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Colonel William Preston Johnston, The Life of General Albert Sidney Johnston : His Service in the Armies of the United States, the Republic of Texas, and the Confederate States. 27 3 Browse Search
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Browsing named entities in Colonel William Preston Johnston, The Life of General Albert Sidney Johnston : His Service in the Armies of the United States, the Republic of Texas, and the Confederate States.. You can also browse the collection for Nathaniel J. Eaton or search for Nathaniel J. Eaton in all documents.

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large part of the value of this work is due to their unselfish aid. But the writer cannot omit to express here his deep obligations to the Honorable Jefferson Davis, ex-President of the Confederate States; to the late General Braxton Bragg; to Governors I. G. Harris, John C. Brown, and James D. Porter, of Tennessee; to Colonel Edward W. Munford, General William Preston, General W. C. Whitthorne, General William J. Hamby, Dr. William M. Polk, Colonel A. Ridley, Captain G. W. Gift, and Captain N. J. Eaton. His late colleagues, Prof. Edward S. Joynes, now of Vanderbilt University, and Prof. Carter J. Harris, of Washington and Lee University, have given him most acceptable literary assistance. In addition to the writer's unusual opportunities for arriving at the truth, there were certain exceptional features in his relations to General Johnston, not often found between father and son. There was the utmost confidence and intimacy in their intercourse, and yet General Johnston sedulou
of his boyhood, and life at West Point, as can be collected, are here given. On his way to West Point he first met Nathaniel J. Eaton, with whom he formed a friendship that subsisted for nearly forty years. The steadiness and loyalty of this attachment will receive ample illustration in these pages; but Captain Eaton's own account manifests both his enthusiasm and the deep and earnest nature of. his friend. In a letter of January 1, 1873, he says: I first met Albert Sidney Johnston in Jun reserve of manner. But his cordial grasp, as I shook hands with him and bade him good-by, and his hearty God bless you, Eaton revealed what I had for years yearned to know, that my warm feelings for him were reciprocated; and I think those feelingesired and valued this boyish devotion is proved by a letter of General Johnston's from Utah, in 1858. He writes to Captain Eaton: I have known you long; more than the lifetime of a generation. I remember when I first saw you on North River.
re military post; it was a delightful and elegant home for the gay and gallant young soldiers serving here their apprenticeship in arms. There was at this period of his life no officer more highly regarded in the regiment than the adjutant. Captain Eaton says of him that, while no man was more approachable, no one could remain unimpressed by his dignity; and Colonel Thomas L. Alexander, who joined the regiment in 1830, says that, possessing in an extraordinary degree the confidence, esteem, and admiration of the whole regiment, he was the very beau-ideal of a soldier and an officer. How early he began to exercise that forbearance in judging his fellowmen which afterward became so characteristic, may be seen in a letter to Eaton, written in this period: Our friend and fellow-soldier has destroyed himself. Being entirely unprepared for such an event, you may well judge that we were greatly shocked and grieved on hearing it. Notwithstanding the manner of his death, let us mou
eer narrative, to have reenlisted as a private in an independent spy company. Jefferson Davis, who was with General Gaines in his operations in 1831, was absent on furlough in Mississippi when the Black-Hawk War broke out, but gave up his furlough, and, joining his company, served in the campaign. Thus, in early life and with small rank, met as co-workers in this remote field, three men, who, forty years later, measured arms on an arena whose contest shook the world. Lieutenants Johnston, Eaton, and Robert Anderson, received commissions as colonels on the staff of the Governor of Illinois, dated May 9th. This militia rank was given, in order to secure the ready obedience of the Illinois officers, who refused to obey orders received through staff-officers of less rank than their own, and it proved a successful device. On May 29th, Governor Reynolds, upon the requisition of General Atkinson, ordered 3,000 militia to assemble June 10th. To provide for and expedite their arming,
Major-General George H. Crosman, United States Army (retired), written in 1873, occurs the following, giving voice to this opinion: Your father acquired a very high reputation for his wise and successful conduct during the Black-Hawk War. Captain Eaton relates a little anecdote of the Black-Hawk War, which it may not be amiss to give in his own language: On the same campaign an incident happened, illustrating Lieutenant Johnston's keen sense of propriety, his respect for female virtuer, in order to gratify the cherished wish of her heart, bought a farm near St. Louis, with the purpose of engaging in its cultivation. That he did not quit the army without a severe struggle is evident from his letters and actions. He writes to Eaton : I have this day mailed my resignation, the acceptance of which will be notified to you almost as soon as this will reach you. That I felt some little pain at seeing my letter glide into the letter-box you may judge. I hope, although we s
s horse-pistols. Hon. Jefferson Davis calls them , crook-handled pistols, twelve inches in the barrel. Mr. Davis says General Johnston was a very good shot with ordinary pistols, and the writer knows that such was the case subsequently; but Captain Eaton says he had been quite disused to them for several years, and was a poor shot with them, though a skillful marksman with the rifle. Mr. Norvall says Huston's unrivaled skill with the pistol was so well known that astonishment was expressege of sentiment in regard to dueling in the last forty years, and the absence of legal restraint and protection, at the time and place mentioned, which compelled a man to abandon his rights, or to protect them himself by wager of battle. Captain Eaton says: The first time I saw General Johnston after the duel I asked him how he came to fight Huston; and he answered that he did it as a public duty. . . He had but little respect for the practice of dueling. His view, as detailed to the auth
dier subsequently so illustrious. From each he has heard in regard to the other sentiments of respect and appreciation, delivered in terms of noble sincerity — an estimate that grew and strengthened to the close. Some years after, General Scott, in another conversation, with Mr. Preston, referring to his former conversation took occasion to say that no better appointment than General Johnston could have been made; that he was equal to any position, and he would not have it otherwise. Captain Eaton informs the writer that General Scott told him in the winter of 1858 that he regarded General Johnston's appointment as a Godsend to the army and to the country. His opinion of General Johnston's qualities had greatly improved on a better acquaintance. Thus while General Johnston was undergoing the combined hardships, drudgery, and mental torture, arising out of his duties and losses as paymaster, a kind Providence and zealous friends advanced him to the very position which he prefe
ution, that his country's honor can never be tarnished in his hands; a man of such calmness, such kindness, that a deluded people can never suffer by harshness from him. General Johnston, writing February 5, 1858, from Fort Bridger, to Captain N. J. Eaton, of St. Louis, gives an account of the progress and extrication of the army, as follows: The country over the distance to be traversed, and, in fact, to this place-125 miles-presents the appearance of a great desert, including the wh of the Utah campaign he altogether escaped criticism. By whatever motive actuated, a writer in the St. Louis Democrat, in August, 1858, made a violent assault upon him, which elicited a full and conclusive answer from the friendly pen of Captain N. J. Eaton. These articles are not here inserted, because it is believed that the events of the campaign as narrated are a sufficient reply to cavil. It is, indeed, alluded to only because it drew from General Johnston a letter to Captain Eaton, al