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George Doherty Johnston Papers

Identifier: MSS-4018

Scope and Contents

The collection contains the personal letters and war-related correspondence of Brigadier General George Doherty Johnston of the Twenty-fifth Alabama Infantry, C.S.A. The majority of the letters are from his first wife, Euphradia Poellnitz, and his mother, Eliza Mary Weissinger. There are also letters from his son, George Burke, his aunt, Mary Williams Burke, and his mother-in-law, Mary L. Poellnitz, as well as two letters from his pastor, H. R. Raymond, on the deaths (six months apart) of Johnston's wife and nine-year old daughter, Ida.

There are also several hand-drawn maps although there is no information as to when they were made or by whom. Johnston's commissions and his Union parole documents are also in the collection, along with a copy of The History of the 25th Alabama Infantry by Captain Wilson P. Howell.


  • 1845-1885


Biographical / Historical

George Doherty Johnston was born on May 30, 1832, in Hillsborough, North Carolina, to George Mulholland (1800-1834) and Eliza Mary Bond Johnston (1805-1875). When George was two, his father moved the family to Greensboro, Alabama. When his father died less than a year later, his mother moved the family to Marion, Alabama, and later married Leonard Weissinger.

Johnston studied law at Cumberland School of Law at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee. When he graduated he returned home and began his practice. In 1856, Johnston was elected mayor of Marion, and then to the state legislature in 1857.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Johnston joined the Confederate Army as a second lieutenant of Company G of the 4th Alabama Infantry. He fought with this unit at the first Battle of Bull Run. He was commissioned major of the 25th Alabama Infantry in early 1862. Nineteen months later, in September 1863, he was promoted to colonel in the same regiment. He was wounded in the leg in July 1864, two days after being promoted to brigadier general. He took command of Brigadier General William Andrew Quarles' Brigade after the Battle of Franklin (Franklin-Nashville campaign) and took part in every battle of the Army of Tennessee, from Shiloh to Bentonville.

After the war, Johnston served as the commandant of cadets at the University of Alabama. He moved to South Carolina to serve as superintendent of the South Carolina Military Academy, and later was appointed by President Grover Cleveland to be the United States Civil Service Commissioner. He returned to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he was elected a state senator.

Johnston died on December 8, 1910, in Tuscaloosa.


0.4 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Letters to and from this Confederate brigadier general.


gift of Netta T. Holley, 2014


To provide faster access to our materials, this finding aid was published without formal and final review. Email us at if you find mistakes or have suggestions to make this finding aid more useful for your research.

Processed by

Martha Bace, 2014



Guide to the George Doherty Johnston Papers
August 2014
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Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266