The Civil Wars of Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston: Volume 1: Virginia to Mississippi, 1861-1863

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Richard M. McMurry
Pub Date:
October 2022
Hardcover, 6 x 9
6 maps, 10 images, 384 pp.
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About the Book

Joseph Eggleston Johnston was one of the original five full generals of the Confederacy. He graduated West Point in the same 1829 class as Robert E. Lee and served in the War with Mexico, the Seminole Wars in Florida, and in Texas and Kansas. By 1860 he was widely looked upon as one of America’s finest military officers. Yet, Johnston remains an enigma.

Richard McMurry’s masterful The Civil Wars of Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston: Volume 1: Virginia to Mississippi, 1861-1863 unlocks Johnston the general and represents a lifetime of study and thinking about the officer, his military career, and his simultaneous battles with the government in Richmond in general, and with President Jefferson Davis in particular. This first installment opens with secession and the beginning of the war and continues through his appointment as full general, his role at Manassas, his literary duel with Davis, and stewardship at the helm of the Confederacy’s primary army in Virginia. After Johnston is forced back to the gates of Richmond and wounded at Fair Oaks/Seven Pines, McMurry carries his subject through recovery and into the Western Theater, where Johnston tries and fails to rescue the trapped Confederate garrison at Vicksburg, Mississippi. This installment ends on the eve of Johnston’s command with the Army of Tennessee in North Georgia.

Dr. McMurry weaves hundreds of primary sources, many previously unused, into an elegant prose that captures Johnston in a way that has never been accomplished. In elegant fashion, McMurry also sheds fresh light on old controversies and examines Johnston’s relationships and their impact on the course of the war. Here, finally, is the definitive biography of Joe Johnston.





Richard M. McMurry earned his Ph.D. at Emory University in Atlanta studying under Bell Wiley and was a professor of history at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. He is the author of numerous articles and books, including the award-winning John Bell Hood and the War for Southern Independence (1982), Two Great Rebel Armies: An Essay in Confederate Military History (1989), and Atlanta 1864: Last Chance for the Confederacy (2000). He makes his home in Georgia outside Atlanta.