Edward "Allegheny" Johnson
was born in Virginia, April 16, 1816, graduated from West Point in 1838 and then
promoted second lieutenant of the Sixth U.S. Infantry. He served during
the operations against the Florida Indians from 1838 to 1841, and
subsequently was on duty in the southwest. During the war with Mexico he
rendered honorable service taking part in the siege of Vera Cruz in
March, 1847, the battle of Cerro Gordo, the skirmish at Amazogue and the
battle of Churubusco; earned the brevet of captain at Molino del Rey,
and was brevetted major for gallant and meritorious conduct at
Chapultepec. He also participated in the assault and capture of the
Mexican capital. Later, he served at military posts in Kansas, Dakota
and California. He was also for a time with the garrison at Fort
Columbus, N. Y. Early in 1861 he resigned his Federal rank of captain,
and was commissioned lieutenant-colonel, corps of infantry, C. S. A. As
colonel of the Twelfth Georgia infantry he was called to Virginia and
sent to the relief of Garnett, but was not able to reach that officer
before his death. Falling back he occupied Alleghany mountain, where he
became known as "Allegheny" Johnson. He earned this nickname by
stubbornly defending the mountain passes. Two Virginia regiments were
added to his command. In December he defeated an attack by
Milroy, his troops fighting splendidly under
his inspiring leadership, and he was at once promoted brigadier-general.
In May, 1862, with his command, the army of the Northwest, he defeated Milroy at McDowell. This battle was fought under his direction and by his own command, reinforced by Taliaferro. Stonewall Jackson commended his "skill, gallantry and presence of mind. " Near the close of the battle Johnson was severely wounded.
In February, 1863, he was promoted major-general, and at the reorganization following the death of Jackson he was put in command of a division of the Second corps of the army of Northern Virginia, under Lieutenant-General Ewell, comprising Steuart's, Nicholls', J. M. Jones' and the Stonewall brigades. Soon afterward he was conspicuous in his third defeat of Milroy. Deploying his division east of Winchester, he masked the operations of Early, and after that officer had captured the Federal works, he cut off the retreat of the enemy, inflicting great loss and demoralizing his forces. Then marching to Carlisle, Pa., he reached the battlefield of Gettysburg on the evening of the first day's fight. He was ordered to the attack upon Culp's hill on the second day and was successful in carrying the enemy's entrenchments, where the fight was renewed, and raged with great fierceness, on the morning of July 3d.
During the operations on the Rapidan in November, 1863, he fought successfully at Payne's farm. At the Wilderness, May 4, 1864, he took position on the Orange turnpike with his division and sustained the attack of Warren's corps, which opened the bloody fighting of that campaign. On the 12th of May, he held the "bloody angle" at Spotsylvania, and having been weakened by the withdrawal of artillery to meet an anticipated flank movement, was overwhelmed by a morning attack of Hancock's corps, in which- he and and some 2,500 of his men were captured. After his exchange he was assigned, September, 1864, to command of Anderson's division of the army of Tennessee. In the corps of Gen. S. D. Lee he took part in Hood's Tennessee campaign, commanding the advance and occupying Florence, Ala., October 30th. He led a desperate charge in the battle of Franklin, and fought at Nashville, December 15th and 16th; on the latter day being captured, with a large part of his division, in the general defeat of Hood's army.
After the close of the war be retired to his farm in Chesterfield county, Va., and resided there until his death, February 22, 1873. "Allegheny", who never married, left behind little personal correspondence.