Saturday, October 30, 2010

Fighting With General Joseph E. Johnston To The Bitter End

From Confederate Digest:

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Fighting with General Joseph E. Johnston to the Bitter End

This imposing monument to Confederate General Joseph E. Johnson Stands on one of the most prominent intersections in downtown Dalton, Georgia. The inscription reads:


1807 - 1891

Brigadier General U.S.A.

General C.S.A.

Given command of the Confederate

Forces in Dalton in

1863. He directed the 79 days

Campaign to Atlanta, one of the

Most memorable in the annals of war.

Erected by Bryan M. Thomas

Chapter United Daughters of

Confederacy, Dalton, Georgia, 1912


I am very proud to say that one of my great uncles, John Thomas Conn, fought with General Johnston during that Atlanta Campaign. My great uncle was a native of Big Shanty, Georgia, later named Kennesaw. He was literally fighting to defended his family and home against invading Yankee aggressors. John Thomas, along with three of his brothers, volunteered for service in the Confederate army shortly after the outbreak of the War Between the States.

By the time John Thomas came under the command of General Johnston, all three of his brothers, including my Great, Great Grandfather, William Elisha Conn, had been killed. John Thomas himself had been captured at Perryville, Kentucky and spent time in two northern POW Camps, one in Indianapolis, Indiana and the other on Pea Patch Island in Delaware. After being exchanged and released from prison, he immediately rejoined the War in the just and noble quest for Southern Independence.

John Thomas was faithful to the Confederate cause to the bitter end. On April 26, 1865, he was still under General Johnston's command when, near Greensboro, North Carolina, Johnston was finally forced to surrender the Army of Tennessee and all remaining Confederate forces still active in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. It was the largest surrender of the War, totaling 89,270 soldiers. This was two and a half weeks after General Robert E. Lee had surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox on April 9, 1865.

John Thomas, like the majority of Confederate soldiers, was not a man of wealth or position. He was a poor dirt farmer and laborer on the railroad who fought for one reason - his home, his family, and his very life was illegally and brutally attacked by an invading foreign army. Following the War, John Thomas finally limped home, weary and worn in body and mind but still strong in faith. He found many of his family members dead and the survivors destitute. His home town of Big Shanty, at the foot of Kennesaw Mountain, had been wantonly burned to the ground by Union General William T. Sherman. Crops and food stores had been destroyed. Personal property of any value had been stolen. Both his local community and the once sovereign state of Georgia were occupied by northern invaders who, for many ears to come, enforced the bitter and punitive policies which they called "Reconstruction."

Posted by J. Stephen Conn at 11:44 PM

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