Born in 1817 in Ohio, Bushrod Johnson graduated from West Point in 1840. He fought in the Mexican War and the Seminole War and resigned in 1847 to teach. Johnson joined the Confederate service and as a brigadier general fought at Ft. Donelson, Shiloh, Perryville, Stones River, Chickamauga, and Knoxville.
Promoted to Major General in 1864, he commanded the section of trenches where the South Carolinian troops were at the Crater. They captured three stands of colors and 130 prisoners that day. His men spent the remainder of the siege in the lines, ending up at White Oak Road and Five Forks. His division was shattered at Sailor's Creek on April 6, 1865 and he was paroled at Appomattox without a command.
He returned to teaching to become chancellor of the University of Nashville. He then retired to a farm in Illinois where he died in 1880.
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