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Johnson Family Civil War Papers
Porter Johnson, New Market Cadet
VMI Archives Manuscript #341

Civil War Letters & Diaries top level

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About the Papers
The papers consist of 26 letters, bulk 1862-1865, from Mortimer Johnson and his son Porter to members of their immediate family. The Johnson family, originally from West Virginia, moved to Brownsburg in Rockbridge County, Virginia, although they maintained close ties to their former home. Topics in Mortimer's letters include civilian life during the war; the animosity between Union and Confederate sympathizers in West Virginia (the letter of April 28, 1863 discusses the Union loyalty of Stonewall Jackson's sister, Laura Jackson Arnold); the Battle of Fredericksburg and its aftermath (Dec 1862); the Jones-Imboden Raid (West Virginia, April 1863). Porter's letters include discussion of cadet life at the Alms House in Richmond, Virginia, where the Corps was headquartered during the last months of the war.

Biographical note
Mortimer Howell Johnson, lawyer; b. Bridgeport, Harrison Co. West Virginia, 1815; married Eliza Dulaney Kemble, b. Kingwood, Preston Co., West Virginia. Resided in Brownsburg, Rockbridge County, Virginia at beginning of the Civil War; enlisted April 1864 (age 48), Rockbridge Senior Reserves; physical description: dark complexion, dark hair & eyes, 5' 6"; d. December 13, 1889, Charleston, West Virginia; buried High Bridge Presbyterian Church, Rockbridge Co., Virginia. Father of Porter Johnson, VMI Class of 1867.

Porter Johnson (VMI Class of 1867/New Market Cadet), born 1845, Taylor County, West Virginia; living in Brownsburg, Rockbridge Co., Virginia at beginning of war; matriculated at VMI on September 1, 1863 and was a cadet private at the Battle of New Market on May 15, 1864; resigned from Corps of Cadets on March 6, 1865 and joined the 8th Confederate Battalion commanded by Col. Garnett Andrews; captured at Salisbury, NC on April 12, 1865 and imprisoned; paroled June 13, 1865 and returned to Rockbridge County, Virginia where he was a farmer; died June 9, 1917. Porter's account of the Battle of New Market, written in 1909, is part of our New Market Collection.