War of the Rebellion: Serial 044 Page 0454 N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX.

Search Civil War Official Records


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT, Richmond, August 13, 1864. Honorable

James A. SEDDON, Secretary of War. Richmond:

SIR: I beg leave to ask your attention to the following statements, made with the view to correct some errors which obtain in regard to the military services of Major General Edward Johnson. In the attack upon Winchester last summer, General Early about dark succeeded in taking a position which rendered that of the enemy doubtful, if not untenable. At all events, his success induced the enemy to evacuate the place about 12 o'clock that night. This was done in good order and without loss in men. The next morning, Milroy was intercepted in his retreat by General Johnson, with but two of the four brigades constituting his division. One of the four brigades was detained with the main army, while another, which should have been with him, had mistaken its line of march. The two brigades did not reach 2, 000 in number, while the enemy had between 5, 000 and 6, 000 men. Notwithstanding this disparity of force, General Johnson immediately engaged the enemy. By this bold attack, which was stubbornly resisted, the retreat was checked until re-enforcemets could arrive, after which the enemy were speedily put to rout. His losses in this engagement were little short of 4, 000 killed, wounded, and prisoners. Milroy himself, with a few followers, was hotly pursued, and barely made good his escape. This decisive and valuable achievement was due to the energy and valor of General Johnson and his command; yet in General Lee's outline report of the campaign, these events are not clearly represented, and General Johnson is made to appear as capturing stragglers after a victory won by General Early. While under my command, General Johnson was uniformly distinguished for hard and successful fighting. At Minie Run last fall, with his single division he defeated with great slaughter an entire corps of the enemy. So signal was this success, that the commander of the corps, General French, was relieved from the command, and since then, it is believed, has never been assigned to duty. In the battle of the Wilderness, of the present campaign, no general officer could have been more conspicuous for brave and meritorious conduct. These facts are submitted for the consideration of the Department at my own instance, without the knowledge of General Johnson, and to the sole end that his valuable services may be properly understood.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,



AUGUST 14, 1864.

Received with satisfaction, as the generous and voluntary tribute of one gallant soldier to another, his brother-in-arms on many a hardbought field. It was not necessary, however, to [impress] on the Department a high appreciation of the courage and skill of General