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Johnson Family papers

Identifier: MS-0341
The papers consist of 26 letters, bulk 1862-1865, from Mortimer Howell 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 (December 1862), the Jones-Imboden Raid (West Virginia, April 1863).

Porter's letters include a discussion of VMI cadet life at the Alms House in Richmond, Virginia where the Corps was headquartered during the last months of the Civil War.


  • 1858-1865


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Manuscript collections in the VMI Archives are made available for educational and research use. The VMI Archives should be cited as the source. The user assumes all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any copyright holders. Materials from our collections may not be redistributed, published or reproduced without permission from the VMI Archives. Contact the VMI Archives for additional information.


26 items

Biographical / Historical

Mortimer Howell Johnson, a lawyer was born at Bridgeport, Harrison County, West Virginia in 1815. He married Eliza Dulaney Kemble, born in Kingwood, Preston County, West Virginia. The Johnson Family resided in Brownsburg, Rockbridge County, Virginia at beginning of the Civil War, and Mortimer enlisted in April 1864 (at age 48) in the Rockbridge Senior Reserves. He was described as having a dark complexion, dark hair and eyes, and 5 foot 6 inches tall. He died on December 13, 1889 in Charleston, West Virginia and is buried at the High Bridge Presbyterian Church cemetery, Rockbridge County, Virginia. He was the father of Porter Johnson, VMI Class of 1867. Porter Johnson was born in 1845 in Taylor County, West Virginia. He matriculated at VMI on September 1, 1863 and was a cadet private at the Battle of New Market on May 15, 1864. Porter resigned from Corps of Cadets on March 6, 1865 and joined the 8th Confederate Battalion commanded by Colonel Garnett Andrews. He was captured at Salisbury, North Carolina on April 12, 1865 and imprisoned, and was paroled June 13, 1865. He returned to Rockbridge County where he was a farmer. He died on June 9, 1917.

Physical Location

Manuscripts Stacks

Related Materials

A Guide to the Johnson Family Papers, 1858-1865
Diane B. Jacob
© 2002 Virginia Military Institute Archives
Language of description
Description is in English

Repository Details

Part of the Virginia Military Institute Archives Repository

VMI Archives
Preston Library
Lexington VA 24450