George H. Johnston Papers

1861-1871, 1927, undated
Microfilm Collection #MF0038
Johnston, George Henry, 1834-1889
Physical description
0.04 Cubic Feet, 1 item, 1 reel of microfilm; consisting of correspondence, orders, action reports, a letter book, a disposition book, and newspaper clippings.
Preferred Citation
George H. Johnston Papers (#MF0038), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Scope and arrangement

See scope and content note and inventory prepared by Birmingham Public Library, below.

The papers of Captain George H. Johnston cover a unique period of Civil War history dealing with the occupation of various coastal areas of both North and South Carolina. Included in the correspondence are several items which describe First Bull Run and the final phases of General George B. McClellan's Peninsular Campaign. The majority of the material, however, can be dated for the period January to July of 1863, and deals with the occupation forces centered at New Bern, North Carolina and St. Helena Island, South Carolina. Two major combat expeditions are also among the items planned and discussed within the papers: the relief expedition by Union forces to Little Washington, North Carolina during April, 1863; and, the planned, but aborted, expedition against Charleston, South Carolina during Spring, 1863.

Although these papers do not provide a full chronological description of the expeditions, when used in conjunction with other sources, they should provide a detailed interpretation of Union attitudes and strategy. As an example, the command problems of Brigadier General Henry M. Naglee with his two superiors, Major General J. G. Foster and Major General Hunter, are mentioned but not documented in great detail.

These papers have been divided into five major groupings as follows:

1. Correspondence: Personal. All of this correspondence is between George H. Johnston and his wife, Amanda. It covers the period February 6, 1862 (speculation that this letter is mis-dated and should read 1863) to May 22, 1863. Of particular interest within this body of correspondence are Johnston's remarks about Black soldiers and the command attitude toward their use.

2. Correspondence: Official. These are letters directed from and to Brigadier General Henry M. Naglee. They cover the period February 14, 1863 to June 19, 1863. Initial orders outlining the expedition to Charleston, South Carolina can be found within this group.

3. Correspondence: Miscellaneous. A variety of items for the period January 21, 1862 to April, 1863. Of particular interest is the official printed report of Little Washington, North Carolina.

4. Bound Volumes. Consists of General Orders, Special Orders and correspondence initiated by Brigadier General Henry M. Naglee for the period January, 1863 to July 1863. Possibly the most important documentation is the Letter Book referred to as item This bound volume documents Naglee's position during the command dispute with Generals Foster and Hunter.

5. Newspaper Articles. These consist of undated clippings taken from a variety of Boston area newspapers. For the most part, they deal with the career of George H. Johnston from late 1861 to 1871. Of special interest is the heavy concentration of articles on the Peninsular Campaign and Brigadier General Henry M. Naglee's removal from command at Port Royal, South Carolina.

Administrative information
Custodial History

August 24, 1981, 1 reel microfilm; Papers (1861-1871) of U.S. Army officer, including correspondence, orders, and clippings pertaining to Civil War activities in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. Copy of original in possession of Department of Archives & Manuscripts, Birmingham Public Library, Birmingham, Alabama.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Department of Archives & Manuscripts, Birmingham Public Library

Processing information

Processed by M. York, October 30, 1981

Encoded by Apex Data Services

Copyright notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Key terms
Personal Names
Johnston, Amanda
Johnston, George Henry, 1834-1889
Naglee, Henry M. (Henry Morris), 1815-1886
Corporate Names
United States. Army--Military life
United States. Army--Officers--Correspondence
New Bern (N.C.)--History
North Carolina--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Campaigns
Saint Helena Island (S.C.)--History
South Carolina--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Campaigns
Washington (N.C.)--History