Seine.”

Let us do this righteous act; and, though we cannot bestrew the grave of our fallen chieftain with the green emblems of victory; though the floral offerings we cast upon his shrouded form are woven of the funereal cypress and the weeping-willow; though we feel and know he was the champion of a cause now lost forever-still in the deepness of our grief we may say how much we love his memory; and, while we weep for his and our country's misfortunes, whisper a prayer that God will bless his widowed wife and orphaned children.

It was known to have been the wish of General Johnston that his ashes should repose in the soil of Texas. He had so expressed himself in the presence of his staff. He had also said to Preston, “When I die, I want a handful of Texas earth on my breast.”

The people of New Orleans, therefore, surrendered to the committee from Texas the body of General Johnston, which was by them escorted to Austin in January, 1867. It was the wish of the committee not to arouse the jealousy of the authorities. The chairman, in a letter to the present writer, dated January 8th, says:

In view of the strange passions which govern some persons in the United States, including some individuals in high office, the committee have deemed it in good taste and fitting the solemnity of the duty devolved on us to attract no premature and hostile attention.

This, however, they were unable to avoid, as events proved. [700]

The following extract from the New Orleans Picayune of January 24, 1867, gives other interesting details of the occasion:

At the hour of three o'clock yesterday afternoon the St. Louis Cemetery was the scene of an assemblage such as never before had been witnessed within those ancient walls, which inclose the mortal remains of so many who, in their time, had been loved and revered by the population of Louisiana.

It was the occasion of the disinterment and removal of the remains of one who, though neither a native nor a resident of New Orleans, was perhaps dearer than either native or resident in the hearts of its people-General Albert Sidney Johnston, the hero chieftain of the Confederate army, the victor and victim of the bloody field of Shiloh.

The State of Texas had sent a committee for the purpose of superintending this duty, and yesterday was appointed for the exhumation. ... It was generally known throughout the city that the disinterment and removal were to take place yesterday at three o'clock, but no formal invitation had been issued to the public to attend the ceremony.

And yet, when it was announced that the friends of the deceased and of his family were expected to be present, this simple phrase was sufficiently comprehensive to embrace a whole population, to whom the memory of the departed is even clearer than that of friend or relative. It was, therefore, not surprising that so great a number of our people assisted at the ceremony; nor that a majority should have belonged to that gentler sex who first strewed flowers upon the hero's coffin, and who ever since have tended his tomb with pious cares more precious than odorous garlands. Although the event was one which appealed directly to the sensibilities and emotions of the people of New Orleans, the ceremonies were conducted without any of the pageantry or pomp which usually characterizes such occasions. No blazonry of military rank marked the simple procession which accompanied the remains from the tomb to the steamer. No note of martial music measured the solemn tread of the long line of mourners. But grief was not less sincere because its expression in the accustomed mode was not permitted; nor was it the less intense that there was added to sorrow for the loss of one so loved sorrow for the loss of the cause for which he fought.

No stranger could have supposed that the plainly-attired pall-bearers who walked beside the hearse were generals high in rank and in reputation-men who had led armies to battle and to victory; who had defended cities, and who had organized campaigns. Among them were several who had been the friends and associates of the deceased in the old army of the United States, and some who had been his lieutenants in the recent war, and who stood beside him on that fatal but glorious day which deprived the Confederacy of his services. There was Beauregard, the favorite son of Louisiana, who immediately succeeded him in command of the army; there was Bragg, his energetic and indefatigable chief of staff; there was Buckner, who so gallantly fulfilled the chieftain's orders by the heroic but fruitless defense at Donelson.

It is remarkable, too, that, among this distinguished assemblage, there were three men-Beauregard, Bragg, and Hood — who had each in turn succeeded to the command of the army upon which the life and the death of its first leader seemed to impress a peculiar character and a strange fatality — an army whose [701] history was illustrated by so many heroic deeds and so many signal misfortunes --an army which seemed to have inherited its heroism from his life, and its misfortunes from his death.. ..

This ceremony concluded, the coffin was lifted by the pall-bearers from the ground, and deposited in a hearse at the gate of the cemetery. Here a spontaneous procession was formed. The hearse moved slowly down the street, accompanied by the pall-bearers, and followed by a long cortege composed of a great number of the ladies and gentlemen of the city. Very many ladies followed immediately after the hearse, thus imparting a peculiar and touching character to the spectacle.

The line of pedestrians was many squares in length, and after these came a number of mourners in carriages. The route taken was down Conti Street to Rampart, up Rampart to Canal, up Canal to Chartres, down Chartres to St. Peter, and thence to the ferry-boat, upon which the remains were to be placed. The utmost decorum pervaded the masses of the people who were assembled on the sidewalks to witness the procession; and the feeling was manifested to such an extent that the transit of the street-cars and other vehicles was stayed along the whole route. When the coffin was transferred to the ferry-boat many persons embarked with it, and numbers of others were only prevented from doing so in consequence of the incapacity of the boat to accommodate them.

Upon the arrival of the remains at Algiers they were placed by the pallbearers in the ladies' parlor of the depot-building of the Opelousas Railroad, where they were left in charge of Lieutenant John Crowley, who lost a hand at Belmont and an arm at Shiloh, and others who were maimed while serving under the deceased in his last great battle.

Among the pall-bearers, besides Beauregard, Bragg, Buckner, and Hood, were Generals Richard Taylor, Longstreet, Gibson, and Harry Hays.

All the papers were full of testimonials to the goodness and greatness of the deceased.

On the morning of January 24th the Texas committee, consisting of Colonel Ashbel Smith, Hon. D. W. Jones, Hon. M. G. Shelley, and Major Ochiltree, took charge of the remains of General Johnston, and conveyed them by the Opelousas Railroad to Brashear City. At Terrebonne, some fifty ladies, headed by Mrs. Bragg, strewed the coffin with fresh flowers and wreaths, and decorated it with floral emblems; and at Brashear City it was received by a large body of citizens. It was carried thence to Galveston by steamer.

Galveston had been the home of General Johnston at one time, and many of its citizens had been his personal friends — some of them among the best he had. It was proposed, therefore, and so announced, that the public honor of a solemn funeral procession should be accorded his body. When the programme was published, the United States general, commanding the district, issued an order prohibiting it. The programme is published, as the best evidence that it concealed neither treason nor sedition.


Programme for the reception of the remains of General Johnston.

The following is the programme agreed upon this morning by the committee for receiving the remains of General Johnston:

Legislative Committee.

Hon. James Love,Hon. F. H. Merriman,
Dr. Levi Jones,Dr. N. D. Labadie,
Oscar Farish, Esq.,Henry Journey, Esq.,
James P. Nash, Esq.,Stephen Southwick,
Colonel Andrew Neil,Colonel John D. Waters.

Clergy and Orator.
Mayor and Aldermen.
Reception Committee.
City and County Officers.
Judges and Officers of the Supreme Court.
Members of the Bar.
Civil, Military, and Naval officers of the General Government.
Toward Association.
German Benevolent Association.
Hibernian Benevolent Association.
St. Andrew's Society.
Galveston Literary Association.
Turners' Association.
Draymen's Benevolent Association.
Fire Department.

The procession will form on Twentieth Street, head of column resting on Strand. To close up so soon as the reception committee reach the Strand from the wharf.

line of March.
Up Strand to Bath Avenue.
Bath Avenue to Broadway.
Broadway to Tremont.
Tremont to Church.
Church to Presbyterian Church.

Where appropriate religious services will be celebrated under the direction of Rev. Dr. McNair. During the time the City-Hall bell will be tolled, and it is requested that the church-bells will also be tolled.

During the progress of the ceremonies it is requested that all stores be closed and that all business be suspended.

The remains will arrive on Friday morning by the steamer Matagorda.-Galveston Bulletin. [703]

This is General Griffin's order:

headquarters district of Texas, Galveston, January 24, 1866.
Sir: My attention has been called to the programme published in the morning papers, for the reception of the remains of General Albert Sidney Johnston, now en route from New Orleans to Austin.

Although there is a sacredness surrounding the remains of all deceased persons which makes it exceedingly delicate to interfere with their funeral celebrations, it becomes my duty, owing to the position that General Johnston occupied toward the United States Government, during the latter period of his life, to forbid the funeral procession.

If the body can be taken quietly, without any ringing of bells, public or popular demonstration, from the point of its arrival, direct to the point of its departure fiom the city, no objections will be made.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Charles Griffin, Brevet Major-General commanding. Hon. C. H. Leonard, Mayor of Galveston, Texas.

This order was without warrant of law. It was represented to General Griffin that no military or political significance was intended in the honors proposed; that the ashes of a great man, a soldier, a Texan, were on the way to their last resting-place, and that it was unrighteous to forbid the people to lament for their dead. It was pointed out to him that a soldier, who fell under his flag, was entitled to the honors of war. Federal officers had received them at the hands of the Confederates while the flames of civil war burned fiercest. Wainwright and Lea were so buried in Galveston. Colonel Baylor stated that he buried Colonel Mudd and Colonel Bassett with the honors of war. It was argued that a decent respect for chivalric usages could do no harm. General Thomas Green, an heroic soldier of the South, had been interred with these tokens of respect at Austin, without derogation to the Federal authority. Such arguments were in vain. General Griffin was inexorable. He affected to mistrust the statements that only a personal significance should be given to the demonstration. His sole concession was, that the body might remain at the wharf until next day. An appeal was made to General Heintzelman, who went beyond Griffin, and whose conduct is said to have been very coarse and cynical.

The mayor then appealed by telegraph to General Sheridan. The following is the correspondence:

Galveston, Texas, January 24, 1867.
The citizens of Galveston wish to give a civil escort, from steamer to cars, to the remains of General Johnston. General Griffin, commanding, has issued a prohibitory order. Will you give authority to the citizens here to give civil escort to his remains?


Charles H. Leonard, Mayor. Major-General P. H. Sheridan, commanding Department of the Gulf, New Orleans, Louisiana.


Sir: I respectfully decline to grant your request.

I have too much regard for the memory of the brave men who died to preserve our Government, to authorize Confederate demonstrations over the remains of any one who attempted to destroy it.


P. H. Sheridan, Major-General U. S. A. Mr. Charles H. Leonard, Mayor of Galveston, Texas.

The Southern people were learning that they who have laid down their arms have no rights, and that grief may become a crime in the eyes of jealous tyranny.

In the following proclamation the Mayor of Galveston made known to the people the edict of their military master. It is well that it should be read by those who talk of beneficent despotisms:

Mayor's Office, Galveston, January 24, 1867.
I am in receipt of a communication from brevet Major-General Charles Griffin, dated headquarters, District of Texas, Galveston, January 24, 1867, forbidding the contemplated funeral procession in honor of the late General Albert Sidney Johnston, and directing that the remains be transported through this city without any public or popular demonstration.

I therefore hereby give notice that the proposed ceremonies will not take place.

Charles H. Leonard, Mayor.

When the vessel arrived, and the order of the military commandant was communicated to Colonel Ashbel Smith, he directed the body to be placed upon the wharf, and, with the committee and the mayor, called on the military authorities. The result of this conference was the presentation of the following request, to which General Griffin gave a verbal assent:

Mayor's Office, Galveston, January 13, 1867.
General: While on the part of the citizens of Galveston I would state that they did not intend, by the published programme for the reception of the remains of General Johnston, any political or party demonstration, I pledge that there shall be no music by bands, ringing or tolling of bells, public or private demonstrations, of any organized associations in the procession should the body be conveyed to the church in this city, and thence to the point of its departure. All persons appearing in the procession shall be invited and appear as members of the deceased's family or friends. Respectfully, etc., (Signed)

Charles H. Leonard, Mayor. General Griffin, commanding District of Texas, Galveston, Texas.

Mayor's Office, Galveston, January 25, 1867.
The citizens of Galveston are hereby respectfully requested to implicitly conform to the terms of the above request. Charles H. Leonard, Mayor.

Subsequent to the above, a meeting was called at the office of Mr. James Sorley, Mayor Leonard in the chair, when Colonel Smith moved as follows: [705]

Out of deference to the wishes of his old personal friends, the remains of General Albert Sidney Johnston will lie in state on the Central Wharf, where they may be visited. They will be moved by the pall-bearers and committee tomorrow morning, Saturday, 26th instant, at ten o'clock A. M., from their present resting-place on Central Wharf to the depot, thence to be conveyed by special train to Houston. The friends of the family are invited to attend their removal.

This was carried unanimously.

While these conferences were going on, Major McKnight says, in his letter to the New Orleans Times:

During the conference up-town, thousands of ladies and gentlemen went down to the wharf and exhibited the most unequivocal evidence of their respect for the memory of the deceased. I saw some thirty or thirty-five negroes, with mourning streamers upon their hats and arms, walk slowly and solemnly around the coffin, and several of them, standing near the head of the bier, freely dropped tears for the hero whose remains were before them.

The following is the account given by the Galveston News of the transfer of the body from the wharf to the depot, with editorial comments which reflected the sentiments of the community:

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