William Sampson Johnson

William Sampson Johnson, born 20 February 1842 (probably in Thomas County, Georgia), was a half brother of Richard White's great grandmother Mary Ann Haven.  
Their mother was Martha Ann Welch.  William Sampson Johnson's father was William Johnson, Martha Ann Welch's first husband.

William Sampson Johnson was enrolled as a private in Company A of the 59th Georgia Infantry Regiment on 3 May 1862.  He was wounded in the left ankle at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on 2  July 1863.  A casualty list for the Battle of Gettysburg which was published in the Macon Telegraph on 22 July 1863 under the heading "Casualties in the 59th Regiment at Gettysburg, Pa." included the following information: "W. S. Johnson in foot slightly".  The 59th Georgia, as part of General George Thomas Anderson's Georgia Brigade, had heavy losses when it attacked across the Wheatfield to the foot of Little Round Top that day.  He was captured at Gettysburg on 5 July 1863.  He was paroled at DeCamp General Hospital, David's Island, N. Y. Harbor, in 1863 and was exchanged at City Point, Virginia, on 16 September 1863.  The roll for A Company, 59th Georgia Infantry Regiment for February 1865, the last on file, shows him absent, detailed to the Provost Guard at Richmond, Virginia.  William S. Johnson's name (spelled both Johnson and Johnston) also appears on the roll of the President's Guard, C.S.A.

Correspondence in William Sampson Johnson's Florida Confederate pension file written by his half brother, Green Berry Haven, indicates that he was no longer fit for service with his unit after being wounded and imprisoned, so he served as a guard for Confederate President Jefferson Davis.  The President's Guard, C.S.A., was comprised entirely of such invalid soldiers.  In a letter supporting the application, Green Berry Haven, indicated that Johnson accompanied Davis to Charlotte, North Carolina, and that Davis's guard was disbanded there.  However, in his application Johnson stated that he was discharged at Chesterville, South Carolina.  In any case, both agreed that he returned home to Thomasville without being captured.  He surrendered and was paroled there on 15 May 1865.

William Sampson Johnson married Susan S. Donaldson (born 10 August 1845) on 9 August 1866, in Thomasville, Georgia.  They later lived at Lee in Madison County, and at Altha in Calhoun County, Florida.  He applied for a Florida Confederate veteran's pension in 1897 and it was approved in 1900.    The records of the medical examination necessary to obtain that pension show that the wound to his ankle was still plainly evident over 40 years later.  He also had other, very painful conditions, that he attributed to effects of service.  He was relieved of those afflictions by death at Altha on 7 June 1922.  He is buried as Eld. (Elder) W. S. Johnson in the Chipola Cemetery, Altha, Calhoun County, Florida.  Susan S. Johnson died on 23 November 1944 and is buried beside him there. 

Note:  From a cursory review of information about Jefferson Davis's flight and capture, I have gleaned the following:  Chesterville, South Carolina is now known as Chester.  From Richmond, Virginia, to Charlotte, North Carolina, is 293 miles by today's highways.  From Charlotte, North Carolina, to Chester, South Carolina, is about 49 miles by today's highways.  From Chester, South Carolina, to Irwinville, Georgia, where Davis was captured, is about 251 miles by today's highways.  The entire route from Richmond to Irwinville is about 593 miles.  General accounts say that Davis's "guard" of two brigades of cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia was "changed" and escort duties were picked up by cavalry of the Army of Tennessee, at Charlotte, North Carolina.  Most of the cavalry escort was reported to have been sent west as a diversion, however, and the escort dwindled appreciably from Abbeville, South Carolina, on south.  Abbeville is about 86 miles southwest of Chester.  Somewhere along the way the presence or absence of one soldier detached from the 59th Georgia Infantry... who suffered still from the effects of a wounded ankle... probably became irrelevant.

I am very indebted to information about casualties in the 59th Georgia Infantry Regiment that was received by e-mail on 17 January 2003 from John R. Adams, editor of the Taylor County Tracer, the newsletter of the Taylor County, Georgia Historical-Genealogical Society Newsletter.

I'm also indebted to my Haire cousin Lori Kerr, who discovered the photo of William Sampson Johnson on page 509 of Volume 9 of Judge Folks Huxford's Pioneers of the Wiregrass.

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This page was created by Richard White on 27 August 2002.
Changes to this page were last made by Richard White on  20 March 2010.